Festival Intelligence: Australasia steps up on the global stage | M&M Global

Festival Intelligence: Australasia steps up on the global stage

From the Great Barrier Reef to Sydney Opera House, Australia has much to offer. And then of course we can’t neglect the stunning landscapes of New Zealand which captivated Lord of the Rings movie fans around the world. But while both countries are very different advertising markets, the rest of the world could learn a thing or two about media creativity from its Antipodean counterparts.

It’s not just their passion for sport that unites these two countries, Australia and New Zealand share similar demographics in terms of age and gender. Yet with Australia’s population at approximately 24.7 million and New Zealand at 4.8 million, there are a number of key differences to consider based on their living habits, how they shop and how they view the world.

A booming ad market, Australian ad spend is projected to reach $16 billion this year, according to research from Zenith. By comparison, the New Zealand Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) posted advertising revenue for 2017 across all main media at NZ$2.561 billion ($1.698 billion).

Australasia, which for the purpose of this article we are classing as Australia and New Zealand, made a significant stamp on this year’s M&M Global Awards 2018 shortlist, representing 10% of the overall entries from across the globe. Of this, the food & beverage sector dominated (42%) followed by media, sports & entertainment (25%), FMCG and technology & telecoms (both 16.5%).

In fact, entries from Australia and New Zealand did not go unnoticed at the recent Festival of Media Global Awards 2018 either, taking home their fair share of Gold, Silver and Bronze awards gongs across the Effectiveness, Best Use of Content, Best Engagement Strategy and Impact Awards categories.

Speaking about his experience as a judge at this year’s Festival of Media Global Awards, Leonor Martinez, Head of Strategy & New Business at WILD FI, Uruguay / LatAm, comments: “Media is not only focused on results and cases should also focus on the insights and creativity of the story and join it with the media, but as a whole. Australia and New Zealand seem to have a beautiful way to work media.”

Back to this year’s M&M Global Awards, which celebrates media creativity on a global scale, advertisers’ continued flight to digital in Australia and New Zealand shines through. Of all the shortlisted entries from these markets, social media played an integral role in engaging with consumers, with a range of techniques from social video to the use of influencers and celebrities. Facebook and Instagram emerged as the most popular platforms for a variety of purposes to engage with consumers to create relevance and real-time interactions around their campaigns.

But more than this, perhaps the most notable learning from all entries is the unique and creative ways in which brands and agencies are navigating the use of media in a range of smart, simple and authentic ways to connect with their target audience at scale.

Imogen Hewitt, Group Managing Director for Havas Media Australia, says: “Great distances, small budgets and limited resources might not seem like drivers of creativity but I would argue that they are just that. As a judge at the Festival of Media Global this year in Rome the question was asked of me, more than once, “What’s going on in Australia and New Zealand that enables such a high number of winning campaigns to come from such a relatively small part of the world?”.

“It’s not “something in the water”. It’s small teams, working fast and together, out of the line of sight of corporate HQs and forced to deliver ideas on budgets that wouldn’t buy a round of late night pitch coffees in the larger advertising centres of the world. To break it down, circumstance and necessity have created inventiveness and that inventiveness can travel.”

Hewitt notes three key points of difference about Australia and New Zealand:

“1. Not every market is going to be able to fly under the radar of corporate HQ, but every market can argue for the benefits of a test mentality and measured risk. Permission to try things, permission to go against the norm, permission to experiment.

“2. I’m a realist and I know it’s unlikely (and kind of career suicide) to turn down a big budget. However pushing teams to think $0 can force lateral thinking and imagination that the security of a big budget rarely does. Australia and NZ are expensive and competitive media markets. Not many people and a high price to reach them means thinking earned first and that creates a very different kind of idea.

“3. Involve the right people at the same time, not loads of people in a protracted baton passing process. It is often said that agencies produce their best work in pitches. A small group of people, from different disciplines, working fast, with less distraction and more pressure than normal, get’s to better work. The kind of work where you’re not sure if it’s a creative agency, technology innovation, PR agency, social idea or the product of media imagination but you are sure that it’s interesting and you do wish you’d thought of it.”

Given its geographical location, it’s easy to consider Australasia in a world of its own. In reality, it’s a creative hotbed with an envious pool of creative talent. But more than that it’s a great source of inspiration for marketers in how to take a brand and business challenge and answer it in the most original, more often than not ingenious, brave and daring ways. It’s encouraging to see Australasia continuously stepping up and earning its position on the global stage.

We put the spotlight on two M&M Global Awards 2018 shortlisted entries coming from Australasia, which highlight this trend:


The Prison Rat That Stole No. 1 | Foxtel | Mindshare | Australia

Shortlisted for: Best Campaign led by Mobile, Best Campaign led by Technology, Media, Entertainment & Sports


Wentworth is an Australian TV series set in a female prison. Mindshare’s brief was to make Wentworth the No. 1 drama every week on the Foxtel TV network. This was more than a new season premiere. It was facing a fundamental shift in the way people watch TV. Weekly live audiences were in free-fall as on-demand growth soared. The binge was beating primetime and if it wanted to make Wentworth No. 1 it needed to create an entirely new reason to watch live.

It turns out that TV and prison have one thing in common: no one likes solitary. The show couldn’t afford to lose a single fan. Watching Wentworth demanded company, and the agency created a new character within the plot to act as fan’s viewing companion inside Wentworth. She was an anonymous ‘prison rat’ who could smuggle out secrets, prison gossip and exclusive content. She would become a conduit, confidant and co-conspirator for every scene – and you’d only get the goss if you watched live.

The media strategy was driven by two key considerations: where fans formed their social viewing groups and what could theoretically be smuggled into prison. Every episode would be won where the group decided what to watch: in messaging apps, feeds and forums far from traditional media. The only way the rat could join those conversations was through leveraging the existing cast, earning the fans’ trust and then ensuring every episode was a unique live experience.


Dundee: The Son of a Legend Returns Home | Tourism Australia | UM Worldwide | US

Shortlisted for: Best Campaign led by the Creative Idea, Best Communication Strategy, Best Integrated Campaign, Tourism, Travel & Leisure


While the world loves the idea of an Australian holiday (it ranks third in the world in desire), the ‘tyranny of distance’ means it struggles to convert that desire to visitation. With Europe and the Caribbean so close to the US, Tourism Australia’s traditional campaigns promoting its wine and beaches weren’t presenting a compelling enough argument for the extra 10 hours on a plane.

In 1986, Crocodile Dundee introduced Americans to the land down under. The iconic film put Australia on the map, and in fact it’s still the first association many Americans have when they think of Australia. The problem is that the world, and Australia, has evolved dramatically since then. Enter the latest Hollywood craze: Classic film reboots.

In January 2018, it announced the return of the beloved franchise with DUNDEE: THE SON OF A LEGEND RETURNS HOME. Presented as a buddy comedy in which Danny McBride (Brian Dundee) teams up with Chris Hemsworth (Wally Jr.) to save Mick ‘Crocodile’ Dundee from danger, the duo runs into a star-studded Australian cast along the way. UM kicked off an integrated tourism campaign unlike any other with teaser films and a promotional campaign encouraged fans to tune-in to see the “official movie trailer” during Super Bowl LII. However, on the world’s biggest stage, it revealed there was no movie: it was an elaborate tourism ad for Australia.

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