Media comment: Management Today

I’ve just been featured in the Aussie edition of Management Today, talking about the role of listening when it comes to predicting future trends. The piece is included in full below – excuse the wonky scan…it’s been a long, long day.


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Seven massive PR stunts

Does making something massive make it newsworthy? Well, we’ve all been guilty of  throwing in the odd wild suggestion during an uninspired brainstorm to make something the ‘biggest, best or most expensive’. But, in some cases, maybe biggest really can be best. Here’s a collection of some my favorite ‘big’ PR stunts – there’s more out there than you could ever imagine…

The biggest slipper? Ok, so the tale with this one is that this guy ordered this slipper from China, and in a moment of buffoonery got the decimal point in the wrong place. Anyway, the retailer didn’t think to question it and this is what he ended up with (size 1,450 if you’re interested). But as it turns out he actually works for a company called ‘Monster Slippers’. Nice stunt.

The biggest present? Harrods used over 600 metres of paper to gift wrap a helicopter. Impressive huh? Apparently, the chopper was sent to a Harrods customer as a gift to take his partner on a trip of a lifetime.

The biggest toy? Actually, the biggest toy box, filled with a right hand drive Hummer H3, launching in the UK for the first time with this nifty stunt with Toys R Us. Still a stupid car though…

The biggest shopping trolley? Hmmmm, starting to get a bit bored with these big stunts now.  Sainsbury’s celebrate selling their 1,000,000th Red Nose by…you’ve guessed it, filling a giant trolley with Red Noses!

The biggest deck chair? Pimms celebrate a start (and imminent end) of a British summer by bringing a giant deck chair to Bournemouth beach (that’s the English equivalent of Bondi, geography fans)

The biggest logo? This is pretty cool; KFC became the world’s first brand visible from outer space  by unveiling an 87,500 square ft,  logo in the Area 51 desert. Actually, I once did a stunt like this for Yorkshire Tourist Board, so I’d argue I got there first.

The biggest sofa? Homebase placed a triple-sized sofa in Victoria Station, London to celebrate triple Nectar points. This looks way bigger than triple size if you ask me. Unless they’re tiny people, which is common in sofa ads.  

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My year of winning competitions

When I first moved to Sydney, for some reason I started entering competitions, quite obsessively in fact. I’d always scoffed at those people who enter competitions for a living, but very quickly I started to win stuff. It wasn’t even like I was entering loads of competitions – just one or two a week. And it worked unbelievably well.

That’s not to say all the prizes were that good – I found the key was to enter competitions indiscriminately. So for every VIP yacht trip, you end up with something pretty shitty like a family pack of tuna, or a desk fan. But hey, that’s the competition roller coaster right?

Here’s a summary of what I got in 12 months:

  • Audi A3 for the weekend
  • A days sailing on a VIP yacht at Sydney Regatta with unlimited champagne
  • Sailing lessons on the harbor
  • Henry Lloyd jackets  and polo shirts
  • Designer sunglasses
  • Tickets to Sydney outdoor cinema
  • Tickets to ‘summer music festival’ Moore Park
  • Tickets to Chinese Laundry garden Party
  • Best of VICE hardback photo book
  • Pair of tickets to see Ladysmith Black Mambaza at State Theatre
  • Kings of Leon tickets at Sydney Entertainment Centre
  • A case of fine wine
  • Numerous cinema tickets
  • Ten bowling passes at AMF

And that’s it. I’ve since become disillusioned with competitions and don’t enter them anymore.

Image used under Creative Commons, courtesy of All Seeing Angler

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Media comment – the PR Report

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Media comment: Sydney Morning Herald

I’ve just been featured on the Sydney Morning Herald’s small business channel, talking about twitter tips for the SME. Check it out below.  It’s always tough to make this kind of thing meaningful in only five bullets, but that’s the nature of the beast.

