We’ve Moved

You’ll find us at our new home:

http://mediacounselblog.co.nz

Same content, just a better hosting platform (so we can add a few more bells and whistles).

See you there!

 

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Innocent Until Tweeted Guilty

The NZ Crown Law Office is conducting a review of internet publication, in an attempt to evaluate whether the Web 2.0 curse (anybody can and does comment on anything) means that traditional legal conventions such as suppression orders, presumption of innocence and the like can no longer be enforced.

You may recall the outcry in August 2008 when Judge David Harvey of the Manukau District Court ruled that the names and images of two men accused of murder must not be reported on the internet but could still feature in traditional media. It was a bold attempt to restore the rule of law, from one of our most cyber-savvy judges, but the global nature of the Internet ultimately made it impossible to avoid the prohibited information leaking out.

Similarly, suppressed information was posted on the Internet during the trial of three police officers on historical sex offences. And the issue arose again during Clayton Weatherston’s murder trial this year when social networking websites posted comments from people assuming his guilt.

The quaint notion of being considered innocent until proven guilty dates back at least to Roman times: ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat (the burden of proof rests on who asserts, not on who denies). Alas, in today’s privacy-free virtual glass houses, throwing stones has become a popular sport.

Marketing Manifesto October 2009

In the latest issue of our Marketing Manifesto enewsletter, out now:

  • Economic Recovery: Are We There Yet?
    We look at current NZ economic conditions and review the marketing prospects for 2010
  • Television 2010: First Look
    What’s coming up on TV over the next 12 months (including details of new season shows on TV3 and C4)
  • Google: Yellow Peril?
    All about Local Listing Ads and the dangers they pose for our own Yellow
  • Gone in 2.3 Seconds
    New in-store marketing research revealed
  • Game-Changing
    All about Disney’s new paradigm-shifting technology offering
  • Coming Attractions
    Highlights of forthcoming movies

If you’d like a free copy of our newsletter, just email us at newsletter@mediacounsel.co.nz

Phoenix Film Awards – Deadline Extended

The Phoenix Awards recognise creativity and professional skills in the production of commercial films, video and digital images for advertising and promotional purposes.

There are other awards that honour popular movies, film actors, TV programmes and even TV presenters but the Phoenix Awards pay homage to the work of individuals – the skilled professionals who toil behind every television commercial and promotional piece appearing on television, in cinemas, on the Internet or mobile device.

The Awards cover television commercials (film and animation), programme trailers, station identities, mobile and Internet advertising and promotion, film credits and movie advertising.

The Awards are intended to reward the best directors, cameramen, animators, art directors, set designers, editors, composers and sound engineers.

A single Gold, Silver and Bronze award will be presented in each category for those reaching the top standard with Finalist certificates to all those entries reaching the final judging round.

The awards are open to advertising agencies, film production companies, editing houses, animation studios, special effect firms, individual directors and cinematographers, composers, set designers, makeup artists, sound engineers and film schools.

Closing Deadline is now 26 October 2009. To enter go to http://www.PhoenixFilmAwards.com.

They’re Back!

Telecom returned to online shopping last night, with the launch of Yahoo!Xtra’s new shopping portal (powered by Hubsta Ltd.).

A few words from the press release that announced the launch:

Yahoo!Xtra announced the launch of the new Yahoo!Xtra Shopping website, offering over 10,000 products for sale: everything from appliances to wine, cosmetics, flowers and gifts. The experience is seamless: one site, one shopping cart and one easy check-out process.
Yahoo!Xtra Shopping carries a wide selection of leading global brands including computers & peripherals from Canon and Hewlett Packard; Toys from Mattel and Hasbro; and cosmetics from Clarins and Smashbox.  New brands and product ranges will be added in the weeks leading up to Christmas, with some brands pre-releasing their hottest new products exclusively on Yahoo!Xtra Shopping.  In addition, Yahoo!Xtra Shopping also has strong relationships with leading New Zealand retailers including Smith & Caughey’s, Stevens, Nest and Lighting Direct.
A continuing focus of the new site will be on daily deals: 24-hour online sales on products spanning across every category. As an added incentive, daily deals will also include free shipping.

Yahoo!Xtra announced the launch of the new Yahoo!Xtra Shopping website, offering over 10,000 products for sale: everything from appliances to wine, cosmetics, flowers and gifts. The experience is seamless: one site, one shopping cart and one easy check-out process.

Yahoo!Xtra Shopping carries a wide selection of leading global brands including computers & peripherals from Canon and Hewlett Packard; Toys from Mattel and Hasbro; and cosmetics from Clarins and Smashbox.  New brands and product ranges will be added in the weeks leading up to Christmas, with some brands pre-releasing their hottest new products exclusively on Yahoo!Xtra Shopping.  In addition, Yahoo!Xtra Shopping also has strong relationships with leading New Zealand retailers including Smith & Caughey’s, Stevens, Nest and Lighting Direct.

A continuing focus of the new site will be on daily deals: 24-hour online sales on products spanning across every category. As an added incentive, daily deals will also include free shipping.

