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Analysis and Comment (65)

Remember when the airline seat with extra leg room was free? Remember when the airline seat with extra leg room was free? Shutterstock

Why ‘free’ will eventually cost you

Remember the days when free really was free? When reading a news article to the end didn’t mean having to get over, around or through a paywall. Or when loyalty schemes actually rewarded loyalty with decent…
Pay-what-you want at the British Museum. Pay-what-you want at the British Museum. Eric Pouhier/Wikipedia

Why the butcher, the baker and the hotelier are adopting the honesty box

Across the street from my office is a museum full of fascinating collections that include paintings, sculptures, porcelains, and ancient archaeological finds. The chance to admire them all costs you nothing…
Consumers make subconscious decisions on what to consume. Consumers make subconscious decisions on what to consume. Zoe/Flickr

Emotions and eating: a marketer’s dream?

Both research and popular media tell us that emotions and eating are intrinsically related. How many times have we seen a character in a TV show reaching for the ice-cream tub when feeling particularly…
You can shine light on a dog, but it’s still a dog. You can shine light on a dog, but it’s still a dog. cabancreative/Flickr

Most ‘big data’ marketing is a waste of time, and here’s why

A passer-by happens upon a drunk searching for a lost wallet under a streetlight. With nothing in plain sight, the passer-by asks “Where did you drop your wallet?”. “Over there,” gestures the drunk across…
Damien Hirst, whose work Virgin Mother III is pictured here, has learned the lessons of personal branding. Damien Hirst, whose work Virgin Mother III is pictured here, has learned the lessons of personal branding. Suzanne Gerber

Survive in the art world: market the brand, sell the product

Artists such as Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali, and more recently Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons, are regularly held up as masters of self-marketing and as global artist brands. Koons, for example, is feted on…
Do you have permission for this shrine? Do you have permission for this shrine? EPA

Shock marketing reached new lows with MH17 trademarking

Just hours after MH17 crashed into fields in eastern Ukraine, a mysterious Malaysian company filed an application with authorities in Australia to trademark the doomed plane’s flight number. If accepted…
Hope, faith and miracle are the operative words when it comes to stem cell tourism. Hope, faith and miracle are the operative words when it comes to stem cell tourism. pol sifter/Flickr

Stem cell tourism exploits people by marketing hope

Stem cell tourism is when people travel to another country to receive treatments unavailable to them at home. It exists chiefly because most stem cell “treatments” are unproven and not readily available…
The food company sponsorship of the World Cup, including from soft drink giant Coca-Cola, is arguably a direct attack on efforts to improve child health in Latin America. The food company sponsorship of the World Cup, including from soft drink giant Coca-Cola, is arguably a direct attack on efforts to improve child health in Latin America. EPA/Guillaume Horcajuelo

A World Cup of opportunities for junk food companies

On Saturday night, just hours before the latest quarter-finals of the World Cup, viewers watching SBS World News were exposed to over two and a half minutes of marketing for Coca-Cola. And that’s not even…
Addicts or fanatics? Addicts or fanatics? Dennis Sabangan/EPA

Fanatical about football? Watch out, you could be an addict

Why are we so loyal to our national and club football teams? Whatever the results, we tend to support them week in week out, through thick and thin. They can cause us nothing but misery and heartache and…
Nike is only ‘unofficially’ present at the World Cup, which is officially sponsored by Adidas, through its sponsored teams such as Australia. Nike is only ‘unofficially’ present at the World Cup, which is officially sponsored by Adidas, through its sponsored teams such as Australia. EPA/Armando Babani

Nike, Adidas and the World Cup’s marketing war

The football World Cup currently underway in Brazil is not only a battle between two teams on the pitch and 32 nations overall, but also a battle off the field. Although eight different companies provide…
Coca Cola is a major sponsor of the World Cup, but non-sponsors are capitalising on the tournament too. Coca Cola is a major sponsor of the World Cup, but non-sponsors are capitalising on the tournament too. George/Flickr

Brands are big winners in the ‘first social media World Cup’

The 2014 World Cup has already seen a significant volume of Twitter conversation across a number of (English language) keywords, including #joinin, #worldcup, #Brazil2014 and #worldcup2014, as well as…
We could soon be asking if pop-up ads are that bad. We could soon be asking if pop-up ads are that bad. Shutterstock

Tired of pop-up ads? The ‘native’ alternative could be worse

In the endless drive to get people’s attention, advertising is going ‘native’, creeping in to places formerly reserved for editorial content. In this Native Advertising series we find out what it looks…
It clearly takes more than nice packaging to impress this cool cat. It clearly takes more than nice packaging to impress this cool cat. Felix Idan

