Thursday, 30 April 2015

The “Special” Anzac Centenary Issue – Will this be the end for Zoo Weekly?

Blonde cover model, Erin Pash is featured on the cover of ZOO Weekly’s most recent issue marking the centenary of Gallipoli. Bauer Media publication released the issue on the Monday ahead of the Anzac Day weekend, which included a 10-page feature, an interview with Ms. Pash and a list of “100 things every Aussie should know about Gallipoli”.

In the interview, Ms. Pash was asked if she likes a man in uniform. “Yes, I do like guys in uniform. They’re bad arses, they have guns and they’re really fit and well built”, the model said. The cover, along with its inside features, have been met with criticism from both Facebook and Twitter users describing the magazines marketing as “disgusting”. It was further labeled by Mumbrella as the most unlikely tribute to the Anzac Legend in the media this week.

The Department of Veteran Affairs said ZOO weekly did not seek consent to use the word “Anzac”, which is protected by regulations that date back as far as 1921, for a “commemorative issue” of their magazine. Misuse of the term can incur penalties including imprisonment and fines of up to $51,000. According to Crikey, the department had called and emailed the men’s magazine to request that the advertising be removed.

ZOO’s controversial cover comes after Woolworths was forced to pull its online “Fresh in our Memories Anzac Day Campaign”. Target was also forced to pull three Anzac-branded products after the Department of Veteran Affairs deemed them “inappropriate”. 

Lauren Musat
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Monday, 27 April 2015

Pret A Manger CEO reveals truth behind free coffee

Something interesting is happening in the stores of the coffee retailer Pret A Manger. Customers are being given drinks for free. Yes, you heard correctly, FREE coffee for customers!

Shoppers have been left puzzled by the apparent generosity of the fastest growing coffee chain in the UK. After placing an order, some customers have been able to walk away without payment for no apparent reason. On the face of it this sounds like all business sense has gone out the window. But in the ultra competitive world of retail coffee, Pret’s CEO Clive Schlee believes this is a great way to gain customer loyalty.

Image Source:

"We looked at loyalty cards, but we didn’t want to spend all that money building up some complicated Clubcard-style analysis," said Schlee. Instead, Schlee has given permission to staff in all 288 outlets to give away free food and drinks to the customers they like the most. The curious freebies have been puzzling Pret A Manger customers for some time. It turns out that 28% of people who have purchased a coffee in their outlets have been given a free item.

This random act of kindness has caused quite a buzz on social media with much speculation as to what criteria you need to get a free drink. Schlee clarified that Pret staff can decide, "I like the person on the bicycle" or "I like the guy in that tie" or "I fancy that girl or that boy". So far the publicity has mostly been positive, but you can’t help but wonder how a paying customer might now feel after seeing another customer get their coffee for free because "they look hot".

By not adopting a traditional loyalty system, Pret A Manger would certainly be less able to collect valuable data about their customers and their spending habits. Analysis of this data can help to devise new strategies for increased profitability for the company. Breaking from the traditional mould has helped Pret to be seen as special and unique. However, they run the risk of not necessarily rewarding all of their customers equally for their loyalty.

While this certainly isn’t a traditional approach to gaining customer loyalty, it will be interesting to see if it is successful and if other companies follow this rather bold approach.

Robert Brunning
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School 

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Marketing the biggest fight of the century

When Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao face off on the 2nd of May, it will go down as the biggest fight of the century. Not since the legendary “Rumble in the Jungle” where Mohammad Ali beat George Forman has a fight been more anticipated.

The on-off saga between the two fighters has lasted over five years, but finally we are about to see a boxing spectacle between two of the undisputed all time greats. This fight will likely go down as the highest grossing boxing event in history.

What makes this super fight so special is that it almost never happened. Major issues have arisen in the negotiations between the two camps for drug testing, the venue for the bout and the fighter’s split of purse. But one of the biggest stumbling blocks has been the marketing of this blockbuster event.

Source: HBOboxing Twitter

While Mayweather was signed to an exclusive multi million dollar PPV deal with TV broadcaster Showtime, his opponent Pacquiao held an exclusive deal with cable rivals HBO. After lengthy negotiations, the two parties were able to reach an agreement to finally make the fight happen. With two networks promoting the fight, it will be interesting to see how the marketing differs for the two boxers who are backed by the different parent companies, CBS and Time Warner. 

