Useful Blog


Online life insurance company Beagle Street wants to make taking out life insurance a more positive experience, and while they’re at it, ensure customers’ important policy documents aren’t lost. Positive Prints is a limited edition art series by noted artists with a customer’s life insurance policy printed on the back. They’re designed to be hung in the home or given to a loved one so customers and their families can easily find their policies if they need them. Policies are also stored online for 24/7 access. We like the thinking and positivity.


Wow! Thank you to our clients and partners for helping us win three awards at the 2014 Newi Awards for Digital Creativity. The Newi Awards “showcase the best work in technology, advertising, design and communications”. We were absolutely stoked to win:

Clients and partners – thank you for helping us win the awards and earn the title of ‘Digital Agency of the Year’!

In 2013 we were finalists in AWARD, the highest honour in the Asia Pacific for advertising and design.

TD Bank turns ATMs into Automated Thanking Machines to create very special moments for customers across Canada. This film went viral faster than any other promotion in the history of banking, amassing over 6 million views in under a week.

#longstreetsmart is a campaign designed to help reduce street crime in Capetown, South Africa.

South Africa is well renowned for its appalling crime rates (50 murders and 178 rapes every day) but what is less known is  that Capetown has taken over from Johannesburg as the crime capital. The city’s Longstreet is famous for its vibrant nightlife but it is also gaining an unwanted reputation for the growing number of street crime incidents – and the people have had enough.

The Safety Lab, a social innovation test centre and ad agency Y&R Capetown created an innovative campaign to take back the street from the criminals.

Using the street’s myriad of CCTV cameras, operators were instructed to look out for crime incidents in real time. Footage and details of the incident were immediately sent to a team on the ground. That information was then projected onto a moving billboard which was moved to the exact location of the the crime incident.


People in the street could then see the incident taking place in the same place and time that they are in. They were now aware to look out for crime such as ATM scams.


‘The shoe scam’ was another crime incident that passers by now knew to look out for.

Twitter followers also had a place to share information and report incidents that they themselves came across.

It is early days for the #longstreetsmart campaign and it will be interesting to see the effect it has on the street crime. No doubt it has increased awareness of crime generally and people are more knowledgable of what to look out for. #longstreetsmart is already a great example of government agencies working together with creative thinkers to solve social issues.

CB2 operates 14 home décor stores with affordable modern furnishings for apartments, lofts and houses.

To broaden its fanbase, CB2 created the first ever apartment designed in real-time and entirely on Pinterest. The APT CB2 project was about crowdsourcing the design of a Manhattan apartment by partnering with five talented interior designers/active Pinterest users (‘pinfluencers’). Each designer was responsible for a room in the apartment and was given a day to pin items from the CB2 website to the campaign Pinterest board. Their followers and the broader Pinterest community contributed to the final room design by ‘liking’ their preferred pins.

CB2 was established by Crate and Barrel in the year 2000. The APT CB2 project is the cornerstone of CB2’s ‘Modern Together’ brand platform and is the first major brand advertising from the company. The campaign – which included no TV – was hosted on Pinterest and a microsite. As the project unfolded live, Pinterest was updated every 15 to 30 minutes with photos from the apartment. The microsite was updated every few minutes.

A social media campaign was not a directive. Social media was a result of the brief, which was to “design a campaign that is truly innovative, breakthrough, and engages both our current community as well as qualified prospective customers”.

The campaign was promoted through a YouTube trailer, which could be shared on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The microsite was built with HTML5 and integrated with the Pinterest API, and following the completion of the campaign, it showcased the design process from start to finish using time-lapse photography.

The campaign, which cost $US1 million to create and produce, attracted 160,000 unique user interactions and 663 million impressions in earned media reach. That’s $US6.25 per unique user interaction and $US0.001 per media impression.


