Archive for the ‘Brand and communication’ Category

How well do you think these powerful brands address today’s participatory culture?

November 6, 2015

Bob_Megaphone

Every year, Brand Finance puts thousands of the world’s top brands to the test. They are evaluated to determine which are the most powerful, and the most valuable. have listed the following as the 10 most powerful brands in 2015…

Lego 93.4

pwc 91.8

Red Bull 91.1

McKinsey and Company 90.1

Unilever 90.1

L’Oreal 89.7

Burberry 89.7

Rolex 89.7

Ferrari 89.6

Nike 89.6

In order to determine the most powerful brands in the world, their team examines factors such as a company’s investment in marketing, equity as measured by goodwill of customers and staff, and the impact of marketing and goodwill on the company’s “business performance.” All well and good but as a researcher who does a lot of work in this space I am curious to know more about what these brands do to actually engage with their customer base. We know that engaged consumers tend to display greater levels of loyalty and I don’t see this as a measure, good will is there yes, but this does not always equate to loyalty.

In my opinion (and it is just that an opinion nothing more) not all of the 10 brands listed appear to be particularly strong thought leaders in addressing todays participatory culture, something that is becoming more important as a tool to engage with customers. It is true a lot of these brands aim to engage consumers on a deeper level to foster long-term loyalty and if you spend a bit of time online it is easy to see how they are tapping into this participatory culture to foster this loyalty.

Many brands do this, but not all with a clear strategy as to how they want this to add in a positive way to their brands narrative. In addition without a clear social media management strategy in place, many are in danger of having little control over how customers add to their brands narrative (good or bad).

A social media strategy needs to go beyond simply embracing the creation of ‘brand engagement campaigns’ aimed at generating shareable experiences, and these need to be done in a way that are not evidently commercials which gets harder and harder as consumers become more and more marketing savvy.  Often a campaign’s success is measured using social media engagement metrics, but as a qualitative researcher I am often asked to explore the ‘meaning’ behind these metrics and more often than not just because a campaign goes viral (a benchmark for success) this does not always result in a positive impact on the brand narrative, in fact it can have short term positive impact but a longer term negative one.

The growth in participatory culture by consumers has actually been fed by brands embracing this as a tool to engage with consumers, but said consumers now believe their voices are more valuable than ever before and  as a consequence brands are in danger of losing ‘control’ of the narrative that they wish to stimulate.

It is true that in today’s society social media has facilitated a two-way connection with consumers like no other. However, a conversation is only as good or interesting as all its participants make it, and that requires paying attention at all times, but how many brands are truly embracing that idea and paying attention to everything that is being said on platforms such as Twitter or Facebook?

It is not just about ‘listening’ to what consumers saying, attention needs to be given to everything a brand intends to ‘say’ to consumers and this needs to ladder to a clear social media strategy. So many brands are trying to hold conversations with consumers today which means they are being blitzed with more branded messages on a daily basis than ever before. Think of it this way, we all know how we hate to be interrupted by someone else when we are having a conversation and we have ways in which to deal with this, online consumers have more control over which messages or conversations they see, hear, and ultimately choose to engage with, so pay heed to what it is you want to say and the manner in which you intend to do it.

To bring this back to my earlier point around engagement, I see in the work that I do that relating with consumers on an individual, personal basis is often the piece of the jigsaw that is missing in the engagement puzzle, where I see this is not the case is with brands that have moved towards a more human or humanistic connection in the way their brand attempts to build relationships and therefore loyalty among their customers. This I like to call ‘the rise of human’ but that is another story all together.

RIP Burt Shavitz and thank you for such a wonderful product

July 23, 2015

burts-beesI have always been a big fan of Burt’s Bees, so it was sad to hear that the original Burt died earlier this month. Burt Shavitz was one of the founding partners of Burt’s Bees back in 1984, along with his partner at the time, Roxanne Quimby who he met by picking up as a hitchhiker. The brand has been owned by Clorox since 2007 (who paid US$ 925m for it). Burt himself had previously been bought out of the company for $130,000 by Quimby, but apparently she did later give him $4m after she sold it to Clorox.

Burt himself was something of a hermit in his later years, living in rural Miane in a converted turkey coop with no TV or hot water (by choice).

