Welcome to the Spring 2018 class

Hi Folks,

You can find the schedule of classes, and lecture slide files as they are prepared, on the page with the link title ‘lectures’. An overview of the assessment items, and initial description of the group project, can be found on the ‘assessment’ page. There will be further updates there. Students will be assigned to groups once the final registration period is complete.




changing behaviour through creative comm

A great example – characteristically Kiwi – of using quirky creative to rethink risky behaviour. A campaign against texting while driving has gone so viral that views from all over the world on Youtube will see overtake the country’s population.

On manipulating social media

A great instance of scamming the ostensibly neutral crowd-sourced ratings of TripAdvisor, and creating a big buzz for a service that does not even exist…


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Diesel JoggJeans campaign & Jacob Sutton creative examples

Diesel’s campaign to promote its ‘JoggJeans’ product range, which is its variant of a now common jeans product that combine 90%-odd denim with a high tech nylon or polyester stretch fibre for comfort and shape retention, has been effective. It couples the usual website presence, including direct retailing defaulting to local site based on user ISP, and  a much shared video promotion. The video is high quality, very engaging, and by featuring dancers in Diesel product it directly transmits the intended messages about the versatility and style of their new JoggJeans product.

The JoggJeans campaign was developed under the leadership of Diesel’s young creative director, Nicola Formichetti, who did a lot of work for Lady Gaga before being hired freshen up the Diesel brand. Here is a LINK to one profile of him.

The video is directed by renowned fashion still and moving image photographer Jacob Sutton. See his portfolio for a range of interesting work. Two examples follow; the first showing a typical aesthetic for Armani mens’ fragrance but with some remarkable underwater cinematography.

The following two are in a common ‘fast fashion’ format. One is for Uniqlo, the other for H & M. Both economise on setting and model spend, but are effective because of the quality of the artistic direction.

quick thinking boosts FI & Ferrari brands

FI crying kid

A little boy got upset when his favourite driver crashed out of the 2017 Spanish grand prix so quick thinking staff had him meet the driver and be central to the final celebrations

Here is one media report on the handling of it, and by implication critical of past indifference by the F1 leadership to social media and fan engagement, see (hopefully no paywall restrictions), and another, rather shorter, report (certainly open).



SAPE… must know

One of the most remarkable cultural phenomena of late.. the sapeurs of Congo Brazzaville (Congo Republic)  and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire). The former was ruled by a one party Marxist-Leninist state for a time and the latter by an anti-communist dictator Mobutu Sese Seko from the mid-1960s  until 1997. Both governments suppressed what they saw as cultural signs of colonial legacy and Western decadence; yet this ultimately provoked a vibrant cultural backlash that centres on the stylish gentlemen of Le SAPE (Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Élégantes = The Society of Ambiance-Makers and Elegant People). We will see more in class.

The BBC reported on the embrace of sapeur on advertising by the beer brand Guinness.


Documentary version sponsored by Guinness…

An interesting 15 minute report in French, for those comfortable with or learning the language, on Sape culture, its broader context and focusing in part on a guy known as ‘the Japanese’ because of his love of Yohji Yamamato and other Japanese designers.

A collection of sapeur images, edited with an operatic soundtrack, from the Italian fan..

great talent from anywhere to anywhere.. & some lessons for communication design

Belgian musician Stromae makes the most of his cosmopolitan background, talent, and creative communicative flair to capture attention, initially using only modest technical means. This track, with an influential aesthetic, has been a huge hit in the Francophone world, along with several other songs of his.

His video for a song, Formidable, that was number one in France had him pretending to be drunk and broken hearted in Brussels and getting the actual assistance of friendly cops and others who were fans of his. It has had even more views, and has English subtitles. The song has a key line that is clever in French, which translates into English into the rather simpler ‘you were wonderful, I was pathetic’ (formidable vs fort minable; see here for further details of the lyrics and video.  He has done several filmed performances of the song in public spaces, including in Montreal, that in turn went viral.

In a nicely ironic (perhaps post) post-modern vein he playfully deconstructs his own songs, and at least feigns the ease with which music can be created with a Mac and a little keyboard in a series of ‘lessons’ on music-making that can all be found on youtube. Here is one, more polished, featuring the above song “tous les mêmes” (‘you’re all the same’), with English subtitles, and through which the song and his persona in the official video come to make more sense. He plays both male and female roles in an argument between lovers.

In this lesson he playfully assembles one of his greatest hits ‘Alors on dance’ in front of a small audience using his Mac (only in French but watch it anyway). His charm is well on display.

If interested here is the official video of the song and there is also a nice version with him performing with Moroccan musicians on traditional Arab instruments in Marrakesh, introduced by a popular French comedian he collaborates with.

Stromae’s irreverence coupled with joie de vivre has proven infectious for audiences and contrasts with the pretentiousness of some of the mainstream popular music industry. Corporate communications campaigns that centre on shareable content have to show at least something of the talent, effective execution and modesty that artists like Stromae have led audiences to expect.

Kids’ class on Virgin Australia?

This got some serious attention but the Australian upload date was April 1, March 31 in the USA which Youtube defaults to. So an April Fool’s Day joke. Clever, too risky, or a bit of both?


exploitative depictions? Justified banning?

The UK Advertising Standards Authority has provoked discussion over what constitutes exploitative depictions of women in recently banning images in a Miu Miu campaign. Although the model was 21 at the time of the photo shoot the ASA asserted that she was depicted as much younger and in an exploitative and voyeuristic way. Given that women are the primary target market for the campaign, and ‘the look’ of the shoot is not uncommon for both Miu Miu / Prada and other fashion houses in recent years, the regulatory intervention in response to a complaint was bound to provoke contention. Please have a look at the report, the images, and related links and form your own opinions.Miu MIu banned image

Coca Cola & guest workers

A great tip from class member Linnah on a campaign that Coca Cola ran, focusing on foreign workers in the construction industry who don’t get much attention. There was discussion about whether Coca Cola’s campaign, which included Singaporeans writing messages of appreciation to the foreign construction workers, might nonetheless be exploitative of them.