Bottled water is the marketing trick of the century

Writing in the Daily Telegraph Dr Phil Hammond, the GP, comedian and columnist wonders whether we have all swallowed the “water con”. Have we, he asks, abandoned rational thought? The answer to this question…
Universities are obsessed with student retention, but should they be? Universities are obsessed with student retention, but should they be? Paul Miller/AAP

Universities can’t win a war on attrition

Retention and attrition rates have been a major concern to universities for many years, so much so that there are publications dedicated solely to the issue. Although universities and colleges are basically…
We can’t always see no evil. We can’t always see no evil. Alicakes

Charity campaigns may cause outrage, but shock sells

A campaign for Pancreatic Cancer Action recently stirred up controversy over advertising “shock tactics”. In the advert, genuine sufferers of the disease stated to camera that “I wish I had testicular…
It’s a physical struggle in these skirts, but we always shop in store. It’s a physical struggle in these skirts, but we always shop in store. Haute Couture News

Chanel opts out of fashion’s love affair with online shopping

In the world of luxury fashion, Chanel stands apart from the crowd. But it’s not the designs that make it different. The French luxury brand is one of the last few major labels that does not sell its clothes…
“Hi! Is that the 1980s? I’ve got your phone. You can have it back.” “Hi! Is that the 1980s? I’ve got your phone. You can have it back.” Computex e Forum

The three rules that stop a tech device from losing its cool

In the world of hi-tech devices, it is imperative to keep your finger on the pulse. Some of the most successful companies of our times, such as Apple and Google, are those that understand the power of…
Someone thought it was a peri peri good idea to cash in on Corby. Someone thought it was a peri peri good idea to cash in on Corby. monkeyc.net

Nando’s plays chicken with Schapelle and wins

Fast-food chain Nando’s has done it again. While the release of Schapelle Corby on parole was hitting all the Australian news headlines yesterday, Nando’s used a technique known as “topical advertising…
It looks like you’re playing a ukulele. Would you like to buy some quinoa? It looks like you’re playing a ukulele. Would you like to buy some quinoa? Lilah Shepherd

Computer sees your hipster haircut, sells you a plaid shirt

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, are developing an algorithm that aims to identify whether you’re a hipster, a goth or a punk, just from the cut of your social media jib. The team…
Not so appetising when you think about it. Not so appetising when you think about it. GS+

There’s no such thing as a free lunch from tobacco companies

Almost all companies contribute money to charity and many would argue that corporate donations make a positive difference in the world. But this hopeful take on corporate philanthropy sits uneasily with…
Advergames on mobile phones allow advertisers to directly target young children with games that promote unhealthy food. Advergames on mobile phones allow advertisers to directly target young children with games that promote unhealthy food. Toca Boca/flickr

Advergames play with nutrition by making fast food rewarding

Advergaming is a relatively recent approach to advertising that overcomes many of the limitations of traditional advertising. But advergames are increasingly being used by fast food companies to target…
Schoolies are built on huge demand – and high expectations. Schoolies are built on huge demand – and high expectations. AAP/Dean Saffron

Schoolies, toolies and foolies – in the market for a rite of passage

It’s that time of year again: schoolies – that institution where school leavers (schoolies) disappear for a couple of weeks to a beachside resort to engage in all types of shenanigans, both legal and otherwise…
Marketing professionals are facing a moment of truth as reaching customers becomes easier than ever for non-professionals. Marketing professionals are facing a moment of truth as reaching customers becomes easier than ever for non-professionals. Boston Public Library/Flickr

Goodbye marketers: Facebook’s moment of truth

The effectiveness of Facebook advertising as a marketing tool for companies has come under intense scrutiny in recent weeks. The first volley was fired by Nate Elliot, the principal analyst at Forrester…
Virgin Australia is trying to revive the supposed romance of aviation’s past. Virgin Australia is trying to revive the supposed romance of aviation’s past. Virgin Australia

Romance reborn: can glamour reboot Virgin Australia’s image?