Even though the brand is now owned by a major producer of bleach, they still only use natural ingredients. They also demonstrate their commitment to being environmentally responsible, via packaging which is recycled or recyclable.

Engaging with 18-24’s: Stop asking them to take selfies

February 3, 2015

Spoiled, selfish, ambitious, connected, immature, tech-savvy, demanding, open-minded, fame-seeking, over-sharing.

These are just some of the words that are commonly used to describe young consumers, (the so-called ‘Gen Y’ or ‘Millennials’).  And there is a perception amongst some marketers that this target audience is particularly enigmatic and hard to connect with.

With little understanding, the default marketing approach is often to just ‘do something online’ or ‘create a social media campaign’. Unfortunately it takes more than the inclusion of a hashtag, video, Facebook page or consumer-with-brand-selfie request to drive engagement with young people today.

In 2007, Jigsaw conducted a qualitative study into young Australians aged 18-24.

At the time, the issue of local youth identity was particularly hot, following the aftermath of the Cronulla race riots and the cultural cringe from Lara Bingle’s ‘Where the bloody hell are you’ campaign. The objectives of the study were to expose what young people were really thinking and explore the defining traits of this generation.

Seven years later, we have refocused on this audience; with the challenge of getting beneath current media rhetoric and stereotypes. Having previously conducted a similar study helped us pull apart ‘coming of age’ characteristics vs. traits which are a by-product of 2014’s unique technological, political, cultural and environmental landscape. This time we could also employ fresher methodologies (e.g. online communities, tasks involving Spotify, Tinder etc).

So what’s changed? Here are a few of the shifts we discovered.

Big goals vs big fails

2007: ‘No one wants to do something they don’t enjoy.’

Back then, we found that success for young people was defined by their own goals. The older stereotypes of success (e.g. high paying job, big house, flash car) no longer applied and instead success largely equated to personal happiness i.e. doing what you want and then making a living from this.

2014: ‘The voice in the back of my head says not everyone can be the next Zuckerberg.’

Fast forward and 18-24-year-olds are still rejecting their parents’ definitions of success. However what’s changed is that there is phenomenal pressure to not just do what you want, but to do it in a BIG way.

There are so many high profile young entrepreneurs, bloggers and vloggers who have changed lives, made millions/billions or simply become celebrities. So young people currently find it hard to justify doing things in an ‘average way’. They therefore appreciate anyone who can support them as they strive towards achieving their large-scale dreams.

Tweet, pray, love

2007: ‘I get stressed by how much there is going on.’

Young people told us that they were being buffeted by an accelerated culture in which everything seemed fast paced e.g. trends coming and going, new technologies, news stories constantly breaking. They also felt that their personal (uni, work, social) lives were too hectic. Incidences of depression and anxiety were becoming fairly prevalent amongst friends.

2014: ‘I find the Dalai Llama and his mind so fascinating. He can deal with whatever situation the modern world throws at him.’

Today there are similar gripes, however there seem to be more tools in their toolkit (e.g. yoga and exercise, healthy diet, socialising and sharing) for becoming more resilient to everyday stresses. It was also heartening to hear words like ‘wellbeing’ and ‘mental health’ being more openly discussed.

The e-tox challenge

2007: ‘It’s great being connected, I couldn’t imagine what it was like before the internet.’

Young people were fully embracing of online media for information, shopping, entertaining and connecting e.g. messaging platforms, social media, gaming.

2014: ‘Although it’s easy to Snapchat, nothing beats a drink at the pub.’

This time we noticed a stronger desire to grab opportunities to switch off and have more offline experiences. However the convenience and affordability of online often made it harder for young people to disconnect. For example, music festivals could set them back hundreds of dollars whereas YouTube offered alternative access to free performances. As such, young people told us about seeking out cheap and cheerful reality fixes e.g. hanging out in parks, crafting, dumpster diving.

Just do it, don’t just ‘like’ it

2007: “I don’t like how Australians come across as racist and behind the times. We need to change this.”

Back then, 18-24-year-olds were passionate about driving societal change. Although these are typical traits of young people across the eras (e.g. student protests in the 60s and 70s) 2007’s hot topics were uniquely focused on driving acceptance and tolerance (post race riots, post 9-11).