First look at the new shopping site reveals a focus on daily deals (following in the footsteps of similar sites), with what appears to be attractive loss-leader deals. The proof of the pudding will be in the purchasing — we await progress reports with interest.

Travel Tidbits Revealed

Sometimes research tells us stuff that we really shouldn’t know.

For example? We’ve just found out that:

  • 2% of Kiwis who’ve travelled over the last six months got lucky in love;
  • a sad and desperate 6% of us were travelling “to get away from someone”; and
  • 5% of us “did something we never expected on our trip” such as sleeping in the street!

Kiwis’ favourite international destinations:

  1. Australia
  2. USA
  3. United Kingdom
  4. Fiji
  5. Thailand

These results and more come from the Fly Buys/Colmar Brunton study Mood of the New Zealand Traveller, a new quarterly survey released by the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand last week.

The survey found that over 2.6 million Kiwis spent at least one night away from home for leisure in the past six months, and 80% said they’d spend more nights away if they could (money was their biggest barrier).

It also found that 22% of Kiwis were still considering their options for Labour weekend.
.

Sources of frustration over Christmas/New Year?
Respondents were asked what drove them crazy over the holiday period.

  • 13% cited Traffic
  • 11% Relations (not staying with you)
  • 7% Christmas dinner
  • 3% Relations (staying with you)
  • 3% Money

43%, on the other hand, claimed to be stress free over Christmas/New Year (which we think hopelessly rose-tinted). Perhaps it’s just that in September (when the current survey was held) Christmas still seemed far away and a welcome relief from the woes of 2009.

The Fly Buys/Colmar Brunton Mood of the New Zealand Traveller surveys 1000 New Zealanders aged 18 and over and will be repeated each quarter. The survey aims to give tourism operators an insight into New Zealanders’ motivations for travel, what encourages them to travel and prevents them from travelling more.

But please, future survey respondents, remember that what happens on tour stays on tour.

Customer Reviews Drive Sales

How do you research stuff before you decide what to buy?

71% of us read product reviews (written by other consumers) before we buy, according to Forrester Research. It’s not that we don’t trust manufacturers and retailers — but we’ve all learned (sometimes the hard way) that we can’t always rely on objective assessments from those who are trying to sell us stuff.

Consumers are becoming used to searching for customer-created reviews when they shop online. Internet shoppers rank reviews as the most desired feature of a Web site, according to Forrester Research. “People want to talk among themselves,” says Jacqueline Anderson, a senior consultant at Forrester.

Adds Larry Freed, CEO of ForeSee Results, which provides customer satisfaction surveys for Web sites: “If they leave your site to look for reviews, they most likely won’t come back.”

So how comfortable do you feel, allowing customers to review your products on your own website? What if (shock, horror!) they don’t like what they’ve bought — and tell other visitors to your own site?

Talk to Jim Hobart about that. The online store he co-founded, AlpacaDirect.com, always offered a page full of cherry-picked customer comments raving about the site’s alpaca sweaters, socks and yarn. But recently Hobart decided to take the idea a step further: He hired PowerReviews, whose software lets shoppers write their own product reviews directly on the retailer’s Web site.

It was a risky move for the four-year-old company. Hobart was effectively paying to host bad press — such as posts by customers who described AlpacaDirect’s golf cardigan as “kinda sweaty” and a “poor fit.” Both awarded the cardigan three out of a possible five stars.

But a month after installing the PowerReviews service, Hobart saw sales climb 23% on items that had customer reviews (even that cardigan, which garnered an average of four stars).

“People are really researching their purchases,” he says. “We knew our customers liked our products, and we wanted them to tell one another.”

Online reviews have been spreading ever since Amazon.com pioneered them in 1997. But today’s customer feedback software is growing more sophisticated, more personal and more affordable for small businesses.

Finding good review software isn’t easy, as Hobart discovered. He was turned on to the idea in 2006 after offering 2,200 AlpacaDirect products via Amazon, where he noticed that products with customer reviews typically sold better. He investigated free review software but decided not to use the programs because they required extensive customization.

Hobart went with  PowerReviews Express. The software sends e-mails to customers who have made purchases and invites them to submit reviews. The feedback system includes a text box for comments and the all-important five-star rating system. PowerReviews’ staff members read every review and remove posts they deem obscene or libelous. Otherwise, everything is fair game.

It’s important that site owners resist the temptation to edit or delete reviews they don’t like. “If everything is positive, that raises a red flag among consumers,” says Forrester’s Anderson. According to market research firm Keller Fay Group, 87% of consumers tend to write reviews when they have positive things to say.

And even negative reviews can be beneficial. When one customer grumbled that a photo of a yarn spool misrepresented its shade of green, Hobart responded by posting a new photo. He also appended a comment to the negative review saying that the problem had been dealt with.

Oh yeah — and don’t fake any reviews. Such tactics are easy to spot and roundly condemned (as Telecom’s former online shopping operation quickly found out, when the Ferrit was outed by Ana Samways’ and Steven Shaw’s Spareroom blog, back in the day).