Remember when airline travel was all about glamorous hostesses, dashing pilots and the stylish, well-behaved jet-set class? No, I don’t either. But it’s a rose-tinted view of the past Virgin Australia…
Airport lounges, loved by frequent flyers, don’t necessarily engender brand loyalty. Airport lounges, loved by frequent flyers, don’t necessarily engender brand loyalty. Richard Moross/Flickr

Airline lounge war could prove futile for Qantas and Virgin

Recently Qantas and Virgin have been fighting a war for “high value” corporate contracts by refurbishing their invitation-only lounges. But is this a wise strategy? The airline industry has long been stuck…
Many commentators criticised Tony Abbott’s ‘female-lite’ frontbench last week. How might it affect his carefully managed and marketed ‘brand’ from the campaign trail? Many commentators criticised Tony Abbott’s ‘female-lite’ frontbench last week. How might it affect his carefully managed and marketed ‘brand’ from the campaign trail? AAP/Lukas Coch

Marketing political brands: passionate punters need consistent messaging

In the last week, a number of political commentators have argued that newly-minted prime minister Tony Abbott’s frontbench is decidedly low on women. There is only one woman in Cabinet and an additional…
Frustrated consumers can now get their own back online. Frustrated consumers can now get their own back online. Sybren A. Stüvel

Disgruntled customers waging a social media war

Social media may have done much for the world, but it certainly hasn’t made everyone happy. It’s not just trolls, bullies and pedants: regular customers are annoyed too. Take a glance at the twitter feeds…
Craft beers are punching above their weight, and are increasing their market share in Australia. Craft beers are punching above their weight, and are increasing their market share in Australia. AAP

Small brands, big impact: why craft beer is top of the hops

The brewing industries in many countries are undergoing dramatic changes, with increasing numbers of craft breweries challenging the traditional volume-based business model of major corporations. In the…
A marketing triumph: Red Bull’s space diving project made headlines around the globe. A marketing triumph: Red Bull’s space diving project made headlines around the globe. AAP

Newsjacking: a fad or the future for marketing?

A newsworthy event is happening right now. And another, and another — it never ends. This is vital not just for feeding our 24-hour news cycle and hungry media corporations, but increasingly also for marketers…
ANZAC Day once was a day to commemorate the sacrifices made by Australian soliders in war - but is it now being hijacked by companies with a profit motive? ANZAC Day once was a day to commemorate the sacrifices made by Australian soliders in war - but is it now being hijacked by companies with a profit motive? Australian War Memorial

Should we be consuming more than just patriotism on national days?

Australian brands are increasingly looking to exploit national holidays like ANZAC Day. Given soft retail conditions, such efforts are understandable. But is it welcome? Sure, there is no law against associating…
A woman reads the Sydney Morning Herald in its new tabloid-sized format while a neuro test monitors her reaction. A woman reads the Sydney Morning Herald in its new tabloid-sized format while a neuro test monitors her reaction. Fairfax/AAP

Neuromarketing for the compact Fairfax papers was a no-brainer

If there’s one thing that could be observed from Fairfax’s move to publish its first tabloid-sized broadsheets it was a surprising level of neuro-illiteracy. Fairfax’s head of advertising, Sarah Keith…
Can on-field adulation translate to off-field trustworthiness? Can on-field adulation translate to off-field trustworthiness? AAP Image/Dean Lewins

Big league stakes: gambling on a sport legend to sell coal seam gas

Darren Lockyer knows a thing or two about conversions, having banged hundreds between the posts and over the crossbar during his rugby league career. He retired on a high in 2011, having captained the…
Tobacco advertising laws must be adapted to keep up with new media. Tobacco advertising laws must be adapted to keep up with new media. jfin.ch

No more cigarette advertising? Never mind, there’s an app for that

“Every time a door closes a window opens.” This clichéd greeting card sentiment must be the catch-cry of tobacco marketers globally. Every since tobacco advertising was first forced off our television…
Are any of these fish sustainable? A seafood guide might help you figure it out, but it might not… Are any of these fish sustainable? A seafood guide might help you figure it out, but it might not… Diarmuid Fisherman/Flickr

Conflicting sustainable seafood guides confuse consumers

Whether at the supermarket or the local fisho, most people find it difficult to know what seafood is sustainable. To help consumers make more informed choices, conservation organisations have been busy…
Green has become the new black for some companies, but often there is more at play than environmental consciousness. Green has become the new black for some companies, but often there is more at play than environmental consciousness. davesag/flickr

Greenwash: a critical exposé highlights need for action

Civilisation is doomed. If Guy Pearse’s Greenwash doesn’t convince you of this then you’re a more optimistic person than me. That, or you’ve been led down one of the most dangerous marketing blind-alleys…
Ever wonder why Australians spend half a billion dollars a year on something that comes from the tap? Ever wonder why Australians spend half a billion dollars a year on something that comes from the tap? slinky2000

An untapped resource: how water became the ultimate consumer product

Water is just water, right? To some, yes, but many consumers spend inordinate amounts of time considering which brand they should buy and are willing to pay many times more than the price of humble tap…
We want our pets to be happy, but how much luxury do they need? We want our pets to be happy, but how much luxury do they need? nezitic[x]/flickr

What about your carbon pawprint?

