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Technology Featured ANZ

Ex-Special Group Sharon Gray, Jesse McLallen launch new adtech platform The Spec Sheet

Australia – Former Executive Digital Producer Sharon Gray and former Senior Digital Creative Jesse McLallen of independent creative group Special Group in Australia have launched a new innovative tech platform called The Spec Sheet.

The Spec Sheet is a centralized online hub for managing and sharing real-time ad specs between media owners, media agencies, and creative agencies. It aims to do all the heavy lifting involved in campaign delivery requirements, such as sourcing, organizing, and managing ad specs across all channels. 

Moreover, the SaaS platform eliminates double handling for media agencies, while simultaneously allowing media owners to stay closely connected to their ad specs. It also stands as a solution to the all-too-common spec-related inconsistencies, delays, and errors across the industry and the knock-on effects for creative production teams and clients.

Gray believes that the platform will bring order and consistency to ad specs via its centralized database. 

“It allows users to access up-to-date ad specs all in one place and to simplify and automate building spec sheets for campaigns. No more incorrect spreadsheets, no more out-of-date spec PDFs. No more spec mistakes,” said Gray. 

Meanwhile, McLallen said, “The development of The Spec Sheet was born from real problems, real experiences, and it’s a real solution that combats the often-over-complicated world of ad specs.”

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Technology Featured ANZ

Swinburne University of Technology joins tech talent initiative Digital Employment Forum

Australia – With the aim to solve Australia’s tech talent crisis, Swinburne University of Technology has joined the Digital Employment Forum, an initiative by Tech Council of Australia (TCA) and Digital Skills Organization (DSO), to be its new founding employment and training partner.

The partnership will see Digital Employment Forum bringing together major tech employers and educators to transform the country’s approach to attracting and training tech workers.

As part of the initiative, Swinburne will be joining other industry partners, organizations, and educational institutions.

Swinburne’s vice-chancellor and president, Pascale Quester, shared that it has been well established that emerging technologies are essential for tackling Australia’s critical challenges.

“The TCA has set an ambitious goal to reach one million tech jobs by 2025. While it is an ambitious goal, it is also an achievable one that Swinburne believes in. As a university of technology, we are well-positioned to help Australia overcome the tech talent crisis,” said Quester.

As the founding partner, Quester will be advising and leading to help address Australia’s technology opportunities. He will be working as a member of the Digital Employment Forum to produce an innovative, data-driven research program that defines tech employment needs, develop a cross-economy digital employment workforce strategy, and produce the best tech graduates for the new tech workforce, as well as support opportunities for students through work-integrated learning and employment programs.

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SME Featured ANZ

Digital agency GHO Sydney ties with mid-tier professional services for wide service offering for Aussie start-ups

Australia – In a bid to fill the gap in the market for a more complete service, brand experience agency GHO Sydney has joined a partnership with mid-scale business planning and financial advisory, PKF Sydney/Newcastle, to provide Australian start-ups uniquely designed programs in the areas of both business and creatives. 

The new alliance aims to help new businesses avoid conflicting advice or the steep cost of working with multiple partners. As part of the partnership, PKF and GHO Sydney will be offering start-ups with proven processes and the balance of advice and experience, to enable them to access diverse talent across business, finance, creative, and product, as well as marketing through either a full sweat-equity or part cash/part equity deal. 

James Legge, GHO Sydney’s strategy partner, shared that they have known there is an opportunity to change the model for supporting start-ups and to help them scale rapidly and with a clear purpose.

“By developing our design thinking offering and service-for-equity commercial models, together with PKF, we’re in a position to help deliver a clearer path to profit and growth,” said Legge.

Steve Meyn, PKF Sydney/Newcastle’s managing director, shared, “With existing clients like Grub Lab and AirCamp, PKF has been supporting start-ups for some time, but together with GHO, this new venture enables us to provide a more holistic offering and reduce the risk for the start-ups we back as they go to market and scale.”

