New campaign for Pet Circle

The Core Agency has launched a new creative campaign for its client, Pet Circle. The brand is Australia’s largest online pet supplies company selling everything from pet food to treats and medication, through its website

The campaign leverages the brand’s new ‘Nourish them’ Core Idea created by the agency. The campaign includes 30 sec and 15 sec TVCs, outdoor and digital executions.

Pet Circle is amongst a growing list of clients at The Core Agency including QBE Insurance, Sydney Airport, Key Pharmaceuticals, NSW Government, Cook Islands Tourism, RSVP and The Fred Hollows Foundation.

Christian Finucane, Founder & Creative Partner at The Core Agency said: “We’re really pleased with this new work for Pet Circle – its simple message will help power the growth of our client. It’s always a bit nerve-wracking filming animals, but the guys at Photoplay did an amazing job on the day.”

This latest campaign launch comes after The Core Agency announced last month it had won the Elders Insurance account. The agency is tasked with creating and rolling out a new Core Idea for the customer-focused insurance brand.


Client: Pet Circle

Marketing Director: Juvita Janto

Agency: The Core Agency

Creative Partners: Christian Finucane & Jon Skinner

Strategy Director: Simon Rich

Senior Copywriter: Dave Glen

Senior Art Director: Simone Parravicini

Jnr Art Director: Valeria Camin

Managing Director: Jane Callister

Account Manager: Max Whitehouse

Agency Senior Producer: Bill Doig

Production Company: Photoplay

Director: Gary John

Producer: Bonnie Fay

Post Production: The Editors

Audio: Smith & Western

Marriage Equality – Brand identity


We won the pitch from a ‘shortlist’ of over 20 agencies to create the brand strategy and visual identity for Australian Marriage Equality. The opportunity was to create a brand that would unify and motivate the ‘YES’ vote in the proposed plebiscite on same-sex marriage.

Core Idea

The new brand needed to instantly reach out to all Australians from Darlinghurst to Dubbo, regardless of their age, gender or sexual choice.

The issue of same-sex marriage can be polarising in mainstream Australia, so we created the brand making EQUALITY front and centre. It’s a promise that most fair-minded people find hard to deny others.

We designed the identity on an existing unified form that Australians can relate to – the states and territories coming together to unite Australia. The signature rainbow colours of the movement were used to create an instantly recognisable moniker.


The success of the YES EQUALITY brand identity can be measured in how many different groups have adopted it to badge their individual campaign activity. While Australian Marriage Equality was the commissioning client, the actual campaign is made up of hundreds of different community, corporate, grassroots and organised groups right across the country.

The identity we created has been universally adopted.

From Kylie Minogue wearing a branded t-shirt to TV commercial end frames, everywhere on social media to street posters.

Rob Kain joins to drive CX offering

Rob 2

The Core Agency has added additional senior skills to its business with the launch of an upstream customer experience offering, which is being led by former Chief Marketing Officer, Rob Kain.

The fast-growing Sydney agency is investing in CX and digital specialists to meet the increasing demand from clients that require greater strategic insight into the customer journey. The agency has created a bespoke end-to-end approach designed to unearth and unlock greater customer value and loyalty.

A CRM, loyalty and brand specialist, Kain joins The Core Agency after spending the past nine years in senior marketing roles, most recently as Chief Marketing Officer for the Anytime Fitness Group. Prior to that he was General Manager – Marketing for Super Retail Group’s Rebel and Amart businesses, where he worked on their re-brands and developed omni-channel marketing strategies for both. Prior to that he was General Manager – Marketing, CRM and Insight at the Specialty Fashion Group looking after the Millers, Katie’s and Autograph brands. He has also held management roles in the UK using CX to drive results for brands including Citibank, British Airways Diner’s Club.

Jane Callister, Managing Director at The Core Agency said: “There is far too much waffle and buzzword bingo in the CX space, so when we met Rob and heard his straightforward customer-first approach, it was a breath of fresh air. He has a proven track record of creating customer strategies and programs that deliver results. His skills live at the intersection of brands, platforms and of course the customer. He is a natural fit with our agency promise that ‘a core idea can take a brand anywhere’.”

Some of the agency’s existing clients including Sydney Airport and Cook Islands Tourism are already benefiting from his CX expertise.
Speaking on his appointment, Kain added: “Creating an emotional connection with your customers across multiple channels has never been more important. Customer loyalty can be fickle and people expect brands to engage with them, if they don’t someone else will. With the imminent launch of Amazon in Australia, this has never been more important for many companies. “

“Extending a brand’s core idea through CX is a natural extension of how The Core Agency already works with its clients. Effective CX supports brands by building strong and enduring emotional connections with customers, and I’m delighted to be working with The Core Agency on delivering this for our clients.”

RSVP – Hallelujah!


RSVP is Australia’s largest dating brand, though it faces significant competition from the new mobile swiping apps and other niche dating brands.

We needed to build on the previous year’s ‘Find a keeper’ campaign to further communicate that RSVP is the place to be matched with quality singles.

While most dating apps create matches using a very rational algorithm, or from a mutual swipe based solely on visual appearance, RSVP uses a rational and emotional measures to best match people.

Core Idea

Our idea was to create a campaign of TVCs with a series of scenes that show a newly dating couple. Each scene shows that special moment when one of them realises they have found a keeper. Each of the moments is punctuated with the ‘Hallelujah!’ chorus to add to the emotion and comedy.


The campaign has not been in market long enough to determine its effect on the brand. In terms of creative awards, it has been shortlisted at The One Show in New York and also at AWARD in Australia.

QBE Insurance – Sponsorships


QBE has sponsored of the Sydney Swans for over 30 years, plus the NSW Swifts netball and Perth Glory football for long tenures also. The challenge was how can we leverage these sponsorships while promoting QBE’s commitment to customer service?

Core Idea

We created a campaign around QBE’s Core Idea – 100% Commitment.

Using the brand’s animated style, we created a campaign of TVCs, online videos and social clips that showed the random bounces of a footy ball as an analogy for the unpredictability of life.

The animations show the calamity caused by the footy ball as it bounces from one scene to the next. An iconic music track, ‘Jump Around’ by House of Pain was used to amplify the cut-through.

The films are resolved with the QBE brand character, Penny, catching the ball before it can do any more damage.


The campaign was launched on the stadium screen at season launch game at the Swan’s home ground. In post campaign research the work achieved a remarkable likeability score of 90%.

The Fred Hollows Foundation – Vivid Sydney


The Fred Hollows Foundation had the opportunity to pitch an idea for an art installation to Vivid Sydney, but needed a winning idea. The opportunity was huge as it provided the foundation the chance to engage a younger audience and create social media content.

Core Idea

The concept needed to satisfy the primary criteria of being a magical art installation that would entertain visitors to the world’s largest festival of light, music and ideas. However, it also needed to communicate what the foundation does, without being dry or educational.

Our idea was to create an invisible art show, ‘The Gift of Sight’ – a first for Vivid Sydney.

We commissioned 20 of Australia’s best street and graphic artists to create original artworks using only special UV inks. The artworks lined the dark interior of a specially adapted shipping container, located at Darling Harbour.

On entering the container, each visitor was given a special UV flashlight and used it to reveal the invisible artworks as they walked through. The art literally shone out of the blackness in vivid glowing colours – a powerful analogy of the foundation’s work in restoring sight to the needlessly blind.


The ‘Gift of Sight’ installation had over 1,500 visitors through it in just the first three hours on the opening night of Vivid Sydney. Across the two weeks of the festival the installation had over 47,500 through it.  It generated a huge spike in social media video and photography sharing, achieving its objective of raising awareness of the foundation to a younger audience.

The Core Agency reveals ‘Hallelujah!’ moments in latest campaign for RSVP

RSVP has launched its second campaign from The Core Agency celebrating the ‘Hallelujah!’ moments when singles realise they’ve found a keeper.

