On the base­line

New Zealand Marketing - - Front Page -

Hu­mans are pre­dis­posed to ‘shift­ing base­line syn­drome’, where new gen­er­a­tions ac­cept the cur­rent state of things as nor­mal. For those who have seen the changes in their life­times, is­sues like rain­for­est de­ple­tion, the de­struc­tion of his­toric build­ings, de­clin­ing fish stocks or the state of our rivers are mat­ters of great con­cern. But it’s less con­fronting for those who have no frame of ref­er­ence. This can some­times go the other way, too, like when en­vi­ron­men­tal ef­forts orig­i­nally deemed fool­hardy, such as try­ing to save threat­ened an­i­mals from ex­tinc­tion, be­come com­pletely ac­cept­able to a new gen­er­a­tion.

As WNYC’s Ra­di­o­lab ex­plained it: “’Nor­mal’ is con­stantly be­ing re­de­fined to mean ‘less.’ And peo­ple who don’t be­lieve that the past was so dif­fer­ent from the present might have what could be called ‘change blind­ness’. Be­cause th­ese changes hap­pen slowly, over a hu­man life­time, they never star­tle. They just tip­toe silently along, help­ing us all ad­just to a smaller, shrunken world.”

Some be­lieve the in­cur­sion of com­mer­cial in­ter­ests into ed­i­to­rial in the form of na­tive ad­ver­tis­ing is one of those slow, creep­ing—and of­ten creepy—changes. So is na­tive ad­ver­tis­ing—or what the Fed­eral Trade Com­mis­sion in the US have called “mas­quer-ads”—lead­ing to a slow ero­sion of ed­i­to­rial in­tegrity? Or is it an ac­cept­able el­e­ment of mod­ern mar­ket­ing that con­sumers un­der­stand and/or are un­con­cerned about?

To some print me­dia fetishists, the past seems to be viewed as a time of pu­rity; of strict sep­a­ra­tion be­tween church and state. That seems slightly nos­tal­gic, how­ever. As Guardian writer Simon Jenk­ins said about the re­cent con­tro­versy over The Tele­graph go­ing easy on HSBC: “News­pa­pers are in­sti­tu­tion­alised hypocrisy. They ex­co­ri­ate yet they cringe. They speak truth to power and then sup at its ta­ble. They stick their moral noses in the air while their bot­toms rest on fes­ter­ing heaps of deals, perks, bribes and ads, with­out which they would not ex­ist.”

This ten­sion be­tween ed­i­to­rial and ad­ver­tis­ing has ex­isted for cen­turies and brands have long tried to make use of com­mer­cial cam­ou­flage. Jour­nal­ists will pre­sum­ably al­ways seek to shine a light into dark cor­ners, but the closer those two di­vi­sions get—and the more des­per­ate pub­lish­ers be­come for rev­enue to fund that jour­nal­ism—the harder it be­comes for ed­i­to­rial to win the bat­tles. So yes, the base­lines are shift­ing, con­ces­sions have been made and it does seem as though print and dig­i­tal me­dia are more will­ing to in­vite brands into their ed­i­to­rial en­vi­ron­ments.

While most pub­lish­ers claim they are la­belling such con­tent clearly, a sur­vey by Con­tently last year showed that read­ers are con­fused about what “spon­sored” even means (other stud­ies have shown those ac­cus­tomed to get­ting free con­tent and deal­ing with ads don’t re­ally care where it comes from). Jour­nal­ists are al­ready close to the bot­tom of the least-trusted pro­fes­sions list, which is slightly ironic given so many me­dia out­lets play on the idea of trust­wor­thi­ness. But run­ning spon­sored con­tent ap­pears to be im­pact­ing fur­ther on that. The Con­tently sur­vey also found that “two-thirds of the re­spon­dents felt de­ceived when they re­alised an ar­ti­cle or video was spon­sored by a brand” and 59 per­cent be­lieved a news site that ran spon­sored con­tent lost cred­i­bil­ity. And in an­other in­ter­est­ing sur­vey by Edel­man, which en­com­passed 20 coun­tries, on­line search en­gines were rated as the pri­mary plat­forms of choice when seek­ing out news and in­for­ma­tion, tak­ing over from tra­di­tional me­dia for the first time. The gap be­tween the two was even larger for the young’uns.