People around the world are worrying about their carbon footprint. But what about their furry friends' carbon pawprints? Consider the numbers: there are currently around 1 billion pet cats and dogs worldwide…
The future of advertising: Coca Cola have launched an Australian campaign as part of their joint venture with music streaming service, Spotify. The future of advertising: Coca Cola have launched an Australian campaign as part of their joint venture with music streaming service, Spotify. Flickr/Sorosh

The new world of advertising is here, so listen on Spotify and have a Coke

The Australian launch of a joint venture campaign between soft drink behemoth Coca Cola with Swedish music streaming service Spotify and Universal Music, represents the new world of advertising. The “Share…
Athletes competing in the Paralympics don’t have a level playing field. Athletes competing in the Paralympics don’t have a level playing field. Julian Stratenschulte/EPA

Media blitz: marketing is the next front for the Paralympics

Have you detected the not-so-subtle difference in the coverage afforded to our Paralympic and Olympic athletes? A sense that the marketing budgets are worlds apart for the two sporting events? It wouldn’t…
A focus on money rather than sport is tarnishing the Olympic brand. A focus on money rather than sport is tarnishing the Olympic brand. Shawn Carpenter

Faster, higher, stronger and more expensive: the Olympic Games are losing their shine

Nothing is sacred and nothing can’t be bought, sold or sponsored in the modern era of the Olympics. If you can’t afford it, then you won’t win it. Sport in 2012 has become a massive global industry. The…
Poverty of vision: the carbon tax is about more than individuals' hip pockets. Poverty of vision: the carbon tax is about more than individuals' hip pockets. AAP/Julian Smith

Selling the carbon tax: individual versus collective self-interest

July 1 has rolled past and Australia has a carbon tax. As Government Ministers prepare to hit the road to spruik the benefits of the tax, it’s worth shining a spotlight on the kinds of messages they love…
The Lingerie Football League is coming to Australia … and it needs you to be outraged to pay the bills. The Lingerie Football League is coming to Australia … and it needs you to be outraged to pay the bills. AAP Image/Wayne Heming

Lingerie Football: ignore it and it will go away

I’m a fan of the retention of pubic hair. I don’t much like the idea of breast implants. Thoughts of vaginoplasty coax me into an involuntary Kegel exercise. I’ve no idea why any woman would bleach her…
Businesses sponsor schools to increase sales and generate product loyalty. Businesses sponsor schools to increase sales and generate product loyalty. Elizabeth/Table4Five

Why schools and corporate brands shouldn’t mix

The furore following the announcement that Jenny Craig CEO Amy Smith would address a gathering of hundreds of girls' school teachers has once again brought the uncomfortable issue of corporate presence…
Kony2012 seemed to be everywhere, but attention has now turned to the makers of the video. Kony2012 seemed to be everywhere, but attention has now turned to the makers of the video. Reyhan Dhuny

Viral video, gone bad: Kony 2012 and the perils of social media

There have been enough social media disasters of late to make one thing clear: manipulating sentiment through social networks is next to impossible. The McDonald’s #McDStories campaign in January was supposed…
Coles is among a number of companies that have misjudged social media campaigns. Coles is among a number of companies that have misjudged social media campaigns. AAP/Alan Porrit

Fishing for compliments: a dangerous marketing strategy

My central problem with branded clothing is my reluctance to actually be branded. Why on earth would I pay to advertise someone? When a Kiwi can make a motza from auctioning her buttock flesh to a strip…
Sending the same message to everyone at once is an old-fashioned approach. Sending the same message to everyone at once is an old-fashioned approach. Boston Public Library

Australians need more than one message on the carbon tax

The Federal Government is once again hitting difficulties in communicating its carbon pricing proposal, with polling finding Australians don’t like the word carbon. The government is reconsidering its…
Protests such as the Occupy movements are no longer considered fringe as consumer resistance goes mainstream. Protests such as the Occupy movements are no longer considered fringe as consumer resistance goes mainstream. AAP

The anti-shopping movement goes mainstream

Traditionally, the work of marketers has been to encourage the shopper to buy. For decades, marketers have focused on understanding, segmenting, or empirically dissecting a product or brand’s existing…
What if there were an algorithm that could guarantee marketing success? What if there were an algorithm that could guarantee marketing success? Hanga Girl

How to make a YouTube viral video smash – the ingredients

Creating a 30 second YouTube movie that goes viral is the holy grail of marketing. So how is it done? Ensuring the success of a viral-produced movie is still largely hit-and-miss. Some of the more well-known…
Qantas will now have to work very hard to persuade people to trust their brand again. Qantas will now have to work very hard to persuade people to trust their brand again. AAP

We’re hopping mad now, so how will Qantas win us back?