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Marketing Featured ANZ

dentsu Media ANZ’s ‘Basecamp’ to encourage potential ad talents to join network

Sydney, Australia – As part of the company’s stride to check out potential talents for the advertising and marketing industry, dentsu Media in ANZ has announced the launch of its learning and development program ‘Basecamp’ catered to interest high school students and university graduates. 

The program invites interested students to potentially learn and develop their advertising and marketing skills in order to score a position at any of dentsu’s multiple agencies.

Applications have opened with pre-screening until early December before assessment day mid-December and offers are given before Christmas. The program will then commence in February 2022.

Those joining the program will experience an interactive and immersive environment through four intensive learning sprints in strategy, digital, tech and data, and trading. The conclusion of the six-month program will give participants a chance to nab an executive role at one of dentsu’s media brands, namely Carat, iProspect, Dentsu X, or The Story Lab.

Sue Squillace, CEO of dentsu Media ANZ, the one who announced the project, said that the program is their stance of needing to act now in order to attract more diverse, motivated, and curious people to their business and to build their talent pipeline for the future. She added that the ‘war on talent’ isn’t just an important issue for them as a business, but also vital to the future of the industry.

Sue added, “Our commitment is simply to offer the next generation of talent the opportunity to experience dentsu in an environment that gives exposure to the best on-the-job training and the unrivaled knowledge and mentorship of our leaders. And better yet, we want to make it real; with participants landing a permanent role within our business.”

A dedicated group of dentsu leaders has been set up to build a rounded development program in partnership with L&D, People Team, and Agency Leadership. This will leverage media knowledge, publisher partnerships, and MFA for content development. 

All participants will have an executive mentor and a peer-level coach to guide them through the experience. They will also have extra support from the managing directors and general managers from each of the state offices, together with Amplifi, dentsu’s media innovation and investment arm, and training leads from Media Opps, a local media consultancy.

Lauren Small, managing director at Carat Sydney, said, “We’re thrilled to launch dentsu media Australia’s first early careers program; Basecamp, not only will it demonstrate the importance of investing in our future with diverse and fresh talent, but will also provide growth opportunities for new people managers within the business to develop and grow their leadership skills. Our graduates will not be defined by the qualification they hold, or education level they attain, but rather by their curiosity and a growth mindset.”

Meanwhile, Marcelle Gomez, general manager at iProspect NSW, added, “The shortage of talent in our industry is a test for us all. At dentsu, we have turned this challenge into an opportunity that will further differentiate our brands in the market. In a business that is built on and around our people, Basecamp confirms the commitment to our people, our willingness to invest in their future and equip them for successful careers with the company. We can’t wait to get started and help accelerate the learning of this future talent.”

Interested applicants for the program may apply for the respective websites for Sydney and Melbourne participants.

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Marketing Featured ANZ

Foxtel rebrands loyalty program, partners with Live Nation Australia

Australia – Foxtel, Australia’s subscription TV company, has rebranded its loyalty program Foxtel First, to be now called Foxtel Reward.

Following this endeavor, the company has also partnered with live entertainment company, Live Nation Australia, to bring Foxtel Rewards members unmissable live music events.

Through the partnership, Foxtel Rewards will be rolling out entertainment experiences across the most anticipated Live Nation Australia tours. It will also enable members to experience VIP benefits, such as meet and greets with the stars, invitations to exclusive pre-show parties, and reserved ticket allocations.

Moreover, members will be able to enjoy a slate of huge local and global talent in the upcoming Live Nation tours, including Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa, Tim Minchin, and Alanis Morissette, as well as Backstreet Boys, and Rod Stewart, among others.

Greg Segal, Live Nation’s president of brand partnerships for Australia, commented, “We are looking forward to bringing Foxtel Rewards members deeper connections to their favorite artists and the music they love. We know the Foxtel Rewards program will make these experiences even more memorable for members.”

Foxtel Rewards will also bring an enhanced sport offering to their members with action-packed live sporting events, allowing them to meet sporting heroes and score tickets as part of regular giveaways. 

The program will deliver access to all areas to some of the biggest cricketing matches across the summer months including The Ashes, One Day International, T20 World Cup, and the Big Bash League, as well as NRL, and AFL, Supercars events across 2022. 