From a girl who loves playing video games as much as her date, to a relieved man whose date removes a huge spider from their tent, the new campaign continues to leverage the ‘Find A keeper’ tagline, which was launched by the Sydney independent agency in 2015.

When you meet people and date through RSVP you know there will be common matches in interests, but it’s only once you have had the second or third date that you realise all those points of interest add up to someone who might just be a keeper. It’s that moment that makes you think ‘Hallelujah!’

The campaign, which includes two 30 second and six 15 second spots, will run on TV, digital pre-roll and social, supported with a digital re-targeting strategy to drive conversion. Launching in Melbourne and Perth on Sunday 11 September, the campaign will roll out nationally from 18 September.

Jon Skinner, creative partner at The Core Agency said: “Our latest campaign for RSVP captures the magic moments when singles realise they’ve found a keeper. It continues to promote the brand’s position as Australia’s leading online dating website in a fun way that will resonate with Australians who have experienced, or want to experience, that moment.”

Dave Heysen, CEO of RSVP added: “This campaign continues to drive RSVP’s point of difference, finding quality dates.  It reinforces the strength of our product and allows us to focus on celebrating dating success.”

RSVP is Australia’s leading and most trusted online dating site and over its 19-year history has helped more than four million Australians meet other singles.



Client: RSVP
CEO: Dave Heysen
Senior Marketing Manager: Lara Delahunty
Partnerships & Events Manager: Renee Dowling
Creative Agency: The Core Agency
Creative Partners: Christian Finucane, Jon Skinner
Senior Copywriter: Dave Glen
Senior Art Director: Simone Parravicini
Strategy Director: Simon Rich
Production Director: Deepali Dabral
Account Director: Rebecca Scott
Account Manager: Amy Barnes
Production Company: Goodoil Films
Director: Abe Forsythe
Head of Production: Chana McLallen
Producer: Helen Morahan
DOP: Crighton Bone
Editor: Drew Thompson
Post House: Blackbird
Audio Post: Sonar Music
Stills: Billy Plummer

QBE ‘Call me or click!’


Discounting is common in the insurance category to drive acquisition, but can lead to low value and high-churn customers. In line with its brand and products, QBE wanted to communicate its superior customer service to get a quote across phone and online channels.

The Core Idea

We leveraged the brand’s ongoing animated campaign with the famous Blondie song ‘Call me’ to create a mini 80 pop music video with updated lyrics, ‘Call me or click!’ The campaign introduced two new animated characters, Penny and Carl, to demonstrate the QBE’s passion for customer service across the phone and online channels. The campaign included TVC, radio, outdoor, social, mobile and Pandora integration.


The sales results prove the ongoing consumer affinity for the QBE animated ‘100% Commitment’ brand campaign. Coupled with the instant cut-through and universal appeal of the Blondie track the campaign, the campaign delivered above GWP targets and continues to drive brand consideration.

Australian Nursing & Midwifery Federation


Federal election campaigns are one of the key periods when the key issues around nursing and the health system are elevated into the broad public debate. We needed to promote the issues to all Australians without politicising them.

The Core Idea

We created the nursing campaign around the idea, ‘If you don’t care, we can’t care.’ It worked in tandem with a cut-through and challenging key visual of a concerned nurse with their hands literally tied behind their back.  It showed how they are being held back in their desire to provide the best possible care for their patients. The campaign was rolled out across TV, outdoor, radio, digital and social. It enabled all the state and territory-based nursing federations to deliver their own localised messages, while keeping the campaign unified nationally.


The campaign achieved widespread coverage in national press and helped propel Medicare to be one of the key issues in the election.

Primary Health – Flu Jabs


Each year in the autumn, new strains of the flu shot vaccination become available and the public is encouraged to get treated ahead of the peak winter season. The opportunity also provides Primary a reason to talk with people about preventative health.

The Core Idea

We created an integrated campaign across out of home, radio, digital and social using the theme of, ‘Feel smug this winter.’


The campaign achieved over double the target number for vaccinations administered, with many medical centres having to roster on additional doctors to facilitate demand.

Simon Rich joins The Core Agency

Sydney independent, The Core Agency, has appointed Simon Rich as its strategy director following a series of new business wins and existing client growth.

Rich (pictured with managing director Jane Callister) is a highly experienced strategy director having worked in Australia and internationally across FMCG, financial, automotive and retail sectors.

He joins The Core Agency after five years in the UK where he worked at agencies included M&C Saatchi, VCCP, JWT, Cheil Worldwide and Publicis. Before leaving his home town of Melbourne, he was director of planning at Grey Group and head of planning at FCB. He has worked on some of the world’s most well-known brands including NatWest, HSBC, nab, AXA, Dixons Retail, Mars Inc, Kraft, Simplot, Samsung, O2 and Honda.

Rich, who had been working at The Core Agency on a freelance basis, will also join the leadership team of creative partners Jon Skinner and Christian Finucane and recently promoted managing director Jane Callister.

Christian Finucane said: “Since the start of the year we’ve had considerable new and organic business growth and the time is right for us to bring on a permanent strategy director as we continue to push forward. Simon has a wealth of experience working on leading brands while at agencies in both Australia and the UK and he is a valuable addition to the agency, our clients and the leadership team.”

Rich added: “The guys at The Core Agency are passionate, talented and have a wealth of experience. They intuitively get strategy and they are down to earth, which makes the agency a very exciting and collaborative place to work. It’s great to be teaming up with Jane again; we achieved a lot working together on financials and FMCG whilst at Grey and I am loving the challenge of helping The Core Agency’s clients go from strength to strength.”

Jane Callister said: “Having worked with Simon while he was at Grey I am delighted that he has joined The Core Agency. We had a strong partnership working on brands including AXA, Simplot, OceanSpray and TAC and I know his strategic insights will prove invaluable to our clients.”

Since the start of the year The Core Agency has won work for the Australian Nursing & Midwifery Federation and The Fred Hollows Foundation, as well as growth from existing clients QBE Insurance, Sydney Airport Parking and RSVP.

Cannes Festival overshadowed by clouds…

By The Core Agency founder and creative partner, Jon Skinner. First published in AdNews on June 24 2016.

I’m not a data hater, but…

It has been a few years since I was at Cannes and the festival is more vibrant and inspiring than ever. Today, it’s not just the global event to celebrate the best in creativity with shiny Lions, it’s the global marketing huddle where delegates try and make sense of our increasingly tech-driven and diverse (some would say, complicated) industry.

While, it’s easy to just cynically write the whole thing off as a rosé fuelled party, that couldn’t be further from the truth. What the event does achieve is to drive conversation (admittedly often over a glass of rosé…) about the future of the business. Which to my mind is the same as it has always been – creative ways to get people to want to buy our brand.

Though, the most effective way to achieve this obviously depends on who is doing the spruiking, be it a creative agency, production company, media firm or one of the burgeoning ‘cloud-based crowd sourced data-centric programmatic real time analytics platform’ companies. Many of who claim to have solved this for advertisers (if not even the meaning of life) with their machine learning algorithms.

In one of the talks I attended in the Lions Innovation area, the speaker shared how his company had analysed global search data during the launch of the last Star Wars movie to discover that males like Luke Skywalker and females prefer Princess Leia. It’s safe to say that no-one in the auditorium fell off their chair on hearing this staggering insight. However, it did promote the debate around the use of big data and how it can best help in our task to sell stuff, more effectively, to people. I think it’s fair to say many big brands are still struggling to string together, and make sense of, the data they’ve already got, let alone open the flood gates to even more of it.

But, to state the obvious, each and every type of participant at the festival believes their service is the future for advertisers. And, as the owner of a creative agency, I of course believe that the value of big ideas outweighs big data. The lifeblood of our industry has always been about creating the new, not just reporting on what happened – even if a real time brand dashboard is now available on the cloud…

One of the great things about Cannes is that you bump into people who you haven’t seen for ages. I ran into into an old friend I hadn’t seen for 18 years, who is now a global creative director in London responsible for a bunch of FMCG brands. Over a few beers (you can only drink so much rosé…) he shared his thoughts on the debate. He joked about the paradox of clients who are getting hyper excited about real time data, yet still take 18 months to bring global campaigns to market. Clearly global clients need to get nimbler for data to be relevant and provide any real value.