As you may have no­ticed, there are some ex­am­ples of ‘spon­sored con­tent’ in this mag­a­zine—and it’s al­ways dif­fi­cult to bal­ance the needs of the reader, the brand and pub­lisher. Brands do oc­ca­sion­ally have in­ter­est­ing sto­ries to tell and ex­per­tise to share. In times of strug­gle, they also have fund­ing to of­fer that can help cre­ate good con­tent. So I don’t think it’s a black and white ar­gu­ment. There is a con­tin­uum of good and bad (prob­a­bly more bad, to be fair). But, like ad­ver­tis­ing in gen­eral, it al­ways pays to be ed­u­cated so you can un­der­stand the tricks be­ing em­ployed and make a judge­ment on the in­for­ma­tion’s worth.* Edi­tor/As­so­ciate pub­lisher Ben Fahy 021 245 4894 ben@tan­gi­ble­me­dia.co.nz Deputy Edi­tor Damien Venuto damien@tan­gi­ble­me­dia.co.nz 021 981001 Ad­ver­tis­ing Sales Manager Vernene Med­calf 09 966-0998 or 021 628-200 vernene@tan­gi­ble­me­dia.co.nz Ad­ver­tis­ing Co-or­di­na­tor Cal­lum Sweeney cal­lum@tan­gi­ble­me­dia.co.nz De­sign­ers Ju­lian Pet­titt, Matt Moss Il­lus­tra­tion/Cover de­sign Ker­ryn Smith Pro­duc­tion manager Jay Sayer jay.sayer@im­age-cen­tre.com Pub­lisher Vin­cent Heeringa vin­cent@tan­gi­ble­me­dia.co.nz Con­tact NZ Mar­ket­ing is pub­lished by Tan­gi­ble Me­dia 19 Lyon Ave PO Box 78070, Grey Lynn, Auck­land 1245 09 966-0998, 09 360-5702 (fax) www.tan­gi­ble­me­dia.co.nz Sub­scribe to NZ Mar­ket­ing marketingmag.co.nz/subs 0800 782 347 nz­mar­ket­ing@tmmc.co.nz Dis­tri­bu­tion Netlink Print­ing Im­age Cen­tre NZ Mar­ket­ing is printed us­ing veg­etable or soy-based inks. Pa­per sup­plied by BJ Ball us­ing wood from sus­tain­able, well­man­aged forests Copy­right NZ Mar­ket­ing is sub­ject to copy­right in its en­tirety. The con­tents may not be copied with­out writ­ten per­mis­sion from its own­ers. All ma­te­rial sent to NZ Mar­ket­ing will be deemed to be pub­lish­able un­less marked ‘not for pub­li­ca­tion’. NZ Mar­ket­ing in­vites con­tri­bu­tions but takes no re­spon­si­bil­ity for un­so­licited ma­te­rial.

ISSN 0111 9044

Mike Hosk­ing, ZB; Twit­ter and Face­book. Seven Sharp, TV One’s Break­fast, One News, Last Week Tonight, and the Late Show With Jimmy Fal­lon. A mix of telly, de­vice and desk­top. Chillax to Bach, weep to Shostakovich, and scheme/dream to Dvo­rak. Thanks iTunes. Search­ing for ever-elu­sive cred­i­bil­ity, I some­times se­lect back­ing tracks from Kanye West’s Yeezus to an­i­mate Seven Sharp pieces. It kills. Twit­ter, Instagram, Fa­cie… blah blah blah. I’m kind of an an­no­ta­tor on Face­book, rather than con­trib­u­tor. Instagram is for con­strained fun. I used to re­ally, re­ally love Twit­ter; I also used to love smok­ing. You see my point…