Not a huge surprise, but a timely reminder. The Quartz Global Executive Study has found email newsletters are the preferred medium for business executives to receive industry-specific news, edging out industry news sites, general news sites, social media and industry events. 91% of the 940 top-tier executives surveyed share news they find valuable (most commonly via email). Mobile, of course, is the preferred device for reading news and email newsletters.

We regularly create digital marketing strategies, and as long as it’s the right fit and works strategically, email marketing finds itself in the mix more often than not. Email marketing can be very effective for customer acquisition – in some cases, nearly 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined. Social networks and social media absolutely have their place – they’ve had a critical role in several of our campaigns and strategies, and the point of this post isn’t to knock Facebook and Twitter. The point is that email marketing is an extremely effective channel when used the right way with the right data at the right stage of a customer’s journey.

If you’d like to explore how strategic, mobile-optimised email campaigns can help your business grow, please feel welcome to say hello.

I’m on a content marketing panel at ad:tech next week, and I thought it’d be useful to talk about what content marketing is, how long it’s been around and how it works.

the-furrowContent marketing is the creation and sharing of useful content to acquire customers. It can be media, a publication, a book, a case study, a how-to or an infographic. Any type of content that answers questions, solves problems or is useful for customers. While the end game is acquiring customers, content marketing is not focused on selling, but on communicating with customers and prospects.

The best return on investment from content marketing results from long-term plays, and this whole content marketing thing is nothing new – brands have been using content marketing strategies since the 1800s.

In 1895, agricultural machinery manufacturer John Deere launched ‘The Furrow‘, a magazine with information for farmers on how to become more profitable. It’s still in circulation today and reaches over 1.5 million readers in 40 countries. It’s revered by farmers and has earned a place on the table in farmsteads the world over.

michelin-guideIn 1900, tire manufacturer Michelin launched the Michelin Guide, a guide providing drivers with information on auto maintenance, accommodation, and other travel tips. Michelin gave away over 35,000 copies before beginning to sell the guide, which today defines the coveted ‘Michelin star’ hotel and restaurant ratings for excellence. Today, the series of over 25 titles highlights more than 45,000 establishments from New York to Paris to Hong Kong.

Content marketing by John Deere and Michelin has been building and developing relationships with customers and prospects for over 100 years. These brands have achieved strong relationships and return on investment through useful content and a long-term strategy.

Content marketing has been going on for a long time, it just hasn’t been called ‘content marketing’. The strategy at it’s simplest is ‘be really useful to customers’. The recent explosion in content marketing is likely a result of content creation becoming cheaper (well, perceivably cheaper). Anyone can self-publish a book or magazine and print it on demand. eBooks can be created in a day. Anyone can make a film with an iPhone.

The technology is easy. The challenge still is, and always will be, creating a powerful brand story and developing useful content that resonates with people enough for them to pay attention, and ultimately buy.

Recent examples of successful content marketing leading to purchase are American Express OPEN Forum and Foot Locker’s Sneakerpedia.

Launched in 2007, OPEN Forum is a small business advice-sharing platform. This award-winning content marketing initiative from American Express led to the Small Business Saturday movement in the US, which became an “official day” in 2010 and is endorsed by Obama and public officials in all 50 states. A movement and official day that will be forever owned by American Express. 85% of OPEN Forum traffic is from non-paid sources.

Launched in 2011, Sneakerpedia is a community–driven sneaker resource powered by Foot Locker. During the beta alone, Sneakerpedia reached more than 6.7 million sneaker lovers online and delivered more than $1 million in free media exposure.

Be really useful first and sell second. The theory is permission, not interruption. I’ll be talking about these content marketing strategies and others at ad:tech. Feel welcome to say hello.

Sneakerpedia’s launch video is below.


Recently while discussing a new website at the Village, the topic of eye tracking came up.

“It wasn’t uncommon for my clientd in the UK to drop $xx on eye tracking studies before we began the build.”

“It’s just not anywhere near as popular here as in the US and the UK.”

“Yes, it feels like we’re behind when it comes to seeing the value in eye tracking.”