As to not run the risk of coming across as some kind of data hater, I actually believe it takes the insights, creativity, technology and analytical skills from all the corners of our industry to make great work – and to make it work great. However, the watch-out is to not let this shiny new big data thing ‘cloud’ the fact that advertisers look to us to make lateral leaps and to create and invent what’s next, not merely report on the now. Unless data can be interpreted and leveraged to enable genuine human connections it is just cold lines of code wafting around on the cloud.

Another speaker illustrated this point nicely. He was from Pixar and shared how the studio engaged renowned psychologists to help them understand, map and animate realistic human expressions on their characters for the Toy Story movie. The psychologists collected gigs of data and created a database of expressions that led to a new era in animation – films that didn’t just show characters talking, but engaged viewers in what they were thinking and how they were feeling too. And as they say the rest is history, with Toy Story going on to become one of the most commercially successful and universally loved animated features.

Now that’s a great marriage of data and creativity.

Core rebrands and names six new hires

Core has rebranded as The Core Agency to better reflect its broader offering, scale and the brand-centric approach it offers clients. The change follows a period of significant growth for the independent Sydney creative agency which has seen it bolster its ranks with six new appointments.

Christian Finucane, co-founder and creative partner at The Core Agency said: “The last couple of years have seen our client partnerships flourish and we now provide a much broader range of services to some of Australia’s major brands. With more than 20 staff, The Core Agency name better communicates the breadth of that talent and our expertise in delivering creative work that delivers results for brands.”

Coinciding with the rebrand, The Core Agency has made a series of hires, including the addition of three creatives. Dave Glen joins as senior copywriter with partner Simone Parravicini as senior art director. Senior copywriter Misa McConnell, production director Deepali Dabral, digital designer Eve Lau and account manager Amy Barnes round out the new hires.

Left to right: Misa McConnell, Amy Barnes, Eve Law, Dave Glen, Deepali Dabral, Simo Parravicini.

The appointments follow the recent wins of the Australian Nursing & Midwifery Federation and The Fred Hollows Foundation, as well as expanded remits from existing clients QBE Insurance, Sydney Airport Parking and RSVP.

Senior copywriter Dave Glen has 15 years’ experience at agencies such as The Campaign Palace, M&C Saatchi, Momentum Worldwide and DDB. His creative achievements include the digitally-led ‘30 Nights of Nookie’ campaign for Durex. His partner, senior art director Simone Parravicini, hails from Italy, where he studied design and visual communications, before spending four years working at Leo Burnett on their two largest clients, McDonalds and P&G. His Australian agency experience includes Droga5 and Momentum Worldwide.

The Core Agency has brought senior copywriter Misa McConnell over from New Zealand, where she worked at some of the country’s most regarded creative agencies including Colenso BBDO and DDB, writing award-winning campaigns for McDonald’s, Visa and Vodafone.

Deepali Dabral has led production departments at agencies in both Australia and overseas. Throughout her career which spans Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong and China, she has developed and implemented production solutions for major global brands across automotive, logistics, luxury goods and FMCG. Over the past decade, Deepali has worked in agencies including Clemenger BBDO, Ogilvy and Bite/Text100.

Eve Lau joins the agency as digital designer from Woolworths, where she worked in their in-house creative studio on brands including Dan Murphy’s, CellarMasters and the New Zealand Wine Society.

Account manager Amy Barnes will join the agency’s team working with QBE Insurance. Before coming to Australia she was working in the UK on brands including Samsung, Speedo and Asda.

Jon Skinner, co-founder and creative partner said: “The Core Agency continues to attract ambitious brands, plus the results we’re achieving with our existing partners has led to them broadening our remit. So, we’re in the fortunate position to expand our team with a gang of super talented people who will help our clients and the agency continue to grow.”

The string of recent new appointments follows the promotion of Jane Callister to managing director in February.


Core creates ‘Fred Moments’

The journey from the despair of blindness, through to hope and finally joy is explored in the latest campaign for The Fred Hollows Foundation, from The Core Agency.

The integrated campaign establishes the idea of the ‘Fred Moment’ – which is the moment a patient’s eye bandage is removed after their operation and they can see again. The idea demonstrates the connection between Fred and his pioneering work to end avoidable blindness across the world. It has been launched to coincide with the end of the financial year, which is traditionally the most active period of donations to charity.

TV personality and former friend of Fred, Ray Martin, provides the voiceover for the TV commercials and radio spots. The foundation has also entered into a charity partnership with oOh! Media for static and digital panel executions. Silverchair’s anthem, ‘The Greatest View’ provides an emotive and symbolic soundtrack to the campaign.

The latest work for the charity from Core comes after a host of former Australians of the Year including Ita Buttrose, Adam Goodes and Steve Waugh fronted a series of TVCs to mark twenty-five years since Fred Hollows was named Australian of the Year.

Jon Skinner, creative partner at Core said: “The Fred Hollows Foundation is amazing in that it can use a $25 donation to enable a blind person to see. Our new ‘Fred Moments’ campaign simply captures the life-changing joy that a donation brings”.

Nick Martin, director of public affairs for the Fred Hollows Foundation, said: “The Fred Hollows Foundation has been restoring sight and bringing joy to the lives of people around the world for the past 23 years. We have delivered more than two million ‘Fred Moments’ giving people back their sight, all thanks to the generosity of Australians.”

The Fred Hollows Foundation was established in 1992 by eye surgeon Professor Fred Hollows and has helped treat and prevent blindness and other vision problems for more than two million people in Australia, the Pacific, South and South East Asia and Africa. Using a simple surgical process pioneered by Fred Hollows, the organisation can restore sight to cataract blind people for just $25 in some countries.



Client: The Fred Hollows Foundation
Director of Public Affairs: Nick Martin
Global Lead, Communications: Alison Hil
Multimedia Producer: Daniel Jesus Vignolli
Multimedia Coordinator: Mary Tran
Communications Manager: Andy Nilsen
Photographer: Michael Amendolia
Creative Agency: Core
Creative Partners: Christian Finucane and Jon Skinner
Creatives: Jenna Morrissey and Sophie Horne
Managing Director: Jane Callister
Account Manager: Lucy Almond
Producer: Deepali Debral
Production Company: Cutting Edge
Studio Manager: Lynne Baillie
Editor: Mark Alchin
Colourist: Dwaine Hyde
Compositor: Kent Smith
Audio Production: Take 2 Creative Audio
Producer / Engineer: Greg Crittenden

Blondie rocks QBE in new retail campaign

Core has channelled Blondie’s hit song ‘Call Me’ as the inspiration for an integrated campaign on behalf of QBE, highlighting the insurer’s 100% commitment to its customers.

Reworking the American rock band’s 1980’s number one classic, Core has again used premium animation which has become synonymous with the QBE brand.

The campaign includes 30 and 15 second TVC and radio spots, OOH, digital, social, search and internal communications and encourages potential customers to call or click QBE for their home and car insurance.

Christian Finucane, founder and creative partner at Core said: “Call Me is an anthemic song and brings to life QBE’s ongoing commitment to their customers. We’re delighted with the outcome.”

Bettina Pidcock, executive general manager of marketing added: “We are 100% committed to delivering the best service for all, whether they are existing or potential new customers and this campaign reinforces that in a catchy and fun way.”

Core named 2015 AdNews Small Agency of the Year Finalist

We are very excited to be named a 2015 AdNews Small Agency of the Year finalist!

Judges for the AdNews Awards came from all corners of the industry and this year saw far more brand marketers than ever before – from the likes of Kellogg, Arnott’s, Mondelez, Telstra and Fox, to IAG, Toshiba and ANZ.