2014: ‘Occasionally you see friends going to protest marches on Facebook, but most people just ‘like’ stuff and don’t do anything real.’

Youthful passion is still simmering today. However simultaneously there is growing cynicism towards activist behaviour on social media, an environment which fosters ‘support’ but does not necessarily generate tangible real world changes. For example Michelle Obama’s push to get people behind #BringBackOurGirls brought to life the ‘slacktivism’ complained about by young people who were starting to rally against online talk, by walking the walk with physical change actions e.g. using apps to find ethical/enviro products and shopping in stores with socially aligned purposes.

So now what?

The 18-24s of today are clearly a unique product of their environment and their age/life-stage. In order to connect with them, marketers need to look past the stereotypes and into their motivations and tensions.

This can be achieved in a variety of ways.

Firstly there are opportunities to inspire and support young people in achieving their dreams. Red Bull does this via their sporting ambassadors (e.g. Ellyse Perry, Sally Fitzgibbons) who share their journeys towards success, including the wins and fails.

Then there’s providing consumers with tangible ‘real world’ experiences. The inner city precinct Central Park helps young people switch to offline with their physical hangout spaces surrounded by mirrored light wells and tactile green life walls. This shopping destination also strikes a chord with young consumers by supporting up and coming artists in galleries.

The Swisse Colour Run is another experiential example that young people talked positively about. The event which involves runners being pelted by coloured powders, not only addresses the e-tox challenge, but also sparks greater wellbeing as an outlet for fun, release and face-to-face connection.  Although social media (including runner selfies snapped and shared) is observed to extend the impact of the campaign, this appears to be just one part of the marketing strategy.

Lastly, there is the opportunity for brands to demonstrate commitment to real social change. American Apparel and Cotton On earn love through their support of social campaigns and charities. In the latter’s case, young people told us that staff can talk knowledgably about the Cotton On Foundation’s efforts in Africa and some have even donated salaries and volunteered, thereby enhancing the clothing label’s social cred.

In sum, requesting #SelfiePhotosWithYourBrand are great but they’re just one marketing tactic and let’s face it, they’re a pretty superficial way of connecting.  We need to tap into the insights hidden much deeper beneath the surface to truly engage with 18-24 year olds.

NOTE: This post was originally published in the December 2014 edition of Research News

The films I saw at the movies in 2014 and how I rated them…

January 13, 2015

So the Golden Globes are all over and the Oscars nominations are now just around the corner so what better time than to give a rundown of the movies I was last year. There 39 this year, that is 1 up on last year.

Listed in chronological order of having been watched, and scored out of 5 where 5 is the highest score…

  1. August: Osage County = 5
  2. Philomena = 4
  3. The Book Thief = 3
  4. Saving Mr Banks = 5
  5. Twenty Feet From Stardom = 5
  6. Last Train to Lisbon = 2
  7. Her = 5
  8. 12 years a slave = 4
  9. Wolf of Wall Street = 4
  10. Dallas Buyers Club = 4 1/2
  11. Grand Budapest Hotel = 4
  12. Other Woman = 3 1/2
  13. Fading Gigolo = 3
  14. The Finishers = 4
  15. Belle = 3
  16. Bad Neighbors = 2
  17. Chef = 4
  18. Godzilla = 4
  19. The Edge of Tomorrow = 4
  20. Maleficent = 3 1/2
  21. Under the Skin = 3
  22. Grace of Monaco = 2 1/2
  23. Broken Circle Breakdown = 5
  24. The Two Faces of January = 3 1/2
  25. 22 Jump Street = 3 1/2
  26. Dawn of Planet of The Apes = 4 1/2
  27. A Most Wanted Man = 4 1/2
  28. Lucy = 4
  29. Calvary = 4
  30. The Keeper of Lost Causes = 4
  31. Begin Again = 5
  32. Equaliser = 4
  33. Gone Girl = 4
  34. Boyhood = 4 1/2
  35. Skeleton Twins = 5
  36. Pride = 3 1/2
  37. Interstellar = 4
  38. Whiplash = 5
  39. Hunger Games: Mockingjay = 3 1/2

I did a Super Mario impression all for a good cause

December 1, 2014

Movember14I did it, I let the Mo grow for the 30 days of Movember and yes I am clean shaven now for those of you that were keen to see the back of my tash.