Lisa Cronin, Foxtel’s director of customer marketing and loyalty, said, “At a time where live experiences are more valued and sought after than ever before, we’re thrilled to be partnering with Live Nation Australia and rounding out our strong loyalty offering with the most exclusive money can’t buy experiences for our customers.”

Furthermore, the new rewards program will enable members to get their hands on premium movie tickets, bonus and exclusive content, and behind-the-scenes previews of their favorite shows, as well as attend VIP events.

Foxtel Rewards is free for all Foxtel residential customers with a set-top box only, which excludes Foxtel from Telstra customers.

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Platforms Featured ANZ

Finder ANZ elevates Taylor Blackburn to head of PR role

Sydney, Australia – Global comparison platform Finder in Australia has promoted Taylor Blackburn, former head of media relations for ANZ, as its new head of public relations for ANZ. 

Prior to joining Finder in September 2018, he has previously worked as the account director of communications agencies Haystac and Howorth, and the account supervisor of creative network Ogilvy Health. 

The elevation of Blackburn comes after the stepping down of Adam Freedman, who will be pursuing a different path. 

Commenting on his promotion, Blackburn said, “It’s a thrill to be leading such a great team of professionals, but even more rewarding because of what we do. I joined a really strong crew at Finder in 2018 and it’s my privilege to enable them to go even further as a team.”

Chris Ellis, Finder’s CEO for Australia, shared that Blackburn has powered an incredibly strong media relations team at Finder and demonstrated his deep understanding of the role communications plays in their business – from idea creation to media spokesperson.

“For us at Finder, our customers, partners and crew are at the heart of everything we do. As a passionate and popular leader, Taylor’s unique skill set and experience will be vital to this role, and we’re excited to see him lead our communications function into the future,” said Ellis.

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Marketing Featured ANZ

Publicis Worldwide bags AU swimming authority’s integrated media business

Australia – Swimming Australia, the governing body for swimming in Australia, has appointed Publicis Groupe’s global creative network Publicis Worldwide, as its new full-service agency partner.

As part of the mandate, Publicis Worldwide will be overseeing Swimming Australia’s marketing strategy, creative, media, and design, as well as social, and partnership development. 

Eugenie Buckley, Swimming Australia’s CEO, believes that they have created a strategy to expand from their platform engaging Australian swimmers and the sport’s wide fanbase.

“Publicis Worldwide has proven experience bringing together communications strategy, creativity, data, and technology to lead the change, and to shape the future of the sporting and entertainment experience in swimming,” said Buckley.

Meanwhile, Simone Waugh, Publicis Worldwide’s managing director, said, “Our expertise in building brands and now applying it to sports is timely for our agency – with the momentum and change evident as soon as the 2032 Olympic Bid was successful for Queensland.”

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Marketing Featured ANZ

NSW’s government launches campaign to address Aussies’ tendency ‘to get casual’ in speeding

Australia – As more and more speed driving cases occur in Australia, increasing risk for fatalities, the NSW Government has released a new campaign aimed at urging motorists to slow down and think about the dangers of going ‘just a bit’ over the speed limit.

The campaign, which was created in collaboration with creative agency BMF and full-service media agency UM, challenges various casual perceptions of low-level speeding to reset the attitudes and culture on NSW roads. 

Its three main objectives are to educate drivers and riders on the significant role speeding plays in fatalities and serious injuries on NSW roads, reset drivers’ attitudes to how they view their normalized ‘everyday speeding’ behavior, and highlight the unique risks of speed and its contribution to crash likelihood and severity. 

Titled ‘Casual Speeding. Every K Counts’, the spots are a confronting reminder that there’s nothing casual about any form of speeding and to reinforce the serious consequences these attitudes can bring.

Tara McCarthy, Transport’s deputy secretary for safety, environment, and regulation for NSW, said, “Every kilometer counts when it comes to speeding on our roads, a little bit over double your chance of crashing, and this campaign demonstrates how speeding can change your life and others’ lives forever.”