The judges looked at not only the agencies themselves, but the combination of an agency’s culture, their relationships with clients as well as the financials that underpin it.

Core reveals new work for The Fred Hollows Foundation

Former Australians of the Year unite to support The Fred Hollows Foundation

Ita Buttrose, Adam Goodes, Steve Waugh and others back a new campaign 25 years after Fred Hollows received the honour.

Twenty-five years after being named Australian of the Year, Fred Hollows and The Foundation he created to end avoidable blindness across the world, is being honoured by a host of previous recipients of the accolade.

The major new integrated campaign features prominent former Australians of the Year Adam Goodes, Ita Buttrose, Steve Waugh, Lee Kernaghan, Dick Smith and Fiona Wood.

Created by Sydney independent agency Core, the TV led campaign uses a mix of archive and modern footage of Fred Hollows helping to restore sight both here and overseas, interspersed with commentary and support from other iconic Australians of the Year.

The Fred Hollows Foundation was established in 1992 by eye surgeon Professor Fred Hollows and has helped treat and prevent avoidable blindness and other vision problems for more than two million people in Australia and 25 countries around the world. Using a simple surgical process pioneered by Fred Hollows, the organisation can restore sight to cataract blind people for as little as $25 in some countries.

The campaign is designed to remind Australians of Fred Hollows’ legacy and encourage donations to ensure that the life-changing work undertaken by The Foundation that bears his name continues.

The 60 and 30 second TVCs will launch on January 25, the same day the 2016 Australia of the Year is announced. The spots will be supported by digital, social and PR.

The campaign is the first from Core following their appointment to lead creative duties in November last year. Creative partner Christian Finucane said: “Fred Hollows has always been a cherished icon in Australian culture and the speed that other former Australians of the Year put up their hands to be part of the campaign is testament to that.”

Nick Martin, director of Public Affairs for The Fred Hollows Foundation added: “We were delighted and honoured that so many inspirational Australians of the Year gave up their time to help us spread the word about Fred’s work.

“All of these people are leaders in their fields and were so generous in sharing their support for Fred’s vision to end avoidable blindness.”


Client: The Fred Hollows Foundation

Director of Public Affairs: Nick Martin

Global Lead, Communications: Alison Hill

Communications Manager: Andy Nilsen

Creative Agency: Core

Creative Partners: Christian Finucane, Jon Skinner

TV Production: David Steindl, Kirsten Caly

Account Management: Lucy Almond

Managing Director: Jane Callister

Strategy Director: Simon Rich

Production Company: Pure Pictures

Director: Jasmin Tarasin

Producer: India Tarasin

Post Production: White Chocolate

Editor: Gabriella Muir

Audio Post: Sound Reservoir, Barry Stuart

Photography: Lynton Crabb

Media: Pearman Media


Sydney Airport Parking – Easy-peasy parking


Regardless of how far away they live, many Sydneysiders don’t consider parking at the airport when they travel because parking there is not seen as convenient or affordable.

Core Idea

We wanted to flip the assumption that you always get a taxi or lift to the airport by building awareness of parking at Sydney Airport as a smarter option. We decided to make Sydney Airport Parking a sub-brand and thus a simple tangible choice in people’s minds.

Using the cheerful line, ‘Easy-peasy parking’, our new creative work positions Sydney Airport Parking as an approachable, simple, easy and user-friendly option. The campaign imagery uses a world of toy die-cast cars to convey the ease of parking at the airport.


While the ‘Easy-peasy parking’ campaign has only been in market for a short time, both initial brand tracking and sales results have improved. In fact, since launch in mid 2015 revenue growth increased by an estimated 9%.

Following the successful launch, Core was also tasked with overhauling the Sydney Airport Parking online user experience. We simplified the booking process, graphic interface and eDM / CRM to deliver an online experience in-line with the new ‘Easy-peasy’ brand.

QBE Insurance – ‘Send and Switch’


How to overcome consumer reticence to get a competitive insurance quote and then switch, when the process often involves a long phone conversation or completing forms online.

The Core Idea

Core created the concept for ‘Send and Switch’ following a conversation during QBE strategic retail workshop. It became clear that consumers didn’t just want better value or discounted insurance, they wanted to simpler way to get a competitive price.

QBE Send and Switch created a simple new way for consumers to send their existing policy information, all they need to do is snap a photo of their current policy and email it.

The consultants then do all the administration and data entry work before calling the customer to offer QBE’s best possible deal.

We created a new TVC, radio and digital work to launch and explain the concept across key markets.


QBE Send and Switch has made a significant contribution to increased sales since launch.

Core wins The Fred Hollows Foundation


Independent Sydney advertising agency Core is set to create a series of new campaigns for The Fred Hollows Foundation, one of Australia’s most respected charities. The agency has been appointed to handle all creative duties for the international development organisation, which focuses on ending avoidable blindness worldwide.

For the agency’s creative partners, Christian Finucane and Jon Skinner, it is a return to working with a favourite organisation, after the pair first worked with The Foundation some 17 years ago.

The Fred Hollows Foundation was established in 1992 by eye surgeon Professor Fred Hollows and has helped treat and prevent blindness and other vision problems for more than two million people in Australia, the Pacific, South and South East Asia and Africa. Using a simple surgical process pioneered by Fred Hollows, the organisation can restore sight to cataract blind people for just $25 in some countries.

Core will refocus campaigns around the not-for-profit’s inspirational leader Professor Fred Hollows, who continues to be an iconic Australian figure.

Core creative partner Christian Finucane said: “We’re so excited to be back working with The Fred Hollows Foundation. As creative people who work in a predominantly visual business, we have always been drawn to the Foundation’s amazing sight-restoring work. We can’t wait to make another big contribution to this inspiring charity.”

Nick Martin Director of Public Affairs at The Fred Hollows Foundation added: “Fred’s legacy lives on through the support of hundreds of thousands of Australians each year who hear our compelling message for social change. We are looking forward to working with CORE to ensure Fred’s vision of a world without blindness is achieved.”

The agency’s new work will launch in early 2016.

Aussie heroes asked to lend a hand…


IVFAustralia and Melbourne IVF, part of Virtus Health, want to appeal to the Aussie man’s inner hero and encourage them to donate their sperm in a new digital campaign from Core.

Using the tagline ‘Inside every hero there are millions more’, the independent Sydney creative agency has developed the ads featuring a group of emergency service workers including fire fighters and surf life savers.

The selfless nature often associated with an emergency service worker, who devotes their life to saving the lives of others, is also required of the men who volunteer to become sperm donors. Only instead of saving lives, they are helping create lives.

IVFAustralia and Melbourne IVF are part of Virtus Health, the leading fertility services provider in the country with over 100 fertility specialists and more than 1000 nurses, scientists and counsellors responsible for the creation of over 50,000 Australians over the past 30 years.

Core has been working with IVFAustralia since 2012, and this latest campaign will run across social media channels as they enable focussed targeting of males. Sperm donation in Australia is an altruistic act, and there is currently a shortage of donors across the country. The reasons for people needing to access donor sperm are varied, and include heterosexual couples having difficulty conceiving because of a male reproductive issue, single women and women in same sex relationships.

Christian Finucane, creative partner at Core said, “We’ve been working with IVFAustralia for a number of years and it’s great to get this new campaign out there to help drive sperm donation. We had great fun coming up with the campaign, and it’s testament to our collaborative relationship that they back this kind of creative work.”

Peter Illingworth, Medical Director IVFAustralia said, “Through our partnership with Core on this campaign we’re seeking to appeal to the altruism in Australian men and their willingness to help someone out when they need it, in this case that’s people who would not otherwise be able to start or grow their families.”

To find out more about sperm donation click the links below or call 1800 111 483.





Sydney Airport Pronto Valet campaign

Core has recently launched a new campaign for its client, Sydney Airport Parking.