Not only is the self-professed promoter Floyd Mayweather the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world, but he is also a marketing genius. His flamboyant spending and egotistical personality have helped to define his brand, “The Money Team”. Through his outlandish behaviour, he has become one of the best self-marketers not just in boxing, but also in all of sport. No wonder last year he was named the highest paid athlete in the world.

In contrast, Manny Pacquiao couldn’t be more different to his ultra-cocky opponent. From his humble upbringing in the Philippines, he has developed a reputation as being a generous philanthropist and ambassador for his home country. In 2010, Pacquiao was even elected to a congress position in the Philippine House of Representatives. No slouch, himself the PacMan comes in at number 11 on the Forbes list of highest paid athletes.

In the world of boxing branding is big business. This goes beyond simply name recognition of a fighter, but what they stand for in the eyes of their fans and critics. I think both men promise an all-action big time event that will be unlike anything we have ever seen before.

I, for one, can’t wait for this fight. But what I am most looking forward to is seeing how the two fighters position themselves with the support of their cable network backers.

Robert Brunning
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Monday, 20 April 2015

McDonalds Australia transforms fast-food experience

Would you like a brioche bun, caramelized onion and fried in a wire basket with that?

The idea of inventing an inspiring a creative dish leads itself back to the food programs that have taken Australia by storm. With shows such as Masterchef and My Kitchen Rules, society is increasingly becoming more experimental with “gourmet” foods and starting to be more health conscious about what ingredients are going into the food they are eating.

Fast food giant McDonalds has recognised the changing needs amongst their consumers and have developed their own build-your-own gourmet burger service, delivered by “McWaiters” on wooden boards. Lovers of the infamous burger are now able to select their “ideal” meal from a large digital screen featuring more than 20 ingredients. With an introduction of gourmet buns, multiple cheeses and extra toppings, consumers have the opportunity to create flavor combinations that suit their palate.

At a starting price of $8.95, the burgers eat more of your budget than a basic Big Mac or Grand Angus. This innovative concept by McDonalds is the beginning of transforming the fast-food experience in Australia. On top of this, McDonalds is introducing table service, allowing customers to relax with a drink while they wait for their customised burger to be freshly cooked and brought to their table.

Will this idea prove to be successful? Who knows- we will just have to wait and find out!

(Image: Herldsun)

Lauren Musat
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Friday, 17 April 2015

Living in a world of Consumption

Today's contemporary society lives in a culture full of consumtion where one must consume in order to survive. However, if you love fashion and consuming carbohydrates, you will love this article!

New York designer Chloe Wise exhibits her artistic interests in her new collection “ Pissing, Shmoozing and Looking away”, of sculptures that look good enough to eat! Through the duality of the word consumption - defined as both an indulgence of food and a surplus of spending - Wise has created a number of sculptures based on the notions of luxury and consumptuon by recreating some of the fashion industry's most notorious merchadise with a diverse range of breads.

Wise states that she “wanted to show the parallels between the idolatry for luxury items in fashion with the equivalent importance of the commodity in the art world”.  Reimagined in pancake, toast, bagels and pastries, Wise recontextualises the pricey products as art objects intstead of purchasable goods, where food and fashion are rid of their value and become soely symbolic of the frivolity of excess.

(Source: Artnet)
Lauren Musat
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Mergers & Acquisitions – Brand Building 101

In the past month or so there’s been a lot of talk about different brands in the fashion industry being taken over, or merging with other companies. Although it’s not an unfamiliar occurrence in any industry, two big names have come up in the conversation so far; the first of which is Karmaloop (an online retailer specialising in street wear), and the second is Net-a-Porter (an online retailer stocking luxury womenswear).

Having recently filed for bankruptcy, many different investors have shown their interest in purchasing the cult street wear retailer Karmaloop, but it’s Kanye West’s name which has attracted the most press. Those of you who have been paying attention in the fashion-sphere will know that West has recently been collaborating with super-brand Adidas, as part of what seems to be an on-going clothing, footwear and accessories collection. The Adidas x Kanye West Season 1 show was the most viewed fashion collection of the Fall/Winter 2015 season (beating out Chanel for the first time), and was a line that was positioned at the lower end of the ready to wear market (with Yeezy Boosts only setting you back $350).

Kanye West x Adidas Collection (Source: HIphopdx)

Although the purchase of Karmaloop by Kanye West and business partner Damon Dash has yet to be confirmed, it seems like a match made in heaven as West has previously declared that he’s looking to make his brand of fashion available to the masses, and having his own shop seems like a step in the right direction.