I have always wanted to grow a beard, but alas don’t have the required hair follicles so I have not been able to take advantage of the still current fashion for facial hair, so Movember if the closes I get…

Movember is a great way to grow a moustache while growing funds for charity and you get to do it every year. It raises both funds and awareness for men’s health.  

Mine was one of  millions of moustaches around the world that were used to scare small children and reminding us that porn stars of the 1970’s were real men with real hair (unlike the shaved and waxed all over men of porn today, allegedly, I never watch the stuff).

I took part together with a couple of work mates to form The Jigsaw Crumb Catchers team and it is not too late to sponsor us, you can do so here.

And to all those that have already sponsored me a very big THANK YOU

Today is World Toilet Day…

November 19, 2014

Toilet_SignDid you know 19th of November is World Toilet Day, and no I am not joking, but trust me there is a serious message behind this auspicious day. World Toilet Day is a day to take action. It is a day to raise awareness about all people who do not have access to a toilet and hence this blog post from me.

Of the world’s seven billion people, 2.5 billion people do not have access to a clean and safe toilet (that is about 37% of the world’s population). 1 billion people still defecate in the open. Women and girls risk rape and abuse because they have no toilet that offers privacy. Did you know more people in the world have a mobile phone than have access to a clean and safe toilet?

This year UN Water have taken up the theme of ‘Equality and Dignity’, and have a campaign that is seeking to inspire action to end open defecation and put spotlight on how access to improved sanitation leads to a reduction in assault and violence on women and girls. See a bit more about it here.

Water.org also campaign on this issue and many others related to the effect of not having access to clean water throughout the year, their website is well worth a visit.

It was Jim Sim (aka “Mr. Toilet”), who founded the World Toilet Organization and the annual World Toilet Day back in 2001. He was named a TIME Hero of the Environment in 2008, and alas he died in 2009. He was described as “frank and entertaining” when it came to discussing the need for better sanitation. As he once said “No invention has saved more lives than a toilet. More than 80% of sewage in developing countries is discharged untreated, polluting rivers, lakes and coastal areas”, think about this next time you sit on a loo….

Sexy men in shorts, what is not to like…

August 26, 2014

Bingham Positive RGBI have always liked rugby over football (or soccer as they call it here in Australia) and so naturally I have got myself some tickets to go and see the finals of The Bingham Cup that is currently underway in Sydney.  For those of you that don’t know The Bingham Cup, or as it is officially called the Mark Kendall Bingham Memorial Tournament is a biennial international, non-professional, gay rugby union tournament. Yes gay men really do play rugby, but don’t take my word for it just ask Gareth Thomas, who was until 2011 the most capped Welsh rugby union player, with 100 test match appearances until. After an informal invitational tournament, held in May 2001 the International Gay Rugby Association and Board (IGRAB), came together with the objective of forming an informal invitational tournament which would be an international rugby union competition, or as it has become known the “gay rugby union world cup”.  The tournament itself came to be named after Mark Bingham, a former University rugby star who had played in the May 2001 tournament for San Francisco Fog RFC and was also a cofounder of the Gotham Knights RFC. Mark Bingham died in the September 11, 2001 attacks on board United Airlines Flight 93. He is generally accepted to be one of a group of passengers (along with Todd Beamer, Tom Burnett and Jeremy Glick) who fought with the hijackers, which eventuated in the crashing of the plane into an empty filed instead of an assumed target in Washington. Mark Bingham was just 31 when he died in 2001, and the Bingham Cup was established the next year in honour of Mark’s courage, strength and love for rugby union. Back in 2002 eight teams competed in San Francisco, and attracted sponsorship from Nike and Guinness, this year in Sydney over 25 will compete and there are an abundance of sponsors, namely Telstra, Commonwealth Bank, AussieBum, Cannon and Lend Lease and is supported by representatives from across sports, such as Wallabies Dave Pocock and Adam Ashley-Cooper, South Sydney’s Greg Inglis and Australian women’s cricketer Alex Blackwell. This years’ tournament is the seventh in the history of the cup, and I will of course be cheering for the Sydney Convicts. For more information and of course to buy yourself some tickets visit the official website: http://binghamcup.com/

Sober for a month and all for a good cause

June 12, 2014

I have decided tdj-logoo participate in Dry July again this year. No this is not as a consequence of all the alcohol I might be drinking over the next few days in celebration of my birthday (well maybe in a small way it is), it is far more meaningful than that, last year I lost 4k over the 4 weeks!