The new outdoor, print, POS and digital work is for Pronto Valet – a convenient service located right next to the terminals that enables passengers to drop off their vehicle and head straight to the gate.


New brand idea for Sydney Airport Parking

Independent Sydney advertising agency Core has launched a new brand positioning for Sydney Airport’s range of parking choices in the agency’s first integrated campaign since winning Sydney Airport’s commercial parking advertising account in April.

Core has introduced the tagline of ‘Easy-Peasy Parking’ to highlight the convenience and value that parking at Sydney Airport offers to passengers, meeters and farewellers and other airport visitors. Colourful imagery of Matchbox-style toy cars has been created to bring a fresh look to the airport’s parking advertising and to reflect how easy it is to park at the airport.
Drivers can choose from six convenient car parks at the airport: two at the T1 Terminal, three at the T2/T3 Terminals, and the budget Blu Emu Car Park which services T2/T3 with complimentary shuttle buses.

Says Christian Finucane, creative partner at Core: “The convenience of parking at Sydney Airport can’t be beaten, and we’ve developed a brand campaign and tagline to communicate that to all airport visitors. We wanted to create an original and bright look to catch the attention of everyone who wants the ease of driving to and from the airport in their own vehicle. In addition, there are also considerable savings to be made by booking online.”

Says Craig Norton, general manager, parking and ground transport, Sydney Airport: “Sydney Airport has invested heavily in improving our car parking facilities in recent years, including the introduction in 2012 of our online parking service which has shown strong growth in popularity with customers since its launch. This new work from Core has been designed to highlight the convenient and cost-effective parking options we have to offer to passengers as well as meeters and farewellers.”

The campaign will initially run across static and digital OOH sites across the airport and on Sydney metro radio, with other media rolling out later in the year.

Creative Partners: Jon Skinner and Christian Finucane
Creative Team: Anthony Ortuso, Jari Kennedy, Jon Skinner and Christian Finucane
Business Director: Jane Callister
Head of Planning: Kirsty Angus
Photographer: Billy Plumber
Radio: Sound Reservoir

Core launches new brand campaign for RSVP

Australia’s leading and most trusted online dating site has launched a refreshed brand idea and a new ‘Find a Keeper’ tagline as part of a major new integrated campaign created by Sydney independent advertising agency Core.

Core, which was appointed to lead the RSVP creative business in June following a pitch, was tasked with contemporising the brand to appeal to a younger audience who want to have fun dating, but equally want to meet like-minded people who are interested in getting into a relationship.

Two 30 second TVCs with 15 second cut-downs will launch across free-to-air and subscription TV this Sunday and are supported by a digital campaign.

Core’s ideas use humour to leverage brand truths and dial up specific product features that illustrate the depth of human connections with real matches to real dates.

Christian Finucane, Creative Partner at Core said: “The category is highly competitive and evolving, but after 18 years RSVP remains the most trusted brand for those looking for meaningful dates. The refreshed brand, ‘Find a Keeper’ tagline and new campaign reflects the changing way people are choosing to meet people and the spots highlight the everyday situations that are relatable to anyone who has been in the dating game.”

Lara Delahunty, Senior Marketing Manager at RSVP said: “RSVP is home-grown, modern, and captures the excitement of dating. The campaign highlights that singles have fun on RSVP, while still making genuine connections, all with an Aussie sense of humour.”



Client: RSVP
CEO: Dave Heysen
Snr Marketing Manager: Lara Delahunty
Partnerships & Events Manager: Renee Dowling

Creative Partners: Christian Finucane, Jon Skinner
Agency Producer: David Steindl
Copywriters: Anthony Ortuso, Zander Williment
Art Director: Jari Kennedy, William Maitland
Head of Planning: Kirsty Angus
Account Manager: Lucy Almond

Production Company: Filmgraphics Entertainment
Director: Ariel Martin
Producer: Tracy Lee-Purmall
Audio Post: Sound Reservoir

Core and RSVP start dating

Core is pleased to announce we have won RSVP, Australia’s leading and most trusted online dating site, following a three-way competitive creative pitch.

Despite increased competition from both free and paid services, more than half of Australians dating online use the locally-owned site, with over 1,200 new members signing up every day.

Core was tasked to work on an acquisition and a new brand campaign, which is set to run across both free and subscription television, plus digital and activation channels.

According to Nielsen’s 2015 ‘Date of the Nation’ research in which 3,500 Australians were surveyed, online dating is the third most popular way to meet potential partners, following meeting through family/friends and work.

Lara Delahunty, senior marketing manager at RSVP said: “The online dating category is evolving fast and we were looking for an agency that can help RSVP continue to grow. Through their strategic and creative thinking Core demonstrated that they will make a great commercial partner.”

Christian Finucane, founder and creative partner at Core said: “The online dating market is competitive with a mix of paid and free services all vying to attract singles. It’s testament to RSVP that after 18 years, the brand remains the most trusted of them all.”

Core promotes partnership between Blu Emu and the Swans

Core has launched a new TVC for its client Sydney Airport. The film is for Blu Emu Car Park, a sub-brand which targets budget airport parkers.

The commercial is being shown at the Swans home games on stadium screens as well as being used across Sydney Airport’s digital and social channels.

Yes, I’ll be there with bells on!


WHEN: Thursday 7th December – 6pm-10pm

WHERE: Rooftop Terrace, East Village Hotel, 234 Palmer Street, Darlinghurst

DRESS: A touch of Chrissie!

Core lands Sydney Airport account

Independent advertising agency Core has been awarded creative duties for Sydney Airport following a four-way creative pitch.

The win for the rapidly growing agency comes after it picked up insurance company QBE and cosmetic brand Ella Baché at the end of the last year, as well as being reappointed to the Victa business following a pitch.

Core has been tasked with growing the airport’s car park business, which makes up a significant part of the airport’s operations. There are some 17,000 car spaces at the airport with three car parks at the domestic terminal, two at international and the long stay Blu Emu facility. All offer a range of products including online pre-booking, drive up and valet services.

The agency won the account based on its strategic and creative thinking presented during the pitch and it will also develop a new sub brand for the car parks following the successful introduction of Blu Emu in 2012. Work on this business starts immediately.

Sydney Airport GM parking and ground transport Craig Norton said Core won the pitch based on its strategic and creative thinking.

“We were impressed with the way Core approached the brief to promote our variety of parking products and their stand-out creative proposals,” Norton said.

“We are looking forward to working with the agency’s very talented team.”

Christian Finucane, creative partner at Core said: “It’s always satisfying when a client selects you based on your creative work and we’re looking forward to working closely with Sydney Airport to get more people to use the wide variety of parking options available there.”

Jon Skinner, creative partner at Core said: “The agency is firing on all cylinders at the moment both in terms of new business and the work we have coming through. We’ve moved into bigger offices and are attracting great talent which is paying dividends.”

Core grows with four new hires

Anthony Ortuso, Jari Kennedy, Lucy Almond and Kristy Albers

With the agency growing fast we are pleased to welcome some new guys to the team!

Core has added copywriter Anthony Ortuso and art director Jari Kennedy after its recent appointment by Sydney Airport, insurance giant QBE and cosmetic brand Ella Baché.

Creative team Ortuso and Kennedy are both graduates of Award School and before joining Core worked at VCCP and Circul8, among other agencies. The duo picked up a number of accolades, including a recent Webby nomination, for an Amnesty International Tinder campaign. It reminded Australian women that not all women in the world are as empowered as they are. The team has worked on brands including, Appliances Online, ING and Toga Hotels.

Joining them is account executive Lucy Almond who comes from UK agency Bray Leino. She will be working on the QBE and Sydney Airport accounts. The final addition is project manager Kristy Albers, who will help manage the agency’s workflow, creative resources and material delivery.

Christian Finucane, creative partner at Core said: “We’re growing as an agency and we need talented people to help us manage that as well as delivering results for our clients. Anthony and Jari are up-and-coming creative stars who demonstrated in our recent Sydney Airport pitch they can deliver attention-grabbing campaigns. Lucy and Kristy will bolster our account management team and ensure everything continues to run smoothly as we scale up. It’s exciting times at Core and we welcome them.”

