Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Air New Zealand rebrands safety

Air New Zealand is one of those special companies. I know I have a biased view, as I would definitely classify myself as a loyal customer. But the fact of the matter is that their new safety videos are creating quite a stir; a good stir.


What began as a way to separate themselves from the competition (and gain the short attention span of  their customers) has now become a tactic that has generated incredible word of mouth, enthusiasm and personality for the airline brand. And Air New Zealand’s safety videos are getting more and more imaginative.

From Bear Grylls to a plane load of hobbits, Air New Zealand has not only defined and set apart the persona of its brand, it has capitalised on the spirit of New Zealand. Studies show successful companies leverage their strengths. Given that Air New Zealand  belongs to a young, green and “anything-goes kind of country,” one of the major strengths the airline has capitalised on is the spirit of the New Zealand people. On top of that, they are creating interesting and engaging content, as well as playing into modern habits of tuning out and turning to screens and visual communication.

Their latest safety video starring Sport Illustrated models Chrissy Teigen, Ariel Meredith, Hannah Davis and Jessica Gomes has received praise and critique over the sexualisation of women. However, when something is set in the beautiful Cook Islands – how else could this subject matter be approached? As a self-proclaimed feminist, I thought long and hard about how I felt about this video. Could such a successful piece of content marketing violate my ethical standing? At the end of the day, when compared to some other examples of the sexualisation of women in advertising, I feel this Air New Zealand video is well natured and liberating more than anything.

So, as the weather remains rainy and grey in Sydney over the next few days, no doubt more people will be viewing the already popular safety message, drenched in smiles and sunshine. Kia Orana, everyone!

Hongi Luo
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at The University of Sydney Business School

Monday, 17 February 2014

Tips for International Students

I clearly remember my first day of the Master of Marketing program at The University of Sydney Business School last year. I could not sleep during the nights leading up to it. I was nervous, but also very enthusiastic. I had so many questions. Besides general study concerns, there was one question that worried me the most – as an international student, what skills would I have to gain and improve alongside my Masters to be recognised by industry employers?

I was happy to find support from my local classmates and University staff in this regard. So here are some useful tips I received from the Education, Careers and Employability Office at The University of Sydney Business School to help our new international students dive confidently into their first semester.

Elena Sveshnikova
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at The University of Sydney Business School

Tips for International Students, provided by the Careers and Employability Office

International students face more challenges in gaining work than their local colleagues due to two main factors – (1) Lack of English speaking skills and (2) lack of experience in the Australian workplace. These facts were gleaned from research recently conducted by a Monash University academic who was commissioned by the CPA to find out what International students are facing when marketing themselves to the Australian workforce.

Based on these findings, it would be recommended that International students who struggle with their written and verbal communication skills improve them where ever possible. This can take the form of joining conversational English groups, and attending student society groups for an opportunity to use English language skills more often. Many international students have an understandable tendency to gather in their own language groups and fall into a regular habit of speaking in their own tongue. It would be recommended that you join or create a group within your community to improve English speaking skills, where you speak it as often as possible and get honest feedback to make any improvements.

The other way to improve your communication skills is to get any sort of work experience, be it paid casual or part-time work, an internship or voluntary work. This is a great way to get you speaking with different members of society.

A common misconception amongst International students is that the more you study and the better your grades, the more employable you will be. This can be true in part, however without the basic communications essentials, a Masters and several degrees under your belt will not be sufficient. As with any workplace in the world, communication skills, be it written or spoken are always going to be at the top of the list. To assist you with this process, identify your strengths, both skills and personality, and articulate these by using demonstrated examples for use in your interviews, cover letters and resumes. It really comes down to (a) transferrable skills (not just your technical ones), and (b) your experience.

Another tip is don’t de-value the non-discipline related work experience or opportunities that come your way – all of this can enhance your employability and are often the skills sought by employees. For example, you may be studying Engineering, and work in sales at a whitegoods retail outlet. Your customer service skills, your technical knowledge and knowledge of how a business runs will score you points when applying for other work.

Most importantly, practice your English speaking skills as much as possible and don’t be afraid to make mistakes! People will respect and admire that you are making an effort to communicate your thoughts and feelings and will often assist you to make your point clear.

Susan Smith, Careers Services Manager – Education, Careers and Employability Office, The University of Sydney Business School

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Going to places where brands have never been, with GoPro

There are a lot of murmurs about Gopro on the Internet at the moment, with many news websites speculating about their plans to take the IPO plunge. However, Gopro seems to regularly generate a lot of attention, as new videos are constantly circulating which showcase not only beautiful scenery and extreme sports, but also the capabilities of the tough little camera.

The word Gopro brings to mind awe-inspiring, fun videos and a daredevil-kind of coolness. Perhaps it wasn’t what the brand was going for from the beginning, but it’s certainly working for them now. The company started in 2002, and has grown its brand organically to a place where it is now considering following in the steps of Redbull and becoming a media company. Whether it comes to fruition or not, the potential is definitely there.

What I like about the company is its ability to embrace the way its customers have used the product. Gopro not only produces is own content - such as the remarkable video below with Kevin Richardson, who calls himself the Lion Whisperer - it also has a team constantly on the look out for new and exciting user-made videos to be featured on the company's website and social media channels: the perfect example of audience engagement and co-creation.