Despite the fact that controversy follows West wherever he goes, he has an undeniable passion for fashion, and a respect for branding that may turn Karmaloop around in a short span of time. When it comes to re-branding, the options are varied, but most of the time it involves stripping all the old associations away from the brand, and building it anew. For West, this could involve bringing in his Adidas for Kanye West line as an exclusive, and then curating the stock-list to support up and coming designers, as well as a complementary list of well-known street-wear brands.

Natalie Massenet – Founder of Net-a-Porter (Source: The Australian)

Putting the sale of Karmaloop aside, Net-a-Porter has also confirmed that it’s merging with rival online retailer Yoox, which has a unisex product offering, but a slightly less ‘luxury’ positioning in the market. Given the combined sales of these two online retailers (US $1.4 billion), the merger makes great business sense, as it aims to bring about greater efficiency in the online luxury sector by grouping resources and leveraging each brand’s strengths and assets. Yoox has been known for its logistical prowess, whereas Net-a-Porter has strong industry ties, and an unmatched stock-list of the most luxury of luxury brands. As mentioned by Net-a-Porter founder, Natalie Massenet, the merger results in the formation of “the world's biggest luxury fashion store…a store that never closes, a store without geographical borders.”

It’s going to be an interesting few months ahead for the online retailing sector in the fashion industry, so for now we’ll have to issue a ‘watch this space.’

Salil Kumar
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Monday, 13 April 2015

Apple’s great leap in to wearable technology

The much-anticipated Apple watch has almost arrived with pre-orders being accepted online this week. Smart watches are no longer a new phenomenon, with rivals such as the Samsung Gear and the Pebble already hitting the shelves over a year ago.

However, this week marks a significant milestone for Apple in to the world of wearable technology. Following the success of both the iPhone and iPad is no small challenge for a company who has a history of innovating and changing the way customers interact with their products.

With more power on your wrist than the NASA computers that propelled man to the moon, wearable tech could be a game changer for marketers to promote their products and services. Some of these changes can already be seen in the tactics used by companies through relatively new platforms such as smartphones and tablets.


Wearing a device on your wrist is an even more intimate experience for the user, as it quite literally connects them physically to their technology. This brings a whole host of potential opportunities and possible pitfalls for companies looking to reach out to customers. The challenge for aspiring marketers is to take advantage of this new platform by creating new ways to connect using the small but ever present screen. The most effective communications will be short, concise and easy to consume while on the go. Marketing communications that fail to adhere to this criteria could be seen as intrusive and a disruption to the user.

The new Apple watch is able to collect a whole host of data on everything from the user's heart rate to even how many steps they have taken in a day. The wealth of data available to marketers offers a fantastic insight in to consumer habits.  This new platform could give rise to a whole new ecosystem of apps for monitoring health and fitness.

The limitations of such a small screen with no keyboard poses problems of how to best utilise smart watches for marketing purposes. Companies who simply try to port their existing apps to such a small device will likely be unsuccessful. It might be better to think of wearable tech as an extension or companion of existing smartphones and tablets rather than a stand-alone device.

While companies like Apple may find it more difficult to convince us we need a smart watch on our wrist than a computer in our pocket, I am in no doubt that wearable tech is here to stay. Apple has a fantastic track record of success and this launch could be the rocket fuel needed to launch wearable devices to the mainstream. The question is, are we ready for the vast amounts of data that users are willing to share with us?

Robert Brunning
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Monday, 6 April 2015


If only Australia knew what Publix was….the best and freshest supermarket ever! I will admit that Woolworths provides a close rivalry, both in design and services, but for some reason, Publix just makes me want to buy food, and here’s why:

Publix is host to fresh, New York style deli's, even though the chain is typically operational in the South and Midwest of the US. Additionally, these deli’s offer many services, from cold cuts to freshly made sandwiches. When living in the Orlando, Florida area, I began to time my shopping trips around meals, so that I could easily grab a fresh and customised lunch while I ran my errands: completely effortless. Less driving around, more efficiency. I’m sure some marketers spent a great deal of time studying shopping behaviour in that area to find how much people hated driving in the crowded city.