Meanwhile, Christina Aventi, BMF’s chief strategy officer, noted that by labeling a new type of speeding, the ad encourages motorists to take a moment to self-assess, recognize risk, and correct their low-level speeding. 

“We hope that the term ‘Casual Speeding’ provides a way for road users to talk about this dangerous behavior,” said Aventi.

Andy Clift, UM’s senior client director, said, “Our media strategy will shift the cultural perception of ‘speeding’ by defining and showcasing the impact of what a few kilometers over the speed limit can have.

The campaign was launched last 14 November 2021.It will be supported by OOH, and include a radio partnership and social media, to tap into diverse state-wide communities at the grassroots. 

The campaign will also be supported by a wide-ranging media strategy developed by UM to spark discussion.

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Marketing Featured ANZ

Design festival firm Semi Permanent launches creative services agency, SP Brand Studio

Australia – Semi Permanent, the creativity and design festival firm based in Australia, has officially launched today its creative services and experience design agency, SP Brand Studio.

SP Brand Studio aims to bring together innovative brands and creative audiences through the lens of contemporary culture, and physical and digital experience design.

The new creative agency will be offering services in strategy, creative, and curation, as well as omnichannel production. It will also be tapping its network of global talent to deliver first-to-market concepts and ideas for partners and owned IP, driving cultural connection, audience engagement, and relevance for modern brands in the luxury, lifestyle, design, and technology sectors.

Murray Bell, Semi Permanent’s founder and CEO, believes that after nearly 20 years of creating well-attended events across the globe as well as online, Semi Permanent is uniquely placed to share its success with the brand partners.

“We know that an experience has the profound ability to directly connect with and immerse an audience in a brand’s story, and never before has that level of cut-through been necessary for gaining a competitive advantage,” said Bell.

The founding clients of SP Brand Studio are KPMG, Microsoft, Heaps Normal, and Perion, as well as Sea Forest, who join ongoing retainer accounts Rare with Google and Highsnobiety.

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Marketing Featured ANZ

This Aussie retail group launches an NFT works-created Christmas tree, ‘NFTree’

Australia – Vicinity, the Australian retail property group, has launched a new sculptural Christmas tree called ‘NFT: Illuminated’, a one-of-a-kind installation developed using the works of Australian NFT creators.

The ‘NFT: Illuminated’, which was created in collaboration with creative agency Fabric, features the work of eight NFT creators, namely Aldous Massie, Bianca Beers, David Porte Beckefeld, James Jirat Patradoon, Jonathan Puc, and Lucius Ha, as well as Rel Pham, and Serwah Attafuah. 

Installed in Sydney’s The Galeries, the installation was constructed from glass, mirrors, and Perspex, which captures and accentuates the natural light that streams through The Galeries.

Moreover, the installation activates the newly developed creative platform ‘It’s An Art’ for The Galeries Artist in Residence program. It also builds on Vicinity’s Christmas campaign, ‘Where There is Light’, which was launched earlier this month.

Keenan Motto, Fabric’s creative partner, believes that their newly developed platform for The Galeries intends to position them as ‘the center loved for unconventional artistic exploration, with purpose’.

“NFT is an exciting new space to play in, and we are lucky to have a brave client in Vicinity who was willing to explore a more contemporized expression of the season which reimagines traditions for new audiences,” said Motto. 

Corrine Barchanowicz, Vicinity’s head of brand marketing and experience, shared that The Galeries has long been a destination for the contemporary and unique, and they wanted to extend that vision into Christmas by combining unique artwork with new technology.

“The new tree is distinctly The Galeries, introducing our customers to a new, cutting-edge experience never before seen in Australia,” said Barchanowicz.

Vicinity said that there will also be bespoke signage throughout The Galeries, which will direct shoppers towards the exhibition. It will also display the QR codes which connect to each creator’s profile on Foundation. Each artist will be profiled across The Galeries’ social media channels and website.

Visitors have the opportunity to explore ‘NFT: Illuminated’ and become NFT art collectors from 16 November 2021 to 5 January 2022.