What have Usain Bolt and the children of a tiny Pacific island got in common? Of course it’s being the subject of the third ‘Face 2 Face’ interview, brought to you by Facebook. Once again, we’ve got a job lot of marketing and brand insights for your delectation.
In today’s video and podcast, Jules Lund goes one-on-two with Parag Panjwani, director of advertising at Optus; and Paul Bootlis, digital creative director at Host/Havas Australia.
You can check out the highlights in the video below, and go more in depth with the podcast at the bottom of this page.
As Lund discovered, it was somewhat incongruously, through a TV infatuation, that Panjwani first came to advertising as a medium.
“I was very young and there was a newsreader that I had a massive crush on,” he explained.
“I would almost go up to the television and want to hug her and kiss her, but I would just want to meet her. My dad told me that get into advertising, you’ll probably get to meet her.
“Sadly, I didn’t. I don’t even know what her name is actually. But I guess that was my first introduction to the concept of advertising. It entertained me more than the content that I saw on television.
“I think it was the grown-ups who watched the content, while I, the younger one in the house, would be waiting for the ad breaks because I enjoyed the ad breaks a lot more.”
This led to a storied career, with work for Castrol in India before a large campaign in Australia featuring none other than the fastest man alive.
“The birth of Optus was the fact that we offer choice,”Panjwani said.
“So, in the first year of Usain Bolt it was all about relentless improvement; it was about ‘we’re constantly getting better’, ‘we are working towards it and we are training and we’re improving’ and that was the point that they made.
“I think he just fit that strategy so brilliantly and perfectly to establish speed and that association with speed. We also had a big challenge and what we wanted to do was focus on coverage because as a company we’ve invested over $2.8 billion into the network across the last two years.”
For Bootlis, helping to change immigration law through a heartfelt campaign sits near the top of his career pantheon of achievement.
“Well, I think definitely the Palau Pledge, which has recently got a lot of international recognition [was significant]. It was also a very meaningful community, environmental campaign, something that, yeah, just means a lot to me,” he said.
“I mean at its heart it’s a very simple idea. It’s a low-fi idea. It’s by no means a high-tech idea, which is interesting. It’s a very simple and elegant idea. But there is a strong element of design thinking in there.
“We looked at a problem of ‘How do we change a tourism industry and the tourist experience’? ‘How do we interrupt a customer journey?’ The island of Palau, the 13th smallest nation on earth – a beautiful island – its pristine beauty was being damaged almost irreversibly by its own success as a tourist destination.”