Where ever Gopro may be going, you can be sure that we’ll all be watching, through shares, likes or even as we make our own videos.

Enjoy some favourite Gopro moments below:

Hongi Luo
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Are you supporting AT&T or Coca-Cola this Sochi Olympics?

The Sochi 2014 Olympics have begun. And despite all the political controversy, I believe that the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi Olympics was simply stunning. I'm not only talking about the lush fireworks, but also the hundreds of creative people who put their hearts and souls into the design, production and performance.

However, the controversy surrounding the human rights issues in Russia shouldn’t be ignored, and the Olympics seems to be one of those special occasions when it’s perhaps necessary and right to make a public statement about protecting the equality of all people.
While companies like Google, AT&T and American Apparel have taken a strong position against Russian anti-gay legislation, global players like Coca-Cola and McDonalds are being heavily criticised by some for not speaking out against the law.
But, as Katie Bayne, President for North America brands at the Coca-Cola North America unit of the Coca-Cola Company said in an article published in the New York Times, what about the fact that multi-national brands, such as Coca-Cola, have always been about “inclusion and diversity”?
All mentioned companies to some extent have ties with the Olympics, but while AT&T and American Apparel appear to operate mainly in the US market, most of Coca-Cola’s and McDonald’s revenue comes from international markets. Perhaps, taking or not taking a strong stand by these brands might also impact the view of customers who are very sensitive to the presence of companies heavily sided in a conversation which is against their own views.

I am not going to arbitrate any company’s position regarding the Olympics and call it right or wrong. While I am not in agreement with the politics of the Russian Government, I do not want to criticize those advertisers who are proving support for the Sochi athletes. If I start to judge the Olympic sponsors for their involvement, then should I as viewer even watch the Olympics because I don't agree with in the current political landscape in Russia?
The Sochi Olympics has certainly proven to be a difficult arena for brands to find the right balance between retaining their value, maintaining a positive image in the eye of the public and advocating support for the athletes. This is probably why there are just as many supporters and critics for Google and AT&T as there are for Coca-Cola and McDonalds. As a marketer, I find it most interesting that Coca-Cola and McDonalds were not fully prepared for the social media backlash their positions have created. It looks like they simply underestimated all warning signals from the very beginning.
However, it’s too early to speculate over what particular brand will be on the ‘winning side’ in the end. But what is already clear is that for marketing practitioners, this Olympics case adds another layer to the role of marketers; greater than ever before, today’s marketer is dealing with not just with unhappy customers, but also with serious social issues.
Elena Sveshnikova
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Tugging at Your Heartstrings and Changing the Way We Advertise

We’ve probably all watched the 3 minute 22 second video of Chipotle’s Scarecrow. It doesn’t seem like a long time – but for an advertisement on the internet, it’s held the attention of viewers far longer than most.

It’s an inevitable process. With the growth of online campaigns, viral videos, YouTube, Facebook, the cloud and platforms like Hulu and Netflix, the lines between marketing, advertising, entertainment and information are quickly blurring. Chipotle’s Scarecrow ad is a great example – without some entertainment value, how else is an advertisement supposed to capture the attention of time-poor people around the world? Now, Chipotle is capitalising further on this ad-entertainment notion by announcing a show that will sit alongside regular programming on

A recent Fast Co-exist article expounds on the campaign. On “February 17, 2014, the latest and greatest milestone in the fusion of television, advertising, and advocacy – the premiere of a Chipotle's mini-series Farmed and Dangerous,” says staff writer, Stan Alcorn. Featuring Ray Wise, from Twin Peaks, the trailer is somewhat confusing, as it’s not immediately clear whether the video is a parody or a real response…or  if it’s actually a trailer for a real TV series.

Either way, this campaign will be the first of its kind. While I can’t speculate on its effect on the future of entertainment and advertisement, I have a feeling that product sponsorship in movies and television will be taken to a whole new level. Keep your eyes open for it!

Hongi  Luo
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Newcastle Brown Ale's Almost Super Bowl Ad is Super Great

Newcastle Brown Ale didn't buy any airtime during the Super Bowl. You’d think that would be the end of their Super Bowl 2014 advertising story, but it’s not. Instead, they have made quite a splash through a hilarious campaign about how they almost did – including an endorsement by Anna Kendrick.

I’m not a beer enthusiast (or even a drinker for that matter), but the recent Newcastle Brown Ale ad has at least secured the position in my mind that if you want a beer that’s no fuss, get-straight-to-the-point kind of practical – you want a Newcastle Brown Ale. “Don’t feel like being the showy person at the bar with your imported, blue ribbon brew? How about a Newcastle Brown Ale? Can you laugh at yourself and roll with the punches? Have a Newcastle Brown ale!” For a non-beer drinker, I think their recent advertisement has totally hit the mark.


Not only does this campaign create strong positioning for the beer brand, it plays off the existing positioning of its competitors in order to reinforce reasons why you should pick Newcastle Brown Ale. From the tone to the execution, the creative, loyalty – inspiring message for the ‘everyman’ is clear.

As stated at the opening of the advertisement video on “At Newcastle, we don't believe in making multi-million dollar Mega Football Game Ads. We do believe in creating multi-hundred dollar storyboards about them.”

Check out all the videos and more on the campaign by visiting their website

Hongi  Luo
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School