Here you will find links to many of the examples incorporated into the lectures, organised by lecture topic in the order they were scheduled in the course. The numbering refers to the class topic & maps to the course schedule.

1. Introduction: professionalizing communications
2. Brand narratives & consumer attention
3. Fail: communications failures throughout history
4. Pass: better communications practice

The slides can be downloaded from the lectures page and some links, to this and other content, activated from within the pdf file

1. Introduction

London Calling..

2. Brand narratives

An Easter Tale..

Some have observed the crucification of Jesus, and the symbolism that it engendered, is one of the oldest and most remarkably effective instances of a combination of narrative effect and symbolism, giving rise to the potent logo of the crucifix. As we start the course close to Easter it is worth considering this instance, the the continuing salience in popular culture (both respectful and otherwise).


The crucification scene from the 1973 film version of the rock musical Jesus Christ Superstar..

And from the same production, a most ’70s camp take on King Herod judging Jesus (shot by the shore of the dead sea in Israel..)


From the mid-1980s at least it became more common to engage talented creatives, such as film directors, to produce campaign videos (properly speaking, ‘moving images’ as many were still shot on film in the early days). These either told brand stories or, more often, were primarily image evoking endeavors with a limited narrative thread but a strong emotional objective. This was particularly common in marketing fragrances, which could be wildly profitable if a campaign succeeded. However they required a huge initial advertising spend, entailing great risks and also impacting on the design of fragrances (making them more mass market oriented).

Here is one instance, by the edgy American director David Lynch for Amani Gio, which was to become a huge hit and remains a valuable fragrance franchise.

With the advent of the internet, and social media platforms in particular, making ‘share-able content’ to build and reinforce brand identity has become a key communications tactic for many brand managers.

And basic product specs are also shared increasingly through video form:


And the distinctive cultures of various market sub-segments can be discerned through branded content (irony and a disdain for vacuous spin are well in evidence in a lot of recent content):


And a short profile of an Australian snowboarding photographer on assignment in Japan..


3. Fail

You have seen plenty of bad campaigns, lazy visual communications and translations but we will also look at some in class.

Some very successive campaigns ultimately end up dated and cliched, and some times are subject of parody that hastens their demise.

Here is one instance. The Calvin Klein fragrance Obsession had a distinctive campaign aesthetic, which was effectively parodied later by renowned English comedians Fry and Laurie.

This is one version of the original campaign:

A few others, with at least the first two that were also prone to the ‘pretension’ parody. This one is a lousy copy but lets engage with it anyway..

This one is by film noir director David Lynch, and brazenly borrows from American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, with attribution..

And another Lynch one in the same series, this time using Hemingway in a rather risqué way for 1988 but which would have earned some brand cache in gay communities (though rather misleading re Hemingway’s expressive intent).

Here is a link to Fry and Laurie’s parody..

Fry and Laurie Pretension – Video Dailymotion.

4. Pass

JR Tokai renowned Kyoto promotional CMs

Spring / Summer examples

Autumn / Winter examples


Traditional artisanal metalworks with renowned aesthetics and retaining an important place in a vibrant Kyoto cultural scene.

Seikado’s Facebook page and website gives a good insight into how they they engage with rich networks of artisans, artists, ‘tastemakers’ and others.

Going downmarket.. the Lynx Jet campaign..

Toyota sells the Hilux 4wd abroad

The Toyota Hilux campaign featured in the class ‘Toyota Country Border Security’ that we will feature and discuss in class. It parodies the tough border inspection regime that applies at Australian airports in relation to quarantine matters, and also re terrorism after 9.11, and the ‘reality TV’ documentary programs that have been filmed in Australian airports. The range of cultural references are discussed further in the lecture notes.

Toyota’s 4WD products have been very successful abroad for decades because of their reliability and performance. Over the years Toyota has also, with the help of foreign advertising agencies, communicated effectively to target markets. Each is revealing about commonalities and differences across through English-speaking countries: New Zealand, South Africa and Africa…

South African example – watch at this link

New Zealand example

and a 2nd New Zealand example..

Australian examples

A cheap one to produce that parodies a certain subculture..

And big budget one that taps some distinctive Australian male cultural references, especially in the blue collar ‘tradie’ (self employed tradesman) market.


A key example featured in the lecture. It parodies the tough border inspection regime that applies at Australian airports in relation to quarantine matters, and also re terrorism after 9.11, and the ‘reality TV’ documentary programs that have been filmed in Australian airports. The range of cultural references are discussed further in the lecture notes.

An early popular commercial for the Hilux in Australia that used two upcoming comedians that played up the ‘unbreakable’ theme that has been a recurrent one in both Australian and New Zealand campaigns…

And a Hilux figures in this cheap campaign for Coates Hire, which directly references the national narrative of ‘mateship’..

Pass or Fail?

A less than thrilling CM from Dentsu Argentina for the the Hilux..

Much more expensive and rather more striking..


And an Arabic CM for the Middle East, also without subtitles!.. on Vimeo.

A rather bitchy but perhaps quite effective CM for an Australian bank’s home leading service, in the context of a frenzied real estate boom in Australia and a debate about whether house prices are excessively high..