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Masters of Spin - Political Advertising, Nike and Typo's

On last weeks Master of Spin we dicuss turth in Advertising (federally there is no such thing), Nike;s latest social justice push and the Anzac typo for one local council.

Check out the here, the transcript is below.


Basil Zempilas: As we all know, political ads are dominating this week's controversy in advertising. The GetUp group, which has been campaigning against Tony Abbott in his Sydney seat, bowed to pressure, and removed this online advertisement.

Edwina Bartholomew: It portrayed Mr Abbott as an onion-eating, climate-denying lifesaver, who refused to save a swimmer.

Speaker 4: He's drowning.

Speaker 3: Ah, look, I think you'll find that the science isn't settled on that.

Speaker 4: What? Do something.

Speaker 3: Why should we act first? I think I've given you the response you deserve. Hahaha.

Edwina Bartholomew: The ad was taken offline after lifesavers called out the video for being insensitive, especially after the deaths of two members in Victoria over the Easter weekend.

Basil Zempilas: Let's bring in our Masters of Spin advertising experts, Matthew Bywater in Sydney and Adam Ferrier in Melbourne. Good morning to you both.

Matthew, there are some people you just can't mock, and in this situation, with the timing, lifesavers, we know, hold a very special place in the hearts of Australia, but even more so than that, the timing was just terrible.

Matthew Bywater: Timing absolutely terrible. Lifesavers, first responders, teachers, yeah anywhere in the health care industry, leave them alone. I kind of question too, whether attacking Tony Abbott on lifesaving volunteering was a smart move. I get the wit, I like the ad, I actually think it's quite humorous, apart from the fact that it's offensive. But attacking on volunteering, I don't know if that's a smart idea for them.

Edwina Bartholomew: That's actually something that he has done for many, many years-

Matthew Bywater: That's one of his real strengths, yeah [crosstalk 00:01:31].

Edwina Bartholomew: With the lifesavers and the RFS.

Adam, with these GetUp ads, does it get to a point where they become counterproductive for both sides? Both the get up ads attacking Tony Abbott and the other ads, you know, attacking Zali Steggall?

Adam Ferrier: No, I don't think so. I think GetUp's got a very limited budget. I think they try to create outrage and controversy every single time they communicate. So I think that's good. I think their message still gets across. I think I kind of agree this is distasteful, but only just. They've been victims of timing and circumstance here. So I don't think there's anything wrong with the setup, and I think they've got an excellent media strategy to try to create outrage, and get media attention, and get their message across. So I think it's working well for them.

Basil Zempilas: Yeah, no, I can agree with that, but I think their decision not to pull the ad, or they weren't smart enough to pull the ad given what had taken place in the few days preceding it. What about truth in advertising? Adam, I'll come to you. There was the ad in the papers during the week, claiming Clive Palmer will win the election. Why would you publish that? Especially given the ad actually makes a reference to fake news.

Adam Ferrier: Yeah, look, in political advertising, all bets are off. So truth in advertising, it doesn't quite work in the same way as it does with selling commercial products. I think, again, Clive Palmer still, you know, wants to create controversy, wants to talk about things, get people talking about him. Also his media spend of 60 plus million is a really good example of, there's a great quote in advertising that is, "Advertising's the tax you pay for not having a remarkable product." Clive Palmer is pushing the effectiveness of advertising here to see if he can get a very unremarkable product into power.

Edwina Bartholomew: It is an incredible amount of of money to spend on advertising. Matt, talk us through this strategy, because it's quite interesting. The bright colors, the very simple message, that the phone numbers printed in all of the papers. I mean it actually is having some cut through. Herbert, where Townsville is located, where all of those Queensland Nickel workers are still waiting to be paid. He's 14% there [crosstalk 00:03:34].

Matthew Bywater: Yeah, so on a national level he's only got about 2% and that's a growth of about half a percent. So it looks rather small, but particularly on a Queensland level, right now we see both Liberal and Labor jockeying for preferences. So it's having an impact. It is having an impact. A very expensive one, but it is having an impact.

Basil Zempilas: Of course, with a certain percentage of the vote he'll get some money back as well.

Matthew Bywater: Yes.

Basil Zempilas: A startling error during the week, posted by a local council around Sydney's suburbs, this was quite amazing really. When banners with, "Lest we forgot," rather than, "Lest we forget," went up on light poles. One, I mean how does this happen? But Adam, the council has apologized for being disrespectful. How do you think something like this gets through?

Adam Ferrier: Oh, I'm surprised stuff like this doesn't happen more often to be honest. I think we're all so busy. There's so little time to do everything these days that typos and checks, you know, it's all just becoming more and more mistakes in everything that you see out in the world. So in the bigger scheme of things it's one bow, they've come out and apologized straight away, you know, let it go.

Edwina Bartholomew: Matthew, you mentioned those groups that you have to be very careful of of mocking or, you know, treated disrespectfully in advertising. The ANZACs is definitely one of those.

Matthew Bywater: Yeah, definitely. Going to what Adam said, the council actually apologized straight away, took them down. The RSL, a great response said, "Yeah, we understand it was a mistake. Thank you for taking it down." I just think it was professional from both sides.

Basil Zempilas: Yeah, "It was a mistake. We get it." The sentiment was obviously genuine.

Now, Nike has been smashing stereotypes of late, when it comes to women's sport. But this one is a bit curious. It features an American singer, not an athlete wearing a Nike sports bra, showing off her underarm hair. There are 6,500 comments on the post, a mixture of good and bad. Matty, what do you think? A smart piece of promotion by Nike?

Matthew Bywater: This seems to be part of a longer trend for Nike. They're still the number one brand in sports apparel in the world, but Adidas are gaining ground fast, and so are Under Armour, which are really taking over that performance wear side. So Nike, in recent times, has let go of their sports side for a while and they're actually really focusing on that social justice area. Trying to get more into the athleisure wear, and we know that athleisure wear is a huge part of the market. Yeah, more people want to look like they're going to the gym than actually go to the gym.

Basil Zempilas: Yeah.

Edwina Bartholomew: They're really sending a message through all of their advertising, aren't they Adam, and Nike really jumped aboard the MeToo movement as well. So very quickly, a good strategy?

Adam Ferrier: Yeah. Up until a couple of years ago, Nike were really struggling with women, the women's market. They've kind of proved to be part of the MeToo movement in quite a successful way. I cannot believe that people are outraged by a few bits of underarm hair. It's phenomenally ridiculous.

Basil Zempilas: We've all got it, haven't we? Yeah. Adam and Matt-

Edwina Bartholomew: Yes we do.

Basil Zempilas: I should have checked. Adam and Matthew, thanks for your time. Good chat this morning guys.

Edwina Bartholomew: It's great to see people of different bodies, and sizes, and diversity, and all sorts of body coverage.

Basil Zempilas: Absolutely. Good point.

Edwina Bartholomew: Coming up on Weekend Sunrise, the last man to walk on the moon. As we approach the 50th anniversary of the first landing, he talks about the mission that almost failed on the lunar surface.

Speaker 7: [inaudible 00:06:31].







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