Google. The U.S. Army/Marine Corps Coun­terin­sur­gency Field Man­ual, by var­i­ous au­thors. It’s for my next novel, The Straight Ba­nana, but it also of­fers some help with un­der­stand­ing tele­vi­sion crit­ics in print. For stim­u­la­tion, The Para­doxes of Catholi­cism by Robert Hugh Ben­son. In re­lax­ation or book re­search, I do pages, which can be in­scribed. But via my de­vice: The Gospel Ac­cord­ing to St Mark, Ge­n­e­sis. First Things, The New Yorker, N+1; which I get through Twit­ter. New Idea, at the mo­ment.

#iHeartra­dio #ZB.

Guess and win … a set of steak knives.

In me­dia, all plea­sure is tinged with guilt.

My wife.

A In my ex­pe­ri­ence it’s usu­ally the other way round. I sup­pose it’s usu­ally a case of the grass al­ways looks greener on the other side but in my ex­pe­ri­ence, clients re­ally do seem to have a bet­ter time of it more of­ten than not. The pay’s as good or bet­ter, the hours less ar­du­ous and there is at least some sense that as a client you have some say in what ac­tu­ally hap­pens. As Ge­orge Bush so ar­tic­u­lately put it ‘I’m the de­cider’.

That said, there is noth­ing half as much fun as an agency that’s on its game. Karl Lager­feld is quoted in the lat­est is­sue of Vogue as say­ing in re­sponse to the ques­tion ‘how does he cope with bud­gets?’ – ‘ I don’t work with poor peo­ple.’

Scratch an ad man and you’ll find that level of won­der­ful ir­re­spon­si­bil­ity lurk­ing there for all to see. What Lager­feld’s an­swer re­veals is an at­ti­tude to busi­ness that puts cre­ativ­ity to the fore­front. Lager­feld goes on to say that the money he spends pays back twen­ty­fold.

So ask your­self if you’re happy to be­lieve in the power of ideas with­out the em­pir­i­cal proof of their value. And if you’re com­fort­able deal­ing not in cer­tain­ties but in pos­si­bil­i­ties. And if be­ing sur­rounded by a group of eclec­tic mis­fits where you’re likely to be the one out of place. Then throw in the is­sues of clients whose judg­ment is fi­nal (but not as good as yours), salaries that ain’t what they used to be and work­loads that put client side to shame and if you’re still ex­cited by the thought of jump­ing the fence, go for it. You’ll be a wel­come ad­di­tion. A The quote be­longs to Wil­liam Claude Duken­field, a.k.a. W.C. Fields. He was wrong, of course. Some of the great ads fea­ture ei­ther or both. They are the quick­est way to our hearts. Be­sides, if it were true, how could it ex­plain the en­dur­ing ap­peal of a cir­cus? Talk­ing of which, a bet­ter quote be­longs to P.T Bar­num, he of the Bar­num and Bai­ley Cir­cus, who said ‘No­body ever lost a dollar by un­der­es­ti­mat­ing the taste of the Amer­i­can public.’

That quote goes a long way to ex­plain why so much of Amer­i­can ad­ver­tis­ing is so hard to stom­ach. Of course, Amer­ica can also boast some of the best ad­ver­tis­ing ever but the dross is def­i­nitely the dom­i­nant fea­ture of Amer­i­can ad­ver­tis­ing.

And it’s a style that’s made its way here with in your face re­tail spots, scream­ing voice-overs and zero pro­duc­tion val­ues or for­mu­laic FMCG spots.

While we’re living in­creas­ingly in a con­tent cre­ation world in which the trick is to be in­vited in by con­sumers, there is still the means to ap­pear in­vited or not. Tele­vi­sion of course is a per­fect ex­am­ple. What we have to re­alise is that the old maxim of ‘re­mem­ber your man­ners as an un­in­vited guest’ is now more true than ever.