(Source: The305)

Seen above is the outcome of a typical deli order. You can create a meal including a sub, a drink and chips. Sounds familiar right? Well, rumour has it, Publix is about to create stand alone deli services to rival Subway. Talk about a disruption and expansion strategy! Lucky for Subway, previously there were minimal fast food chains pitching health food items, or at least, healthier options. Whereas McDonalds offers a crispy chicken wrap and calls it healthy, Subway always let people customise their wraps to their own taste and health level, such as Whole Grain bread options, or Spinach Wraps, etc.

But now, since us Floridians have been buying our lunch and dinner deli items at Publix anyway, we can plan food stops separately from our normal shopping and spend some more time enjoying it, since Publix Products are made in front of you, instead of coming out of the freezer or fridge, clearly visable.

Interestingly enough, Publix plans to do the majority of its testing with this chain in Florida. But Publix plans on implementing the concept on a more global basis, given that Subway has the most locations of any fast food store (in league with McDonald’s here), and it will be hard to compete on convenience. This is a beautifully tailored disruption strategy, offering a premium fast food option, and the exclusivity should even aid them even more in this instance. I just hope they can come to Australia and everyone here can start loving deli sandwiches - No more Pies!

This semester, our newest cohorts of Master of Marketing students are enrolled in a course known as Marketing in the Global Economy. There, they will learn how to break through such boarders/barriers with products of their own choosing. Strategising and implementing local information will be able to aid them in truly finding a need for their product in certain markets. In this instance, Australians may really not like deli sandwiches, or alternatively, there could be the capacity for the idea to take hold - just make sure you all do your homework before making the jump!

Christine Drpich
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Thursday, 2 April 2015


Apparently, everyone is up in arms about a new law in Australia being passed which will allow Telcom companies within Australia access to tracking-type information produced by mobile devices and internet usages for personal users.

MetaData is typically known to give up information, such a specific location, particular views, searches, phone calls, text messages and more. The reason why everyone is so up in arms about it is because people want to keep their private life, private. Australians wonder why their government needs to read their text messages in order to provide safety? Additionally, they wonder why they have to pay taxes to the government which will possibly fund the Telcom companies to produce and monitor this data.

The following video explains, in a very funny, yet serious, way, how this very small matter has been made very big, and exactly how it could impact you:

At first, I was listening along, and getting into it. I was feeling kind of angry. Why do they need to know who I call and potentially read my messages in order to keep me safe while temporarily residing in Australia? It was a valid question, until the news cast continued to explain the similar, if not more aggressive, pathways the USA has already implemented for a very long time to elicit the same data from people residing on its soil. Basically, we’re left between a rock and a hard place: Its understandable purely to help keep us safe and pin point people who are not using certain technological resources with ethical/moral intent. But on the other hand, if the Telcom companies are responsible for it, they could simply sell out our information to the highest bidder.

Enter marketing firms, advertising agencies and big businesses who want new moves. This is the exciting stuff. Personally, I even love data mining. It’s way better than reading a story. It’s like reading a story about a bunch of people who are completely real and who can lead you to an incredible amount of new ideas to help make you and your company a whole lot of money! As hypocritical as that all sounds, marketers aren’t the bad guys here. Marketers will simply just want to use the data, should it exist, but also have other means of capturing relevant information about their consumers for the time being.

So what do you think? Should metadata be for sale? Should it be collected in general? And, where do you draw the line between private information and relinquished rights under terms of usage? If you don’t do anything questionable, don’t trigger any red flags, then what do you have to hide anyways? Honestly, there are probably bigger things to worry about then some company checking your search history to identify child pornographers or terrorists who pose potential threat to the greater community.

Christine Drpich
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

#Foodporn re-defined

Ok, I admit it. I am a self-confessed foodie! If you have a passion, infatuation or yearning for all things food like I do, and have a secret obsession with Instagram, you would have definitely heard of the notorious hashtag #foodporn. For those that have not, Food Porn is an image or video of irresistible looking food that is created to make you desire what you’re seeing. San Francisco based Lingerie Company, “Naja”, has come up with a new juicy lingerie line that puts the “porn” in “Foodporn” – a cheeky, naughty collection of panties with prints of hamburgers, fries and milkshakes, as well as sushi and sake at the front. If you want the all in one package, your wish is their command. Naja has called their pantie package “the Happiest Meal” for $50! Pretty clever I say.

Source: Naja

What is even better is that a portion of each pair that is sold will go towards the Golondrinas foundation that aims to educate single mothers in Colombia. So not only will you be satisfying your cravings for those meals that are “so bad they’re good”, but you will also be helping a great cause! A win, win I say.

Lauren Musat
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School