• Attending DMA – Part 1: 5 Key Trends

    Dec 20, 2012 | Written by Josh Collins

    At Fenton Stephens we have a strong interest in the latest trends in the international marketing world. What better place to go and learn about the latest than…Las Vegas. We were sent over to attend the DMA (Direct Marketing Association) conference, and while it was mandatory to enjoy the black jack tables, excessive amounts of beverages and fine cuisine of greasy Buffalo wings, we felt we had a large responsibility to come back and share findings from the conference with the rest of the agency.

    If you’re not at least familiar with what the industry leaders are doing and have no desire to change your approach, then I would suggest you get comfortable at the bottom while your competitors blow you out of the park, if in fact you remain in the game at all. More importantly, as ‘agencies’ for our clients, we have such a responsibility to continually introduce them to emerging trends and innovative ideas. The traditional approach is feeling pressure.

    While we learnt about many new and emerging practices, it was heartening that as an agency a lot of this was at least very familiar, if not already part of our approach.

    This article will be broken into and posted in two separate parts. Firstly we will discuss 5 key trends which seemed to be on everyone’s lips at the conference. The second part will be specifically what we think the Advertising Agency of the future could be.

    5 Big trends / talking points

    1. sCRM 

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    20.12 2012
  • ACCA

    Oct 28, 2012 | Written by Aaron Tyler


    Image: David Rosetzky
    Portrait of Cate Blanchett, 2008
    high definition digital video, 9:56 min choreography by Lucy Guerin,
    sound design and composition by J David Franzke

    OURSELVES- Australian Centre for Contemporary Art 11 October – 25 November

     The current exhibition at Acca is very good. It explores masks, avatars and identity. The works are video art from various different international artists.
    The poster work for the exhibition is a video portrait of Cate Blanchett captured by David Rosetzky and is a definite stand out.
    The exhibition pursues empathy, exchange and mirroring; it studies the existential 'us' present in 'them' who are reflected back to ourselves.
    Curator Juliana Engberg explains the exhibition ‘explores the way artists seek to understand, empathise with, mirror and interpret their own persona, or their individuals they portray’.
    I found the exhibition captivating and thought provoking. I also appreciated how Acca transformed the space, and the work viewing spaces.
    Give yourself an hour or two and go alone.

    Here is an excerpt of the Cate Blanchett work

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    28.10 2012
  • Significant Objects – The power of storytelling.

    Sep 12, 2012 | Written by

    Take an insignificant object, apply meaning and emotion, and then sell it for more than its tangible value. This is the essence of advertising, but it can be difficult to prove and even harder to replicate. The excellent project, Significant Objects have set out to make this link much clearer. 

    The idea is simple, purchase small, junk store ‘knick knacks’ for around a $1, give one to an author, and then ask them to write a short, fictional story about its past. The objects, along with tales of love about novelty cat mugs and legends about Russian dancers, are then sold on eBay and the power of storytelling is measured by its sale price.

    Despite telling buyers the stories were works of fiction, by the end of the first experiment authors had sold $128.74 worth of insignificant objects for a combined total of $3,612.51. The massive inflation can only be attributed to the emotional value the stories added to each object, proving the immense power of storytelling. What is less conclusive is how to replicate it.

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    12.09 2012
  • Melbourne Design Awards Finalists.

    Sep 03, 2012 | Written by Aaron Tyler

    Fenton Stephens are finalist for the Melbourne Design Awards for the ‘Protecting us All’ Poster campaign for the Equal Opportunities and Human Rights Commission.

    Featuring both local and international design activity, the awards represent the diversity of the design industry and recognize Melbourne as a global design city. We welcomed the invitation to enter this years advertising category.

    Human Rights were difficult to consolidate down into a simple piece of communication. It was observed that, though we cannot ‘see’ or ‘feel’ human rights, but they protect every Victorian equally. This led to the simple idea of transparent amour to symbolize the protection Human rights provide.

    Eleven different executions of the street posters were placed on walls, down alleyways and in underpasses to target at-risk Victorians, directing them to the microsite to discover exactly how their Human Rights were protected.

    As well as the panel of judges, all entries are open for the public to votefor each campaign. Please view and vote for the ‘Protecting us all’ campaign here:

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    03.09 2012
  • Book Review: Damn Good Advice (for people with talent) by George Lois

    Jun 28, 2012 | Written by Aaron Tyler

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    28.06 2012
  • SXSW Part 1. Queues, queues and more queues.

    Mar 14, 2012 | Written by Stephen Lay

    After the longest 5 hour flight in history, Joey and I arrived in Austin, Texas at approximately 5pm local time.  