For those of you not in the know Dry July is an organisation that aims to improve the lives of adults living with cancer through an online social community of likeminded individuals giving up booze for the month of July (and raising money as they do it). So for the 31 days of July, I am hoping to raise funds while abstaining.

I have again chosen The Chris O’Brien Lifehouse at RPA as my chosen beneficiary for all the money I raise. Professor Chris O’Brien was an incredible man who had tremendous vision and courage.  He was inspirational in both the work he did as a cancer specialist and through his own three year battle with an aggressive brain tumour, a battle that he sadly lost in 2009.

Chris’s vision was for an integrated cancer treatment center so that patients would no longer have to navigate their way through all the different elements of dealing with their illness alone. His vision was realised with the completion of The Chris O’Brien Lifehouse at RPA back in 2013, more of which you can read about here: http://www.lifehouserpa.org.au/The_Chris_O_Brien_Lifehouse_at_RPA.aspx

If you would like to sponsor me you can do so here or you could always take part yourself 😉

Do you love Sex…..

February 19, 2014

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Love Sex Durex… now that is a tag line I like. Durex are sponsoring the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras this year and are embracing the promotion of same-sex relationships as part of the initiative.  They are not the only sponsors this year, other sponsors are ANZ (principle sponsor), SBS2 and 2day FM who are the broadcast partners and Fitness First, Air Asia, Google, Gaydar, Finlandia (it’s a vodka), as well as NSW NOW, Destination NSW, City of Sydney as strategic partners.

Not all partners are launching campaigns to tie in with their sponsorship, but Durex have taken the opportunity to do just that with their Durex Love Same Sex. It is primarily a social media campaign, which aims to focus on and celebrate the years of “love and commitment of long-term same-sex relationships in Australia”.

The brand is encouraging people in Australia that are in same-sex relationships to celebrate the number of years they have been in a relationship, they do this by visiting the Durex Australia Facebook page and pledge their years of commitment. There is a year counter on the Facebook page that tallies the total years all participating couples have been together, so far it stands at 4,345 years.

The brand was also present at Fair Day this year where they set up a booth and got over 3,500 couples to pledge there years of commitment, one such couple was Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s sister Christine Forster and her partner Virginia Edwards who celebrated seven years together.

This is a great fit with the Mardi Gras event and nice to see them doing this, but as mentioned before this is not new, brands have been targeting the LGBT communities more and more over the past decade, and especially around events such as these, as written about here before.

Movember is surely the sexiest month of the year…

October 22, 2013

moJust 10 days to go before men all over the world let their facial hair grow for 30 hair-raising days and it is all for a very good cause, yes Movember is almost upon us. Mine will be one of  millions of moustaches around the world that will be scaring small children and reminding us that porn stars of the 1970’s were real men with real hair (unlike the shaved and waxed all over men of porn today, allegedly, I never watch the stuff), this picture is from my last effort.

But it is not all just for a spot of office ridicule, no the Mo has a job to do, those growing the Mo will also be raising vital funds and awareness for prostate and testicular cancer and mental health. In 2012, over 1.1 million Mo Bros and Mo Sistas around the world joined the movement, raising AUS $141.5 million. I have joined together with a few work mates to form The Jigsaw Crumb Catchers team and if you would like to sponsor us you can do so here:

http://au.movember.com/mospace/6764325

I have written about my love of facial hair and Movember before, but for those of you that don’t know, on the 1st of Movember we start off with a clean-shaven face start our Mo growing journey. Then for the entire month, we become walking, talking billboards for 30 days. Through our growing efforts we raise awareness for the often ignored issues of men’s health, by prompting conversations wherever we go, I will get strangers talking about it, trust me.