Jane Callister joins Core as Business Director

Following a string of new business wins including the QBE Insurance account and Ella Baché, Sydney creative agency Core has appointed Jane Callister as Business Director.

The senior appointment is one of several recent hires at the agency to grow its account service, strategic planning and design resources.

Jane was hired from M&C Saatchi where she was running the NRMA Insurance account – an account she also looked after at its prior agency TBWA. Her experience includes running the Kellogg, AXA, PZ Cussons and George Weston Foods accounts at agencies including DDB, JWT and Grey.

Christian Finucane, Core Creative Partner said, “We’re stoked that Jane has joined the Core team. Her track record in highly competitive brand categories including insurance and FMCG is second to none.”

Jane Callister, Core Business Director said, “The opportunity to join Core and work across its client list was a no-brainer. I love the insurance category and the work we have planned for QBE make it a very exciting time to join the agency.”

Jon Skinner, Core Creative Partner said, “As Core continues to grow our partnerships with clients it’s great to have Jane’s big brand experience in the agency. She understands what drives brands and is a perfect fit for our creative culture.”

Core clients include QBE Australia & NZ and QBE Group, Victa, Ella Baché, NSW Government, IVF Australia, Scotts and The Kids’ Cancer Project.

Core creates new retail campaign for QBE Insurance

Core has just completed its first campaign for recently won client, QBE Insurance.

The integrated campaign includes TVCs, outdoor, print, radio and digital and promotes three retail offers for its Home and Car insurance products.

The tactical campaign went live at the weekend and is running in key markets in NSW and WA.

The campaign features a QBE man working hard on a pump to blow up inflatables that promote the various retail offers.

The TVC campaign was directed by Ariel Martin through Filmographies Entertainment. The CGI animation and post were delivered by Fanatic Films and the audio and music by Sound Reservoir.

QBE Insurance – Retail – 25pc from Core on Vimeo.

QBE Insurance – Retail – Laptop from Core on Vimeo.

QBE Insurance – Retail – Inflatable from Core on Vimeo.

Core launches new Victa V-Force+ range

Innovation is the focus of a new integrated campaign created by Core for its client Victa.

The work launches Victa’s new V-Force+ range of Lithium-ion powered garden equipment.

Laura Clarke, Victa’s Marketing Communications Manager says, “Innovation is at the very heart of Victa. Our new Victa V-Force+ range is testament to this.”

The campaign includes TVC, outdoor, print, radio and digital. Victa V-Force+ commercial focuses on the insight that consumers can now feel confident in the performance of battery powered garden equipment.

To communicate the ease in which the new V-Force+ range can get the job done, the TVC shows people ‘winning’ with the new tools in the garden.

Victa V-Force+ from Core on Vimeo.

Core bolsters account service team with Dan Parritt

Following a run of new business account wins, Dan Parritt has joined the Core team as Account Director.

Dan will be working across key Core accounts including QBE Insurance, Victa, Ella Baché and our government business.

Dan joined Core from a client-side role where he ran the advertising, digital and social marketing programs for Urban Purveyor Group – a specialist alcohol brands and restaurant group.

His experience also includes the Bulletproof agency in London where he led a team working with a number of international brands including Coca-Cola & Beam Global. His responsibilities included strategic development, delivering branding solutions and – simply put – get the brand into the basket.

Dan’s a great addition to the Core team – welcome!

Core wins QBE Insurance account

Following a competitive creative pitch, Core has won the QBE Australia account.

Core’s appointment marks the insurer’s plans to elevate its position in the highly competitive insurance category.

Christian Finucane, Core Creative Partner said, “We’re over the moon they selected Core’s idea to help them achieve that”.

Jon Skinner, Core Creative Partner said, “The QBE marketing team were receptive to innovative thinking from our very first meeting. The win is a significant one for us and will help deliver a genuine commercial difference for QBE”.

The agency is currently working on campaigns that will be rolled out in key markets across television, digital, outdoor and print media.

Jenny Boddington, Executive General Manager responsible for marketing at QBE Australia, said, “We are continuing to build QBE as a great differentiated option for consumers in what is a cluttered market and we are enthusiastic about Core’s ability to help us achieve this”.

Core has also been working with QBE Group, the insurer’s Head Office, since January this year to create customer and internal communications campaigns.

The QBE Insurance account adds to recent Core new business wins that include Victa and Ella Baché.

Core wins digital and social creative for Ella Baché

Skincare brand Ella Baché has appointed Core to develop its digital, social and content strategy and creative as the brand looks to drive customer engagement and sales for its Australian network of franchisee beauty salons.

Core will work with Ella Baché creative director, Faie Davis, to create campaigns in line with the brand’s positioning of, ‘No two skins are alike’. Ella Baché Australia CEO Pippa Hallas said, “We are pleased to appoint Core as our creative agency partner. The work we are doing with them will better integrate our marketing programs and introduce our brand into more consumer conversations.”

Core Creative Partner Christian Finucane said, “Ella Baché is an amazing business and iconic brand in Australia. The opportunity to closely work with the team to drive results through digital is one that’s right up our street.”

Core retains Victa account following creative pitch

Following a competitive pitch, Core has retained creative duties for the iconic Australian garden equipment brand, Victa.

Core has been working on the brand with Victa’s parent company, Briggs & Stratton Australia, since winning the business in a competitive pitch in 2011.

The 2014 spring campaign will extend across TV, outdoor, radio and digital. It will promote Victa’s trusted lawn mowers as well as launching an innovative new sub-brand range.

Laura Clarke, Marketing Communications Manager at Briggs & Stratton Australia said: “We will soon be launching an exciting new range of Victa garden power equipment and, thus, required a strong creative strategy to achieve cut-through and engage with our target market.” “As such, it was crucial to have a concept which would deliver growth for our channels and build brand awareness, and the ideas presented by Core ticked all the boxes. The combination of our new range and Core’s creative concepts ensure we’re looking forward to a very exciting season.”

Core has previously developed campaigns to launch Victa’s expansion into other outdoor powered garden equipment, in addition to creating brand development and packaging design to launch Victa Pro, a sub-brand targeting the growing ‘prosumer’ category.

Christian Finucane, Creative Partner at Core said: “Core has been fortunate enough to work with Victa for a few years now. As one of the most trusted and innovative brands in Australia it is always exciting to launch new campaigns for them.”

NSW Gambling Help – You’re Not Alone


How the organisation should use the internet to reach out to problem gamblers about the counselling services on offer?

The Core Idea

Core conducted a strategic review of the aims, ambitions and opportunities for the digital and mobile channels for NSW Gambling Help.

We learned that problem gamblers, their families and their workmates wanted to reach out for help and counselling services on their terms and in their own timeframe. The user’s desire to stay anonymous was also a key consideration.

However, the key insight we uncovered was that gamblers who are seeking to better understand their issues are empowered by discovering how others have overcome their gambling problem. So we created an online community under the theme of, ‘You’re not alone’.

The forum-centric website enables the easy upload and sharing of audio, video and written success stories from reformed gamblers, supporters and professional counsellors.


The website has only been live a few months, but analytics show that traffic, engagement time and return visitor metrics have all exceeded the targets.

Leave room for random…

In a piece printed in today’s AdNews magazine, Core Creative Partner Christian Finucane, wonders what happened to all the spontaneity and randomness in our lives…

Click on the article below and check it out…

Australian Creative – Rules or Rebellion?

Core Creative Partner, Christian Finucane was recently asked to contribute to an Australian Creative magazine article that posed the question, ‘Rules or Rebellion?’

Click on the clipping below to read it…

NSW Gambling Help – Mobile App


How to encourage responsible gambling and promote awareness of the counselling services available on the Gambling Help website.

