• 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
  • A day with Ritson

    Jul 17, 2012 | Written by

    I recently attended a workshop with the marketing guru Mark Ritson. For those who haven't heard of Ritson nor read any of his many articles, I suggest you do so, quick smart, see his website here or follow him on Twitter. Ritson is a self confessed brand expert – or in his words "I know a fuck load about branding and that’s about it." He has an intimidating amount of knowledge about branding and brand management which was really motivating throughout the whole day.

    Ritson explains that brands "are like humans; they are born, some die and some live on forever." It's so important when managing a brand to go back to the brand DNA and heritage to base advertising strategy and communication. He got me thinking, there are so many brands who try too hard to be someone or something they are not. They're not Real. They are caught up in the success or expansion of a brand and sway away from the REAL character of the brand.

    Heineken have punched out yet another great TV ad in a series which in my mind says it all for their brand "open your world".

    And a classic ad from James Boag’s "from the pure waters of Tasmania".

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    17.07 2012
  • SXSW Part 2: Skynet is coming.

    Mar 21, 2012 | Written by Stephen Lay

    Day 3 started off with us waiting forever and a day for the shuttle to pick us up from the hotel.  The biggest issue with SXSW is traveling around town.  Austin is a relatively small city that does not have an elaborate rail network, buses or many taxis.  The shuttle service from the hotels to downtown is what most in town for SXSW use.  However, with the large amount of attendees, the traffic congestions and poor management, waiting for the shuttle can creep up to 2 hours.  

    Upon finally arriving at the Austin Convention Centre, Joey and I went our separate ways.  I went over to the Hilton to check out Interactive Arts in Japan, which was a showcase hosted by the Creative Director of Dentsu to show interactive artwork done in Japan and how these artists collaborate with agencies to create digital experiences.  

    Only in Japan. A Skype doll.

    Joey and I both then attended a session on Avoiding Bullshit Personas.  This session was a case study on how lynda.com defined their users and the do's and don'ts of good personas.

    The keynote of the day was from visionary Ray Kurzweil and TIME magazine writer Lev Grossman.  In a QA type environoment they had a conversation about what the future lies, and if you have ever watched Terminator, it will happen, computers will be come self aware in our lifetime.

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    21.03 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
  • Mobile Marketer Workshop @ #omxmel11

    Nov 16, 2011 | Written by Stephen Lay

    The Online Marketer Conference & Expo was on at the Hliton on the Park this week, which Joey & I attended the first day and Amy & James attending the other.  

    The Opening Keynote was by Stefan Weitz of Bing.  He spoke about the lack of evolution in search engines, and how Bing is trying to redefine how search engines work.  Search engines currently act as a "search & find", but Bing is trying to move to a "search & do" mentality.  They believe that certain tasks should be able to be completed within the search results, rather than having users find a result, click to the site, and then try and find the information they are searching on another site.  Their goal is to complete tasks as efficiently as possible.

    We then split into our streams, in which I attended the Mobile Marketing Workshop.  The lineup consisted of speakers from MobileNation, Reseo, 4th Screen Advertising, The Long Weekend, Burst SMS and Mobile Marketing Experts, presenting on topics that included Mobile Site Architecture, App Store SEO, Mobile Advertising, Web vs Native Apps, SMS Marketing and Mobile Campaign Planning.  

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    16.11 2011
  • Circus Festival

    Feb 26, 2011 | Written by Amy Stephens

    Last week Simon, Joey and I (Amy) attended the Circus Festival of Commercial Creativity in Sydney.

    To say the quality of speakers was good is a gross understatement. The fact that the Regional Head of Creative Strategy at Weiden+Kennedy, Chairman of BBH Asia, Marketing Director for Google Asia Pacific & Japan and the most awarded creative of all time (not exaggerating - he's won 71 Lions) were all in the same space, as well as others, was simply overwhelming.

    Even after a 4:20am wake up call and the early morning flight up to Sydney from Melbourne, my concentration did not fade. I was glued to the stage for each and every one of the 9 speakers. All had different topics, themes and opinions, but all were discussing issues, trends and work which is important and relatable to everything I, and if you're reading this, you, do.

    One of the most impressive was Rob Campbell - Head of Strategy at Weiden+Kennedy. For those of you who may know of him, I'm sure that is no surprise. In between slagging off Qantas - "If Qantas is the spirit of Australia, then we're fucked" (true) and the best 10 tips for life and creative success. His insightful presentation is up on his blog - I highly recommend you check it, and quick.

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    26.02 2011