So, I’d sug­gest that work which charms its way into con­sumers’ hearts is the best work and chil­dren and an­i­mals are the epit­ome of charm or at least cute­ness. Just think of the end­less space de­voted to cat pho­to­graphs on so­cial me­dia. A Of­ten be­cause some­one else’s suc­cess is your fail­ure. Ei­ther they are do­ing work for a client you wish you had or they’re do­ing bet­ter work for their client than you are for yours.

Here’s where it gets in­ter­est­ing though. I’m di­rectly in­volved in the Partridge Jew­ellers cam­paign. It’s one I re­ally love and for a client who is a sixt gen­er­a­tion Kiwi busi­ness who we love work­ing with. So, I’m hardly ob­jec­tive and per­haps I’m just proof of the prior state­ment.

Our ap­proach has been to bring glam­our and ro­mance to jew­ellery with­out ever stray­ing too far from the prod­uct it­self.

The Michael Hill cam­paign is a bit too ‘planned’ to my lik­ing. It smacks of ‘higher or­der truths etc.’ which so of­ten leads to work that’s not teth­ered to the prod­uct it’s sell­ing, cou­pled with a some­what grungy ex­e­cu­tion.

Un­sur­pris­ingly, I like our cam­paign bet­ter. But I love the bold­ness of the Su­per Bowl place­ment. If that’s not mak­ing a state­ment, what is? I just hope they have deep enough pock­ets to carry on. And I think it’s ter­rific that Colenso have pulled it off. As John Plimmer would say, ‘Hats off’ to Michael Hill for hav­ing the faith to back their New Zealand agency and to Colenso for think­ing big.

Ex-Saatchi & Saatchi World­wide chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer, STW direc­tor, As­sign­ment Group co­founder, NZME board mem­ber and Lewis Road dairy don Peter Cul­li­nane of­fers up some hard­earned pearls of ad­ver­tis­ing wis­dom on jump­ing fences, an­i­mals and chil­dren, and Michael Hill’s Su­per Bowl ad.

Back in 2004, I was work­ing as a ju­nior designer for Jane Eyles-Bennett who owned Space­works. Af­ter 18 months she de­cided to sell, and the en­tre­pre­neur in me reared its head. Pan­icked by the thought of earn­ing a ju­nior designer’s salary with the po­ten­tial new owner, I put in an of­fer to buy the com­pany. But, I had noth­ing to my name. At the time, I was a bank’s night­mare. I had no as­sets, no cash in the bank and was a sin­gle mother. I was lucky enough to find a great banker at ANZ who was pre­pared to lis­ten to me. Ev­ery day for a month he said ‘no, try again’. So, ev­ery day I came up with some­thing new and fi­nally he al­lowed for the deal to go through. And here I am. I knew there was a gap in the mar­ket for a woman who was pre­pared to turn the de­sign in­dus­try on its head – do things dif­fer­ently and be unique. When I took over the busi­ness, Space­works only de­signed com­mer­cial of­fice in­te­ri­ors. As soon as the GFC hit, I knew we had to di­ver­sify and quickly. So, we started of­fer­ing de­sign for re­tail and hos­pi­tal­ity clients, which meant we had broad reach across all com­mer­cial in­dus­tries. This was our sav­ing grace as the bot­tom fell out of the of­fice mar­ket and we also quickly be­came known as the de­sign­ers who were cost-ef­fec­tive, cre­ative and happy to work with smaller clients. The GFC was ob­vi­ously a huge chal­lenge but look­ing back it was a bless­ing be­cause it taught me the value of swift dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion and to never rest on your lau­rels in a time of cri­sis. An­other in­valu­able les­son I learnt (and the hard way), was not to have all our eggs in one bas­ket. We had a ma­jor client fall over whom pro­vided us with over 80 per­cent of our monthly turnover prior to their fail­ure. Al­most ten years on, I will never al­low any of our clients to be more than 20 per­cent of our busi­ness at any given time. Hav­ing a phys­i­cal store de­signed well cre­ates a multi-sen­sory en­vi­ron­ment and the ex­pe­ri­ence is much stronger and more height­ened in per­son. Noth­ing beats touch­ing and feel­ing a prod­uct and hav­ing a true in­ter­ac­tion with the prod­uct and brand rather than sim­ply look­ing through the screen of a com­puter. Nowa­days, it’s about the mar­riage be­tween both on­line and bricks and mor­tar. The re­tail stores that will thrive will en­sure the en­tire ex­pe­ri­ence is in har­mony and gen­uine to their brand iden­tity. The mil­lion dollar ques­tion! What I love about this in­dus­try is how quickly it moves. A few years ago, ev­ery­one was say­ing that bricks and mor­tar is dead and on­line is the only way to sell. Now, the phys­i­cal space is be­com­ing an ex­ten­sion of the on­line ex­pe­ri­ence which means bricks and mor­tar (in the right form) has never been so im­por­tant.

