Our Research Director, Mehdi Khallouk was invited to present a masterclass at Mumbrella360 this year, teaching the art of ethnographic investigation and sharing his top advice for frugal market researchers. A medley of marketers and advertisers, Mumbrella360 is the perfect place to stay up to date with everything happening in the industry. Below Mehdi shares in his own words, 5 things he took away from the conference.
Mumbrella 360 is Australia’s largest annual media and marketing conference and usually a good barometer of industry trends. Here are five things I observed at the 2019 iteration.
1. Australia punches above its weight in campaign effectiveness
WARC has crunched the numbers on their 2019 Effective 100 – their advertising effectiveness tracker – and Australia comes 3rd overall. In the world! Not bad! Examples of great campaigns this year include the ‘Inconvenience Stores’ campaign for Swann Insurance in Australia, the ‘Cheetos Museum’ in the USA and Aldi’s ‘Kevin the Carrot’ in the UK.
2. Mass campaigns are back
Last year’s conference was already heralding the return of mass marketing. This year, several brands spoke out about their increased spend in mass channels and a rebalancing away from digital. It’s still more of an overseas phenomenon but it’s coming to Australia. The move back to mass has been advocated in “How Brands Grow” by Byron Sharp for years but it’s only now really hot.
3. Investment in brand is finally picking up again
The last ten years in Australia have seen spend in brand – the long game – flounder and spend in sales activations – the short game – balloon. But predictably, loyalty has eroded and price sensitivity increased: marketing managers are starting to realise they have to invest in brand again if they want to grow. As usual, the push is led by the UK, where influential comms planners Peter Field and Les Binet have now advocated for brand for years in their book “The Long and the Short of It” – a highly recommended read.
4. We can all help repair trust in our democracy… even at a media and marketing conference
The most interesting presentation this year probably had nothing to do with marketing. In fact, it argued against marketing. Pr Marc Stears, Director of the Sydney Policy Lab at The University of Sydney, contended that the crux of our current democratic woes is that politics has moved away from building “I You” relationships to favour “I It” relationships. Basically, politicians have moved from building one-on-one rapport to thinking of voters in terms of systems: segments, needs, and motivations, communication strategy, process… The solution? Reduce barriers to joining political parties, get politicians to interact beyond their elite circles and lobby the media so they don’t report on politics as a technical horse race but as a warm endeavour. Look up Martin Buber, a philosopher for a full dive “I It” and “I You” relationships.
5. Research does increase advertising effectiveness – and so does bravery
Mark Ritson, the star commerce professor at Melbourne Uni, knows how to wake up an audience, toeing the difficult line between entertainment, academia, and business consulting. This year, he and his team of PhDs manually coded 50 years of Effie awards (the most prestigious advertising effectiveness awards) entries to scientifically uncover what makes advertising effective. And guess what? Research does increase advertising effectiveness. Ritson and his team proved that those entries that had a research component to it were significantly more likely to win than those that didn’t. And to show that research doesn’t necessarily kill creativity, he also showed that the braver a campaign is, the more effective it is too. Research and creativity can work in tandem.