The Core Idea

Following a competitive pitch, Core created an innovative smartphone app, ‘Stay on track’ which has been designed to encourage positive behavioral change for gamblers.

The app enables users to set a betting budget, update their bets (losses and wins) and track how they are doing via a simple visual dashboard. The app is a useful and ongoing tool for all forms of gamblers, both online and offline, from pokie rooms to the racetrack. It also provides access to simple advice and tips on how to keep gambling spending in check, as well as links to online chat and SMS reminders.

Our concept is straightforward in that we believe if a user can simply visualise their level of spending then they’re better placed to address it before it becomes an escalating problem.


With the app and campaign only just launched it’s too early to provide figures. The success of the initiative will be measured in helping people to better recognise the signs of problem gambling and to know where they can receive help.

“We want to give people tools to better monitor their gambling spending and reach out to those who are looking for help. We believe the ‘Stay on Track’ app created by Core will help people recognise sooner if their betting is becoming a problem for them.”

Jenny Crocker, Senior Communication Consultant, Responsible Gambling Fund, NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing.

Core clients combine for Father’s Day

Core clients, Victa and Scotts Australia, have combined to create a promotion with Fairfax Community Newspapers that celebrates the joy of gardening with dad! The winner of the promotion will receive a $14,000 garden makeover.

Read more about it and meet the semi-finalists who were recently announced…

Core Clients Fathers Day


Aussies vote Victa most trusted brand in Gardening Equipment

Core client Victa has just landed a huge accolade in the 2013 Reader Digest ‘Most Trusted Brand’ Awards. Victa took out the award in the Gardening Equipment category. Victa is a truly amazing Aussie brand and one that we are proud to work with at Core. We hope the recent brand campaign we created continues to help the brand achieve great things!

The excerpt below is taken from the Victa award entry:

With a heritage spanning more than 60 years, Victa is a brand that’s synonymous with garden and lawn care. With its focus on quality, practicality and value for money, it’s little wonder that Victa has become a household name in australia. Well-known for its then unique rotary lawnmower – created by Aussie inventor Mervyn Victor Richardson in 1952 – Victa has used its expertise to expand into a complete range of outdoor power equipment products.

Victa makes everything you need to create and maintain a great garden – from edgers to hedgers, trimmers to chainsaws, ride-ons to outdoor vacuums/blowers. Victa products are made and tested to ensure they’re suitable for Australia’s harsh environmental conditions.

Victa’s emphasis on the values of innovation, high quality and hard work has helped underpin its position as a renowned australian brand – one that’s readily identifiable and trusted by australian consumers. With many of Victa’s mowers still being assembled in the company’s Sydney manufacturing plant, Victa will continue to be a household name for many years to come.


“Have owned a Victa mower since 1988 and it just keeps going and going – it never lets me down.”
MALE, 60-64, WA

“Victa is the best as far as I am concerned.”

“My dad had a Victa lawnmower and it lasted for about 30 years.”
FEMALE, 50-54, QLD

“Their mowers seem to go on forever.”
FEMALE, 70-74, NSW


Victa brand press ad

B&T Creative Focus

The B&T magazine regular creative forum asked Core Creative Partner, Christian Finucane, what’s hot and what’s not…

CF Creative Review BandT Cropped

The ‘Colour of Money’ in AdNews

Core Creative Partner, Christian Finucane, ponders the value of colour in this article first published in AdNews magazine.


The 10 commandments of marketing in challenging times

This opinion piece by Core Managing Partner, Duncan Wakes-Miller, was first published in Marketing Magazine.

With economic uncertainty and the changing political landscape, how can marketers adapt to seize opportunity?
Developing effective strategies in uncertain times provides a good test for marketers. A challenge, I would suggest, that not only requires innovation but importantly a good dollop of old-fashioned common sense and the ability to keep your feet firmly on the ground.

When we started our business in 2008 the timing could not have been worse, as we were gripped in the clutches of the global financial crisis. I remember an early discussion with one of our clients. He asked me what I thought are the key things that marketers need to be aware of when marketing in tough times. In response to this thought-provoking question I pulled together a list of things that I thought were important, based on my experience and the conditions of the market at the time.

Without any religious parallels, but with the aim to elevate them in importance, I termed them ‘The 10 commandments of marketing in challenging times’. I’ve revisited them to see if they still hold up to the scrutiny of the market conditions we find ourselves in today.

I’m glad I did because it made me feel enthused about the opportunities the future offers. While there are many important lessons to be learned from the past, I believe the current economic climate represents an outstanding opportunity for marketers to make a difference. If we can harness the monster of big data and meaningfully leverage the power of social channels, then I believe there’s never been a greater opportunity for marketers to secure their brand’s place in the future.

C1Commandment 1: Remain steadfastly loyal to core values, without exception
There’s an old saying, ‘A principle isn’t a principle until it costs you something.’ This is not the time to waver.

A brand’s core values should be closely embraced during tough times, despite the obvious commercial pressures for compromise. Whether it’s quality, manufacturing process, ingredients, time or service standards that are the brand’s DNA, everything must be done to uphold its integrity. Do not compromise quality, transparency, service or whatever it is that sets you apart. Transgressions will be remembered, but the context will not. Rigid adherence to the principles that define you will see them become even more entrenched, not only internally but externally too.

An example of ignoring this commandment is the recent self-deprecating campaign from Vodafone in Australia. It illustrates the cost that brands may need to reinvest if they stray from core principles and let customers down. Vodafone customers deserved better service and for too long didn’t get it. A new CEO and more customer-centric leadership in their business is good news. However, customers have long memories and it will take a relatively long cycle of mobile phone contracts and a heap more trust before Vodafone gets back to the revenues and customer numbers they once had.

C2Commandment 2: Embrace external relationships – customers, suppliers and distributors
Following the aforementioned Vodafone example, retaining existing customers will always be easier than acquiring new ones. It’s a truth that applies in equal measure to both suppliers and distributors. All too often relationships are sacrificed in the face of economic hardship. But this is an opportunity to create advocates for any brand, business, or company. Great relationships make for brand champions and when you’re in the trenches is the time to be building great relationships.

I would argue that genuine partnerships and the emergence and importance of CSR initiatives in business today represent a tangible economic advantage and a win-win for all.

Pinterest and its phenomenal growth is but another example of how the sharing of passions and ideas via a digital scrap book can so quickly galvanise a movement and embrace relationships through visual storytelling. Something not conceivable on this scale but a year ago.

Disregard this commandment at your peril.

C3Commandment 3: Understand that value perceptions have changed
This simple value equation is a wonderful reminder of what is really important.

Value is not the same as price (despite what many would have us believe). Instead, ‘value’ is a function of ‘perceived benefit’ and ‘price’. Of course, a raising or lowering of price can directly influence value, but far more effective, and indeed more economically sustainable, is the manipulation of perceived benefit. While high-priced status brands are the most obvious manifestation of this, the underlying principle holds true for any consumer transaction.

With all the data and insights we have at our disposal today there is no excuse for not understanding the value that customers want, and importantly, what they don’t want. Perceptions are all-important, and must be carefully understood.

C4Commandment 4: Make price a strategy, not a tactic
Discounting is not only defensive, but also self-defeating. Unless you ‘own’ the category, it is a battle that can’t be won. It might prop up the value equation in the short term, but will compromise long-term margins. Consider price in the context of the value equation, never in isolation. Price can be deployed strategically. Is there an opportunity to create a new market segment? Does an unmet need exist? Or how else might the value equation be reframed?

The fast-food restaurant marketers of ‘golden arches’ fame are masters of using price as a strategy, and one that we are all perhaps too frequently made aware of. For example, their restaurant traffic strategy in summer months, and the weight of media spend behind the 99c ice cream suggests this price tactic supports an overall commercial strategic imperative in a simple and effective way.

Though, as an aside, I wonder how long such tactics will remain palatable as the obesity debate unfolds and as a country we feature higher on the world obesity charts.