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Four trends for 2012

It’s always around this time that pundits line up to give you their view of what’ going to happen in the year ahead, whether it’s music, fashion, food or politics. While we’d love to talk around all of these issues, we’ve decided to keep it simple. So here’s a quick overview of what the team at Lucre predict is going to happen in the world of marketing in Australia throughout 2012.

Social media comes of age

Ok, so Australians are the most ‘engaged’ in the world when it comes to social media – but when it comes to corporate Australia, embracing social media is more hit-or-miss. But 2012 will see a groundswell in businesses shifting from tactical social media activities – maintaining a sole twitter page for example – to much more strategic, integrated, and therefore much more effective, social media executions.

Agencies move from specialist to generalist

The last few years have been dominated by niche agency players, whether it’s SEO, PPC, above-the-line, below-the-line, whatever it is. But client-side budget constraints and the desire for true integration will drive a shift towards agencies becoming more of a one-stop-shop. This is being particularly driven by social media, with agencies of all disciplines recognising how complimentary this channel can be to their offering, not to mention increased client demand for expertise in this area. So that means everything from experiential shops bolstering their team with PR and social specialists to SEO and digital agencies recognising the need to offer a more meaningful and conversation-based social media activity.

Mobile commerce and social commerce

According to eBay stats, 1.3 million Aussies are using M-commerce platforms, and are shopping using their smart phones. As traffic continues to grow on mobile channels in this country, we’re likely to see huge growth in this area. Not only that but ‘social commerce’ – the layer of ‘social engagement’ sitting above an e-commerce site, is going to be big news in 2012, with online peer-to-peer recommendation playing a huge role in driving purchasing decisions.

ROI becomes more important than ever

With further budget constraints and a slow-down in consumer spending, companies are wanting – more than ever – to see concrete ROI from their marketing activity. The often ‘intangible’ mediums of PR and social will be especially under the spotlight, and agencies won’t be able to hide behind smoke and mirrors (not that they should’ve been hiding in the first place…) when it comes to demonstrating effectiveness of campaign work.

Image used under Creative Commons on behalf of t0msk

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Four of the best gambling publicity stunts

Sydney, the original ‘sin city’ has this week played host to the annual Australasian Gaming Expo, the region’s largest gaming equipment trade exhibition.. It’s a big deal in the gaming industry, especially given that the event comes at a time when the political spotlight on the Australian gambling industry is shining brighter than ever.

So I thought it was a good time to revisit some of our all-time favourite gambling marketing stunts. With the media reticent to cover gambling, creativity is the order of the day and brands look for increasingly audacious, wild or tasteless ways to reach consumer directly. The result: a lot of fun!

1) A British man bets it all

While controversial, Ashley Revell’s plan to sell everything he had, including his clothes, and place all the money on red at the roulette table in Plaza Hotel and Casino Las Vegas, Nevada, certainly garnered publicity. Revell placed a total of $135,400 on red, and luckily – for all involved – it came good and he came away smiling.

2) Casino of Venice create roulette at the airport.

A simple idea well executed, when the Casinò di Venezia turned the baggage carolsel at Venice airport into a branded roulette wheel, there’s few people who wouldn’t have seen it, not to mention the pages of media coverage generated from this smart stunt.

3) Golden Palace – every stunt under the sun…

Where do you start with The online casino carries out by far the most audacious stunts, which, time after time, generate mass publicity. Past activities include sponsoring a real-life birth, a woman changing her name to, and sponsoring Dennis Rodman at the running of the bulls in Spain. Here’s one of our favorites (and one of the most disgusting!)

4) Circus Casino’s Perfect Poker Face

Ok, this is one of my own, and it never reached the lofty heights of William Shatner, but achieved real media cut through all the same. We thought: what does the ‘perfect poker face’ really look like? To find out, Circus Casino analysed the faces of the 10 most successful poker players of all time…and this is the (slightly scary) result: the $40m face!

Let me know if there’s any I’ve missed!



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