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'Jesus phone' marks genesis of change

Neil Shoebridge (AFR) | Dec. 15, 2008
Apple's iPhone leads the list of top products for 2008, according to an Australian Financial Review survey.

Bill Obermeier, the former senior Telstra marketing executive who now runs Publicis Mojo's digital marketing business Myne, says: "Obama demonstrated for marketers everywhere the power of social networking and leveraging new media assets as part of an integrated marketing strategy."

Although Baz Luhrmann's movie Australia has fared badly in the United States, local marketers and media executives say its marketing campaign was one of the best of 2008.

(Mid-last week, Australia's worldwide box-office revenue was $US43 million, including $US33 million in the US. The movie cost $US130 million to make and distributor 20th Century Fox spent $US80 million marketing it).

Starcom MediaVest chief executive John Sintras says: "Australia has managed to weave itself into just about every other marketing campaign.

"If the movie isn't successful it won't be because of a lack of awareness or brand associations."

OMD chief executive Mark Coad agrees. "Like it or hate it, the set-up, hype and pre-promotion around the movie was amazing," he says.

Tourism Australia's decision to build a $40 million marketing campaign around Australia, including TV commercials made by Luhrmann and featuring one of the stars of the movie, also won fans.

Lee Stephens, chief executive of Aegis Media Pacific, which owns Carat, the media agency that holds the Tourism Australia account, says: "I'm biased, but Tourism Australia's partnership with Baz Luhrmann turned a $40 million campaign into a $300 million event.

"It's impossible to miss the campaign in Tourism Australia's key overseas markets."

The success of iPhone and growing popularity of 3G mobile phones fanned what marketing and media executives considered the most important consumer trend of 2008.

"The key trend this year was the growth in the number of people using their mobiles to go online, link with Facebook, do email and so on, making the mobile an even more significant personal medium," Obermeier says.

One of the key trends this year was "enoughism", which emerged in the United States and Europe last year and is gaining attention here.

Wayde Bull, planning director at the marketing firm Principals, says: "Enoughism is driven by people who are alarmed about the health of the planet, particularly the pervasive influence of materialism on their lives, and have decided to take personal responsibility and action.

"Enoughism is reflected in people switching things off, buying less stuff and seeking to reconnect with the simpler pleasures of life."

Brent Stewart, chief executive of global research company Synovate's Australia and New Zealand division and its global business planning head, says the rise of enoughism is not bad news for marketers.

"There will be a flight to quality among consumers and an emphasis on attributes such as durability, versatility and functionality," he says.


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