C5Commandment 5: Use creativity and brand as weapons
Building the brand and generating sales revenue are not mutually exclusive objectives. Nor should they ever be considered as such.

The combination of creative excellence and commercial relevance can’t be rivalled. In fact, brand equity and emotional engagement can powerfully defend higher prices in the context of the value equation previously discussed. Creativity, after all, remains the last and most enduring competitive advantage.

A wonderful example of how creative and brand can provide incredible cut-through is The North Face and their campaign in China. The North Face is traditionally know as the brand that joined forces with the world’s finest outdoor athletes ‘to define the limits of what is humanly possible.’ They took a different approach in the Chinese market based on an insight that for centuries Chinese poets had found rejuvenation in nature.Today, as people find less time to enjoy the benefits of nature, particularly if you live in a big Chinese city, there is still a tangible desire to return to the outdoors to ‘refresh’ oneself. This insight led to the development of the provocative ‘Go Wild’ campaign.

The campaign links a new ‘outdoors movement’ with deeply-held beliefs about how the power of nature can renew the spirit. Ads in the campaign include ancient Chinese poets, depicted in the traditional Chinese painting style, wearing North Face gear.

I love this campaign, as it’s a big idea for a contemporary brand founded on insights about deeply-held cultural beliefs.

C6Commandment 6: Market first, share second, volume third
Conventional wisdom suggests that defending market share in tough times will result in volume increases when the market upturn arrives. This is sound in theory but outmoded thinking today. The current downturn sees more data available than ever before, greater and increasing media fragmentation, the relentless rise of social media channels and growing question marks over traditional segmentation models. Never has there been a better time to not only redefine target markets, but also the nature and number of market segments that comprise them.

I would suggest that McKinsey and Company is correct in their assertion that, ‘The use of big data will become a key basis of competition and growth for individual firms. From the standpoint of competitiveness and the potential capture of value, all companies need to take big data seriously.

Are you capitalising on the data available to you today?

C7Commandment 7: Elevate employee initiatives
In turbulent times, our internal emphasis needs to be as important as our external one.

Employees will typically be feeling uncertain, unsure and unsettled. Morale and motivation might be down with the corresponding impact on output. In some instances employees might be seen to be slavishly busy (often on the wrong stuff) just to look like they are indispensable. This is an opportunity to inspire, motivate and prepare for the future with the emphasis on constructive authentic outcomes.

The saying, ‘People buy from people’ applies to sales and the fact that people work for people should also never be forgotten.

C8Commandment 8: Redefine ROI
Never will marketing budgets be under greater scrutiny than in tough times around the end of financial year and just prior to a general election. Like… right now.

The inevitable pressure will be to reduce costs wherever possible and justify any investment decision. But beware of ‘top-down’ or ‘blanket budgeting’, such as an across-the-board percentage cut. This might result in certain projects, initiatives or even media channels no longer being viable options at all. Better to plan from scratch with an understanding of the funds available, than to attempt the delivery of an earlier plan without the required budget to do so effectively.

Furthermore, while it follows that a revised plan and a reviewed investment strategy will demand a redefining of the expected returns. I would argue that this environment of budget austerity also presents the potential for unconventional solutions and strategic innovation. A great advantage of Australia’s generally strong economy is the safety it represents. However, some would argue that the downside is that it has merely created a more conservative and risk-averse environment that is stifling innovation.

It is our jobs as marketers to think differently and challenge the norms with unconventional wisdom to deliver on the investment at hand.

C9Commandment 9: Panic slowly
Panic can create tunnel vision, encourage poor decision-making and ultimately create more harm than good. All too often the rally cry is to ‘focus on the issue,’ at the expense of all else. I’m drawn to a war analogy that an old friend of mine told me. No environment is more likely to induce panic than the battlefield. But there it is for the soldier to ‘focus’ and the officer to consider all available options. The officer never carries a rifle, as it is not for him to be ‘focused’ on only one target.

Tough times demand a need for a heightened sense of awareness, as a conscious marketer is a more effective one. Ask yourself how you react or respond to sticky situations. The marketing battlefield requires you to be an officer not a soldier.

C10Commandment 10: Act today, but plan for tomorrow
A wise man once told me that the future is not what it used to be. It’s no longer some distant idea or notion. In fact, so exponential is the rate of change that tomorrow will arrive very quickly indeed and you will need to be prepared. Years ago, when I was at Dell we had a phrase, ‘Don’t drive using the rearview mirror.’ It couldn’t be more true today.

To be an effective strategic marketer in tough times I believe we need to harness the past and embrace the future. The social media and data revolution represent an irresistible opportunity. If you don’t relish the unfamiliarity and seize upon the uncertainty of this moment in time to make a difference, then find someone who does.

As Steve Waugh once famously said when he was about to try to win back The Ashes: “It’s no time for regrets.”

So, in summary, here are the 10 commandments of marketing in challenging times:

1. Remain steadfastly loyal to core values, without exception,
2. Embrace external relationships – customers, suppliers and distributors,
3. Understand value perceptions have changed,
4. Make price a strategy, not a tactic,
5. Use creativity and brand as weapons,
6. Market first, share second, volume third,
7. Elevate the importance of employee initiatives,
8. Redefine ROI,
9. Panic slowly
10. Act today, plan for tomorrow.

Christian Finucane rejoins AWARD Committee

Core Creative Partner, Christian Finucane, has rejoined the AWARD Committee to help promote creative industry standards across the region. It is his second stint on the committee and his ambition for this tenure is to help all industry partners to better realise the commercial power of great ideas.


The AWARD press release reads:

Industry creative, Christian Finucane is returning to take a seat on the AWARD committee after first working with AWARD from 2004 to 2006.

Finucane is co-founder and creative partner of 12:20 and Core, businesses that work directly with their own clients as well as other brand strategy companies and agencies in Australia and across Asia. The AWARD Committee’s mandate is to reflect the diversity and experience of the broader creative industries and champion new and original thinking in the Australasian region

Says Mark Harricks, executive creative director JWT Sydney: “Our industry is made up of many different types of creative businesses and so, with Christian’s experience in establishing alternate creative agencies, we are very pleased to welcome him to the committee. Working with numerous brands and businesses in the region, he brings a valuable perspective to the table.”

Says Finucane: “I’m delighted to be invited to play a role in the future of AWARD. As the creative industry continues to evolve the importance of a strong and relevant member organisation is now more critical than ever. With the current industry chatter seemingly obsessed with social and data, it’s a great time to be in a position to help promote the necessity of the big idea.”

Finucane joins existing committee members: Tom Uglow, Wilf Sweetland, Tom Martin, Chris Gillespie, Ian Fowler, Hamish Grieve, Joe Hawkins and Damon Stapleton.The committee works across several portfolios, including: AWARD membership, events, the annual AWARD Awards and the education portfolio.

Don’t Punish Us – The Social Petition


How to inform and engage responsible bar-goers of new laws being forced on venues, in a bid to counter alcohol-related violence.

The Core Idea

Our idea to engage and rally the overwhelming majority of bar-goers, the responsible drinkers, to speak up against the harsh new restrictions and add their names to an online petition.

We created a microsite,, and integrated it with social media platforms and mobile technology so people could simply join the cause and share the message across their social groups.

The multi-channel media and experiential campaign we created and produced deployed activation teams in venues with cameras that took photographs of willing patrons to join the petition. These numbers were further boosted with the ability of people to join the campaign using the cameras on their smartphones.

The campaign, from concept to producing the website and managing the on-premise activations was delivered in market in just three weeks.


The results were over 35,000 photographs and names of responsible bar-goers on the petition that was handed to the NSW State Premier, plus seven days straight front page media coverage. In the following weeks the reactionary laws were amended as a consequence of social media and mainstream pressure. The campaign vastly exceeded expectations and the original petition target of 5,000 people was surpassed in the first week.

“The front page news the campaign attracted was one of the key factors in the project’s success.”