In 2011, brand is everything in the corporate world. While the rest of the business operations are considered a cost, marketing makes money. And central to so much of modern marketing is the brand, built…
Doctors' wining and dining by drug companies distort prescribing patterns and may influence them to recommend less-than-ideal drugs. Doctors' wining and dining by drug companies distort prescribing patterns and may influence them to recommend less-than-ideal drugs. PhillipC/Flickr

It’s not you, it’s the patients: why doctors should tell drug firms it’s over

This week Radio National’s Background Briefing looks at how pharmaceutical companies market their products to doctors. The program is presented by Ray Moynihan, an award-winning journalist, columnist at…
Marketing in the 2011 New Zealand Rugby World Cup will be different to previous years. Marketing in the 2011 New Zealand Rugby World Cup will be different to previous years. Flickr/Sandy Austin

Selling the Rugby World Cup

RUGBY WORLD CUP – As the All Blacks and the Wallabies prepare for Sunday’s semi-final showdown, Deakin University’s Adam Karg discusses how to make money from the competition. The Rugby World Cup has returned…
The emerging field of neuromarketing exploits the gap between what we say and what we think. The emerging field of neuromarketing exploits the gap between what we say and what we think. Flickr/DierkSchaefer

Our brains, our wallets - the field of neuromarketing

How do we choose? Consumers imagine themselves as rational decision-makers, able to weigh up the relative costs and benefits of decisions to arrive at reasoned choices. Yet, a growing body of research…
Kevin Rudd used to manage his brand well, but was toppled after an advertising campaign against him. Kevin Rudd used to manage his brand well, but was toppled after an advertising campaign against him. AAP/YouTube

Democracy is dead, long live political marketing

MEDIA & DEMOCRACY: Today, Andrew Hughes looks at how voters have become consumers of political marketing, as part of The Conversation’s week-long series on how the media influences the way our representatives…
Celebrities may inspire and help advertise products, but they have no place in politics. Celebrities may inspire and help advertise products, but they have no place in politics. AAP Image/Paul Miller

Forget the fantasy politics – advertising is no substitute for debate

MEDIA & DEMOCRACY: Today, The Conversation launches a week-long series, looking at how the media influences the way our representatives develop policy. Robin Canniford explains why advertising spin…
Can political debates be won with a chequebook instead of politicians' backing? Can political debates be won with a chequebook instead of politicians' backing? AAP

Hearts and minds: how industry ad campaigns work

The mining industry, led by the Minerals Council of Australia, has written to members asking for funds to under take a new advertising campaign to attack the carbon tax. In his letter to members, Minerals…
Maria Sharapova has managed to move her appeal beyond sexiness. Maria Sharapova has managed to move her appeal beyond sexiness. AAP

Playing the (wo)man: why women’s sport is still all about sex appeal

BUSINESS OF SPORT: The marketing of women in sport in Australia in 2011 is simple: sex sells. Don’t take my word for it though. Google the name of any female athlete and chances are the top search results…
Peer recommendations are credible because they are unrewarded and unpaid. Peer recommendations are credible because they are unrewarded and unpaid. fb a o/Flickr

Mamas know best: women with children trust peer endorsements over marketing

Research shows mothers prefer advice from their peers about health-care providers and medication. Such referrals are more trusted than practitioners or the paid marketing messages about health-care products…
Despite bleak predictions, bricks-and-mortar retail does have a future. Despite bleak predictions, bricks-and-mortar retail does have a future. AAP

Colorado takes a hike, but retail’s not going anywhere

The news that clothing and footwear chain Colorado is to close its doors will no doubt be greeted as further proof of bricks-and-mortar retail’s imminent extinction. Coupled with Small Business Minister…
Plain packaging could spell the death of the cigarette brand in Australia and beyond. Plain packaging could spell the death of the cigarette brand in Australia and beyond. thana/flickr

Spluttering on: why big tobacco just can’t butt out on plain packaging

British American Tobacco Australia has launched yet another attack on the Australian government’s plain packaging legislation. On top of its latest “Where’s the proof?” campaign, launched today, it is…

Research Briefs (9)