another year and another gathering at Mumbrellaland (I still think they should call it that) for the annual 360 conference. I’ll sum up later but for now just capturing the notes and the content from the sessions I jumped into during day one.
up first was Simon McDowell of Coles, them of the down down, Status Quo, Dawn Frenchness and now biggest-boyband-in-the-world-ness.
Simon McDowell at Mumbrella 360, picture source: Mumbrella
McDowell discussed the approach to marketing at Coles, describing it as “a bit of a creative hot spot, a melting pot … we’ve got a thousand ideas a day and we’re going at this hard.” by this he means making life better for Aussie Families, a picked this up because he mentioned the phrase ‘Aussie Families’ about forty three times, that’s almost one a minute. this seems to mean (1) bringing prices down and (2) making ads for them, and not adland.
he repeated asked us not to “be fooled by the sizzle on the sausage … we’ve invested hundreds of millions of dollars in bringing prices down … It’s a fundamental part of what we’re about … But how do people know you’ve done it when sales [messages] are everywhere? … Is all just blah … Were really trying to be unique.”
Tom Donald asked about the negative response in the industry to some of the Coles ads. “Do I care what adland thinks? Not a bit. The Coles business is in a turnaround, we have more customers spending more money [with us] than ever before. Were trying to build the most famous and compelling brand in Australia.” (and, wait for it) “… we’re trying to create something that resonates with Aussie families”. cue One Direction …
on the more serious matter of supplier pressure, McDowell was firm but clearly less comfortable. asked if Coles was doing the right thing by farmers, he replied that “[all the] discounts are funded by Coles, the more milk we sell the better off farmers are. Prices are too high in Australia, we have to take care of Aussie families … at the end I’d the day we have to look after Aussie families where the cost of living is going up … we want to sell more. it’s a serious business looking after Aussie families and that’s what we’re about.”
just in case you’re not clear, its about Aussie families.
next up was Group M’s John Steedman in discussion with Nine’s CEO David Gyngell
picture source: Mumbrella
its been a big year for the network, and the discussion covered a range of subjects …
on positioning Nine and investment in drama: “You have to stand for something. your audience has to know what you stand for … we’ll keep investing in Australian drama, [it] delivers against an audience that will watch linear TV for a long time to come”
that investment is based on an optimism about the future, saying that we are “heading into a purple patch for Australian drama – expect production to double.”
on the evolution of media, and the sale of the magazine business to Bauer, Gyngell was clear, saying that newspapers and magazines “won’t be as profitable as they were. quality magazines won’t go anywhere. the magazine business will be smaller and more nimble. newspapers will go online – less profitable but just as relevant. the fin review may lose $10m a year but you couldn’t buy it for $100m because its relevant.”
as far as digitisation of Nine goes, when asked when will Nine become a digital first company, he answered when you can make more on digital than we can at the moment. “we’re still nimble enough to be able to move when we want to. we’re not a digital company, we’re a marketing and content creation and distribution company.”
on advice for Seven and Ten: “Tim knows what he’s doing, and has Stokes around him. Seven won’t break because Tim won’t let it. Hamish is an accomplished marketer. if he gets a good programme he’ll know what to do with it. they need to get lucky … keep your head down and pray for some luck.”
its fair to say that Steady gave him a pretty easy ride as interviews go … it was left to a delegate to bring up Tom Waterhouse and the recent over-stepping the mark on programme integration and live odds. to which he commented that Nine, and broadcasters per se, have “a moral compass to provide to the country, but we’re not in the businesses of telling people what they can and can’t do. Tom Waterhouse was a lightning rod. we have a government that reacts quickly to any negative press. his competitors had a go – when the mafia start saying how bad the triads are you know what’s going on. we pushed it too far – we know that. did we overstep the mark? perhaps at the start when Tom was with the commentators. we’ve pulled back from that now and its the right balance.”
after that went to a cracking session with Rob Pyne of X or Y Decisions, about why businesses, and marketing teams in particular, make bad decisions. great insights and advice based on understanding and mitigating biases we inherently have when we’re making decision.
then Coady and I presented to a judging panel for Network Agency of the Year (which we won – yey!) … after which I jumped into Tom Donald‘s brilliantly fun session on fads – of which I hope there will be a future download / follow-up. and that (PHD’s session on gamification and evening drinks aside) was day one. here’s a pic of the guys collecting that Network of the Year award. whoo hoo.