The boom­ing store of the fu­ture will align its on­line strat­egy to drive peo­ple into the store and will en­sure it’s a des­ti­na­tion, rather than a house of prod­uct. The space needs to be wel­com­ing and de­signed so that the store tells a story. Our busi­ness is pre­dom­i­nantly based on re­fer­rals and in fact over 55 per­cent of our busi­ness has been from re­peat cus­tomers and this has been the case for the past five or so years. How­ever, we don’t just sit here re­ly­ing on our good work to gen­er­ate busi­ness. Our on­line strat­egy is ex­tremely im­por­tant, and we ini­ti­ate a plethora

of strate­gies to get the word out there. So­cial me­dia in­clud­ing LinkedIn, Instagram, Pin­ter­est and Face­book are fun­da­men­tal and I am also a great be­liever in shar­ing my trade se­crets on the in­dus­try. I am an avid blog­ger, con­tribut­ing my thoughts and opin­ions via the Space­works blog, De­sign Aloud and I also write for an on­line mag­a­zine, In­sid­eRe­tail. We do work across the ditch and in the South Pa­cific and work re­motely from the Auck­land of­fice at this stage. The Aus­tralian work we fo­cus on has been pri­mar­ily of­fice projects whereby our clients are want­ing con­sis­tency with their Auck­land of­fice. Australia is a strong mar­ket and grow­ing for us and it won’t be long be­fore we make a per­ma­nent home in ei­ther Syd­ney or Mel­bourne to push the busi­ness fur­ther. Each and ev­ery client has dif­fer­ent de­sign, style and in­stal­la­tion re­quire­ments and this is the case in ev­ery city and coun­try we work in. We al­ways adapt to who­ever we’re work­ing for, whether they’re across the road in Auck­land, Samoa or Australia. Sup­pli­ers and con­trac­tors have dif­fer­ent work­ing styles but we’re de­vel­op­ing some suc­cess­ful sup­plier col­lab­o­ra­tions in the cities we’re work­ing in. There have been many mis­takes in the last ten years but the big­gest ad­vice I can give any­one is that I had to get out of my own head, stop the chat­ter and learn what is in­stru­men­tal in our suc­cess or fail­ure. I sur­round my­self with inspiring peo­ple and ask a lot of ques­tions from other en­trepreneurs who have suc­ceeded and failed. My dream for Space­works is re­ally com­ing to fruition this year. Pop Up Now – fa­cil­i­ta­tors of pop up stores, ex­pe­ri­ences and events is grow­ing by the sec­ond and we have just launched Room­byRoom.co, an on­line res­i­den­tial de­sign arm of Space­works. There are so many other ex­cit­ing things hap­pen­ing this year but mum’s the word … you’ll just need to wait and see.

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