“Yeah. Eye tracking. Yeah.”

That last comment was me. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I had never heard of eye tracking. And clearly if I, someone working in the industry, doesn’t know what it is, it is little wonder this useful tool is under utilised by marketing campaigns in Australia.


So after some vigorous Googling I’ve come up with some key facts about eye tracking

  • Eye tracking is basically the measurement of eye activity. It includes what people look at, how long they spend on different elements and in what order. Eye tracking provides accurate, measurable data, which can be used to research behaviour and improve user experience.
  • Eye tracking involves not just where we look, but also what we ignore. Research has shown that we are so used to viewing advertisements on the web, that we ignore anything that looks like an ad (even if it isn’t). This is called Banner Blindness.
  • We generally view web pages in two horizontal stripes (left to right), followed by a vertical stripe down the left side. This is called an F-Pattern and dominates most web design.
  • This technology is not just for market research or user experience testing. Eye tracking technology is changing lives. Leading eye tracking company Tobii Technology has been creating tools to help the lives of people with conditions such as autism and cerebral palsy to communicate effectively for almost a decade.

It’s a fast growing industry where exciting developments are being made.  This technology can help advertising campaigns become more useful by getting immediate, accurate, subconscious feedback. It’s an amazing tool with endless possibilities and I’m kicking myself for not knowing about it sooner.

Canadian airline WestJet performed a Christmas miracle for 250 passengers and captured it on film to create a heartwarming communications piece.

WestJet setup a live Santa Cam where guests could scan their boarding pass and tell Santa what they wanted for Christmas. This alone was a special gesture with Santa engaging the children by name, much to their delight! Meanwhile employees frantically purchased and wrapped each wish list item and surprised travellers with gifts when their flight landed a couple of hours later.

Within four days the video has amassed over 9.5 million views on Youtube.

It is a relatively inexpensive way to effectively share a story about brand positioning and values. The film uses emotional storytelling, but keeps it positive throughout, to build goodwill and warm-and-fuzzies. WestJet establishes themselves as the friendly (and fun!) airline where their internal culture is boosted by the fact that over 80% of all employees are also company owners.

WestJet is often cited as one of the best companies to work for in Canada and the positivity of their team shines through in this film where employees are able to spread some Christmas joy.

In last year’s ‘Digital disruption‘ whitepaper Deloitte pegged the Australian retail industry with the shortest fuse and second biggest bang. That is, of the 18 industries studied, the Australian retail industry will be disrupted first and with the second-largest impact. Sounds fair to us. By “disrupted” Deloitte means “impacted by digital innovation”. Digital innovation includes things like eCommerce, networks, devices and the capabilities they unleash. There’s no doubt we’re headed for an enormous retail shake-up. With shake-up comes opportunity.

IBM’s recent ‘Reinventing Australian enterprises for the digital economy‘ report carries a similar sentiment. Significant gaps will open up between enterprises that proactively transform operations for the digital age and those that continue with business as usual. The important milestones for achieving retail leadership status are transitioning to omni-channel retailing and establishing a “customer-centric” business.

US retailers Nordstrom, Apple and Macy’s are omni-channel leaders across the ditch. We’re on the path to helping some clients make the transition but we’re certainly not there yet. We don’t exactly call it “omni-channel” and “customer-centric” but we’re working towards the same objective of usefulness, everywhere.

While this is the most buzzword-laden post you’ve seen here there’s an important point behind the superlatives. Here’s the point in simple terms: retailers will thrive if they bring their bricks and mortar and digital environments closer together and design the entire experience to be really useful to customers at every stage of the buying journey.

Sounds easy. It’s not. This is a new journey beyond typical marketing, technology and retail initiatives – it’s what brings everything together, seamlessly. The effort’s worth it. Analysing the potential gaps in retail between digital leaders and industry followers to 2025 IBM determined the following. Retailers, it’s time to get moving.