News Corp CMO: We Throw Ideas Away Too Quickly

News Corp CMO: We Throw Ideas Away Too Quickly

News Corp Australia’s CMO Tony Phillips has told the audience of B&T’s inaugural Towards 2030 seminar a great opportunity lies in bringing back marketing campaigns.

David Hovenden
Posted by David Hovenden

Delivering the keynote address to kick off the day of workshops, speed mentoring and hackathon, Phillips lamented the lack of quality campaigns spanning years if not decades where ideas just “build and build and build”.

Phillips was speaking with some experience, having been responsible for the rescue of Coles, where he worked from 2007 until 2014. The campaigns Coles built during that time hinged on two key brand properties – Curtis Stone and Down, Down.

“Curtis is brand property that became famous for freshness. Down, Down is a brand property that became famous for lower prices. Then you bring in car insurance, all of a sudden you’ve got a proposition, which is based around lower prices and the car becomes the little red quote.

“Then all of a sudden these things start to write themselves. You’ve got the idea that just continues on and on and on and builds and builds and builds.”

Phillips cautioned attendees, who were largely under 30, there was too much focus placed on single pieces of creative.

“You see it and say yeah that’s a great ad, but it’s only a moment in time. And you’ve got no idea where it goes. Yeah it’s clever, but it’s a single gag there’s no campaign to be built here,” he said.

The one-time boss of George Patterson Bates in Australia urged his audience to thin instead about building a narrative.

“When it comes to your careers going forward, it’s just about establishing very simple creative ideas and actually understanding them and how they work. The huge opportunity in our industry is that not many people are doing campaigns.”

Phillips pointed to VB’s Hard Earned Thirst, Woolworths’ Fresh Food People Fresh Food People as two such campaigns which have been goinging strong for years.

“Ideas that just build and build and build with a customer base. You build a narrative with your customer base and the customer will become familiar with your brand and that opens them up to just building on the idea and building on the idea. People just throw out ideas too quickly.”

On the media side of campaigns, Phillips acknowledged it was harder today to find an audience, but with the right customer-first attitude, problems really solved themselves.

Talking of the Coles campaigns from a media perspective he said it was all about picking up key media properties and giving the opposition no room to move.

“We launched our campaign with the Olympic Games, we picked up Master Chef, we then picked up My Kitchen Rules, we took the AFL, we took the NRL. We had key media properties where we effectively gave our opposition no space in the room.”

Phillips, who joined NewsCorp as CMO last year, said if you think customer first and think where your customers are, “the idea of having separate digital departments is just a nonsense. It’s not actually about the channel, it’s about the customer.

“Don’t think how much money do I need to spend on digital, that’s not the question. It’s where the customer is and how our communication reaches them there.”

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