    It was clear that Austin was buzzing with excitement. There was live music playing in the airport as part of the SXSW festivities, and the chatter amongst everyone revolved around the next 10 days.

    Our biggest shock happened the moment we stepped out of the airport. It was freezing. What made it worse was there was a 50m line for taxis.  

    Day 1 at SXSW started by being confronted with a line waiting for the registration booth to open. This line was literally wrapping its way around the building.  Once the doors opened and we got into the booth there was another line to get your badges, then a line to get your swags.

    Almost there...

    We checked out a session on what the sports fan will look like in 2015, got tips on how to design for CMS and saw an interview with Dennis Crowley (the co-founder on Foursquare) on making the real world easier to use.

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    14.03 2012
  • SXSW Preview

    Mar 09, 2012 | Written by Stephen Lay

    Joey and I are flying up to Austin, Texas today to attend the annual SXSW conference.  What was once a one of the largest music festivals in the world, it has since become an interactive festival that focuses on emerging technologies and a breeding ground for new ideas and creativity. 

    So who's involved in this year's SXSW festival. Plenty. 

    The focus this year seems to be on mobile, mobile wallet (NFC) and interestingly the future sports audience and over the last few days and nights, I've been feverishly trying to organise my conference schedule.  Who and what I'd like to see, and have come to the realisation that in every hour, I need to be in 4-5 places.  I think it may be a case of just going with the flow and try to get to as many interesting presentations as possible.  

    In addition, there has an influx of emails, facebook messages, invites and snail mail from SXSW and the 500+ Aussies that have signed up to attend this festival.  All uber geeky, all uber excited.

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    09.03 2012
  • Modern day protest

    Jan 17, 2012 | Written by fentonstephens


    At the end of each year TIME magazine lend their cover to a portrait of who they deem ‘Person of the year’. This year, unlike its predecessors (almost every serving U.S. President, The Planet Earth and last year – Mark Zuckerberg), it was not a photograph, but an illustration. A representation of not one person but a title.The Protester.


    This year, many parts of the world fell victim to unrest, destruction and an uprise of protest movements. TIME called it ‘The year people said ‘we’ve had enough’. From Occupy Wall Street (and its many offshoot locations) to civil war in Libya, the ‘disenfranchised youth’ in the London riots and the self-immolation of Tibetan monks. It seemed like it was everywhere. Because it was.

    In today’s highly connected digital landscape, you cannot escape the news. Unlike earlier times where the reporting of such events were researched and reported by on location Journalists holding Bachelor Degrees and what was published was highly regulated by Government – today’s events are reported by you, or me, or ‘them’.

    The way a protest is broadcast to the world has changed forever.

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    17.01 2012
  • New Coles ad keeping it REAL.

    Jan 11, 2012 | Written by Simon Antonis


    I could not help but be drawn into the debate about the merits of the new Coles ad, featuring Normie Rowe. The ad went to air on Sunday night, and within minutes negative sentiment toward the ad was trending on twitter. Not only negative, some tweets were downright nasty, “I am actually so ashamed to say I work at Coles due to this new ad”. And this; “Molly Meldrum asks to be put back into a coma after seeing Normie Rowe sing in Coles ad”.

    Of course everyone has their opinion, and social media gives everyone a chance to have theirs heard.

    For me, this is a continuation of great work by Coles and their agency where the objective of the creative is to best communicate a proposition - then execute a strategy (funny that!). You might call it responsible advertising. Or keeping it REAL.

    I have seen the new Coles ad once. I know it is about no-added hormones in their beef. Not a bad outcome with a frequency of 1.

    The question is; when I next need to buy meat for a BBQ, will it make me or my wife more comfortable/likely to buy our meat from Coles? For sure.

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    11.01 2012
  • Boys of Summer

    Dec 02, 2011 | Written by fentonstephens

    December 1 announced the arrival of summer and a new creative team at Fenton Stephens. Alex Little, copywriter, and Aaron Tyler, art director, teamed up at Award school and put a book together. The boys also showed great enthusiasm in response to a couple of briefs we sent their way, making the decision to hire them inevitable.

    Alex is an advertising graduate from RMIT, he’s a bit keen on tennis and speaks Spanish por favor. Meanwhile, Aaron studied Communication Design at Swinburne, he played 150 games for St Damians football club and is into quantum mechanics. So if Alex decides to talk Spanish and Aaron talks quantum physics we won’t understand what either of them are saying.

    We welcomed them aboard by throwing a barbie on the balcony and they showed themselves to be good sorts with impeccable manners by arriving with a home-made (so they claim) potato salad. Well done boys, your mothers should be proud of you, and we’re very glad to have you on the team. 

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    02.12 2011