Movember’s not just for men. The women of Movember are known as Mo Sistas. They play a vital role in the success of Movember by supporting and encouraging the men in their life to get involved. Mo Sistas also get involved by signing up at Movember.com, and participate by raising funds and awareness themselves.

What do Greenpeace, Virgin Atlantic, Nestle, IKEA and Nike all have in common?

July 30, 2013

ImageWell in the past year they have all pushed the sustainability agenda in a variety of ways. The recent activity here in Australia by Greenpeace targeting Coca-Cola in its latest campaign put sustainability issues back on the radar; their ad was “a call-to-action for Australia’s” as they put it.

Any effort by a brand to promote sustainability or to be more sustainable should be applauded, but it does not always have to be so controversial, not saying we don’t like controversy mind you.

Earlier this year, Virgin Atlantic announced that fashion designer Vivienne Westwood would be the new mastermind behind their uniform makeover for staff across the airline’s entire fleet. And this initiative is not a flash in the pan one, it is a ten-year collaboration which focuses on sustainability, with uniforms manufactured from recycled materials, including polyester yarn made from plastic bottles, the uniforms will be rolled out by the end of 2013.

As a researcher I have done a lot of work on coffee brands (and I always need a good caffeine fix to get the day going), and so for me it is particularly good to see brands such as Nespresso pledging to buy more coffee from sustainable plantations and Nestle, the brand owner and leader in the single-serve coffee market, is bringing its sustainability program to Ethiopia and Kenya, forming an advisory board comprised of Fairtrade International and Rainforest Alliance members—and George Clooney (now that is something we would like to work on as researchers).

Nespresso has beaten its goal of sourcing 80% of its coffee through the company’s 10 year-old AAA sustainability program, so next time you pop a pod think of the good you are doing.

And as a keen shopper and fan of IKEA which is one of if not the largest global user of wood, consuming an estimated 1% of the world’s supply annually (according to the Daily Mail) to stock its 300 odd stores around the world, it is good to see they are doing something about it. In 2012, for example, IKEA started using corrugated cardboard pallets instead of wooden ones. But more importantly in its last annual Sustainability Report, Chief Sustainability Officer Steve Howard says the company has “a long-term sustainable supply of wood” and uses Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood that supports the improvement of forest management. According to Howard, “all our wood is sourced from suppliers that meet our forestry standards and in FY12, 22.6% of our wood was from forests certified by the FSC.”

Nike as part of its corporate responsibility has “a commitment to making a Better World” and as such is determined to produce more environmentally conscious, and sustainably innovative, products. And they are trying to get others to do the same, in order to do this they have released an app called “Making” which helps both designers and consumers decide what source materials are the most environmentally responsible. The app “ranks materials used in apparel manufacturing in terms of the use of water, types of chemistry, amount of energy and the levels of waste required during production,”.

As a researcher I love projects that help brands move forward on sustainability programs so these initiatives are great to see, but I wonder what more can be done to get the man on the street involved in these, so that they don’t remain just lofty ideas but result in real action.

This post was originally written for the Jigsaw Blog

Put down that drink and open your wallet….

June 19, 2013

dj-logoHaving just had a holiday on which a little too much alcohol may or may not have been consumed, I have decided to participate in Dry July. No this does not mean that I will go without bathing for the whole of July, it’s far more challenging than that, I am going to go without drinking alcohol for the month of July.

Dry July is an organisation that aims to improve the lives of adults living with cancer through an online social community of likeminded individuals giving up booze for the month of July (and raising money as they do it). So for the 31 days of July, yes count them 31 days, I am hoping to raise funds while abstaining.

I have chosen The Chris O’Brien Lifehouse at RPA as my chosen beneficiary for all the money I raise. Professor Chris O’Brien was an incredible man who had tremendous vision and courage.  He was inspirational in both the work he did as a cancer specialist and through his own three year battle with an aggressive brain tumour, alas he lost his battle against cancer in 2009.

Chris’s vision was for an integrated cancer treatment centre so that patients would no longer have to navigate their way through all the different elements of dealing with their illness alone. His vision will be realised with the completion of The Chris O’Brien Lifehouse at RPA in 2013, more of which you can read about here: http://www.lifehouserpa.org.au/The_Chris_O_Brien_Lifehouse_at_RPA.aspx

If you would like to sponsor me you can do so here: https://au.dryjuly.com/profile/colinmacarthur or you could always take part yourself 😉

Sustainable fishing and organic….

May 21, 2013

fish4ever-1354713337_600Some of you may recall a previous post of mine where I praised the local supermarkets for their claim that they would be sourcing fish on a sustainable basis. Well sad to say I still struggle to see such products in Woolworths or Coles, however Harris Farm continue to do so and in fact have increased the choice of products on shelf.

The brand that I have been buying of late is Fish4Ever, I love the fact that this brand is proud to have the smallest boat in the global tuna industry, just think about what it means to say this…

It means they are not over fishing and are truly being more sustainable minded.

They promise the consumer that they have good sourcing practices, from the fishing itself all the way through to the people that produce it and the communities impacted. And not only that but it is all organic to boot, and organic foods are something we should all try to buy, something else that I have written about in the past.

Organic food is natural, not only that, it is more often than not of a higher quality because of the production and ingredient standards required. In addition to this it is free from artificial additives and colouring. Many of the enzymes, fillers and processes allowed for conventional products are not allowed in organic production. Oh and did you know organic food is GM free and does not use irradiation. And on top of that organic farming bans the use of antibiotics and the vast majority of pesticides, fungicides and other chemical treatments, which can sometimes end up as residues in the foods we eat.

Anyway, Fish4Ever have been delivering a sustainable business model since 2001. But it’s not just about the sea — it’s also about the people that do the fishing and their local communities. As they put it, “Traditional fishing communities are the guardians of the sea” and they live by this motto and take action as a brand by campaigning for better fishing, oh and they produce bloody nice food.

Did gay ad prompt Queensland Government to call an unnecessary inquiry?

April 17, 2013

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Does Queensland need tighter regulation of outdoor media? The industry stats would indicate that currently there is no evidence to suggest so. Last year there were 3,640 complaints submitted across all media to the Advertising Standards Board (ASB) of these only 5%, yes 5% related to outdoor advertising.

However, bowing to pressure from the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) the Queensland Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie has announced an inquiry that will examine if new laws and classifications are needed to crack down on sexually explicit material on billboards.

Some background to why the ACL has put the pressure on the Queensland Government, last year the Queensland Association of Healthy Communities launched the ‘Rip and Roll’ campaign (pictured) which featured a homosexual couple. This ad is about promoting safe sex, but the Australian Christian Lobby found it far to offensive and took action, they put pressure on Adshel (the company that carried the ads on their sites) to remove them, and unfortunately they did. They then had to make an embarrassing u-turn and reinstated them following a barrage of criticism for having done so.

What was refreshing was at the time, Goa Billboards refused to remove the messaging and instead countered the pressure they got from ACL with digital ads displaying the message “Our God loves everyone gay & straight”.

What is more the ASB later dismissed all complaints about the “sexual nature” of the campaign and found it did not break any advertising or marketing codes of ethics.

Clearly the ACL are not happy at the fact that they were so robustly defeated in their attempts at censorship, but alas they may have the last laugh. After receiving a petition from the ACL recently the Attorney-General said “It is difficult to avoid outdoor advertising in everyday life and such advertising can be seen by children, with no ability for parents to restrict access if it is inappropriate,” he went on to say “Whatever regulation is in place, we need a system that when complaints are made, adequate action is taken. I don’t think that is happening at the moment” this could almost be the ACL speaking.

Alina Bain, CEO of the Australian Association of National Advertisers, said there is no evidence that the current self-regulatory system is not working, and pointed out that “advertising works on a national level so to expect an advertiser to have one billboard for Queensland and another for the rest of the country is plainly absurd,” .

What is more the Outdoor Media Association (OMA) has also hit back at the Queensland Government’s probe into the regulation of outdoor advertising, branding it “redundant” and “absurd” and their chief executive, Charmaine Moldrich, questioned the need for the review saying “the facts speak for themselves. There were no nation-wide complaints, in the area of sex, sexuality and nudity upheld against OMA members in 2012.”

So why this inquiry? Where is the evidence that one is even needed? And is this ad featured here really so offensive in its own right to justify such an inquiry?