Prankvertising – Cheap Lols or a Genuine Strategy?

A couple of episodes ago, the panel at Gruen Planet looked at the phenomenon of ‘prankvertising’ – advertising and PR stunts based on a prank or trick in an attempt to generate publicity.

Chances are you’ve seen prankvertising pop up on your Facebook feed.

Like this one:

And it wouldn’t be a blog on prankvertising without mentioning this one:

The content is created to shock, entertain and, when done successfully, generate publicity for the brand/cause/product. The above videos have both hit well over the ‘one million view’ mark, creating a viral river of shares, likes and comments behind them.

Additionally, the content allows brands to focus on generating exposure on digital platforms, steering spend away from traditional advertising and PR.

Are these videos strategic in that the content has resulted in huge brand exposure and millions of people talking about their video? Or do the videos miss the mark – providing viewers with a good laugh, and not much else?

To put it simply, does the LG ad make you want to buy the TV? Did the Carrie coffee shop prank convince you to head to the movies?

When done strategically, prankvertising can generate talk for all of the right reasons.

Like the following piece by Leo Burnett London:

Didn’t see that coming did you? The clip leaves you thinking, which is exactly the aim of the piece – to leave the viewer with a message (don’t drink and drive), as opposed to selling a product. This is prankvertising done well.

But it doesn’t always have to be shocking. Take it from our friends in New Zealand, who decided to fill an unsuspecting mates plumbing with Tui beer:

A successful prankvertising piece thinks of the target market audience and crafts a clever enough prank that will have the ‘viral effect’ among the intended audience. For Tui Beer, they hit the nail on the head.

What do you think? Is prankvertising the ‘cheap laughs’ of the digital advertising world? Or when done well, can it generate greater brand publicity than traditional advertising and PR?


Hollie Azzopardi, Account Manager for Stolen Quotes.

Media and Politics

With a looming election and faltering economy, newspapers in Australia are rife with exasperate, dramatic headlines, instilling fear and negativity into the households of Australia.

On Monday August 5, the first day of election campaigning, Sydney newspaper The Daily Telegraph ran a front-page article with the headline “Finally you now have the chance to KICK THIS MOB OUT” accompanied by a picture of Kevin Rudd.

This now infamous moment in Australian political journalism has lead to an outcry of opinion pieces quick to blame Murdoch, the journalists involved, News Limited, and the list goes on.

While it is the media’s job to portray news and current affairs consistently and factually to the public, lately the line has become blurred between what is fact and what is opinion.

The Journalism Code of Ethics states that Australian journalists must:

1. Report and interpret honestly, striving for accuracy, fairness and disclosure of all essential facts. Do not suppress relevant available facts, or give distorting emphasis.

2. Disclose conflicts of interest that affect, or could be seen to affect, the accuracy, fairness or independence of your journalism. Do not improperly use a journalistic position for personal gain.

Log on to your online newspaper of choice and readers are confronted with the question – is Murdoch abusing his power by clearly influencing the content of his News Limited publications?

Some say yes, Murdoch’s control of over 65% of all newspaper circulation in Australia is a gross abuse of power, and should not be allowed – particularly with an election in the wings and an obvious political agenda on the cards.

However others fairly state that in a democratic country, readers are free and able to make up their own minds. Do we really believe everything the media presents us?

I’d be interested to hear your thoughts – do you think the above is an abuse of the media’s power, or do you take everything you read with a grain of salt?


Hollie Azzopardi, Account Manager for Stolen Quotes



Does the Public Relations Industry Suffer From Bad PR?

“And what do you do for a living, Sarah?”

“I work in Public Relations”

“Oh … Okay. You don’t really seem like the PR type.”

I’ve had this conversation a few times since I started working in the PR industry a year ago. For many people, when they think “PR” they imagine huge ‘Gatsby-like’ launch parties, celebrity gossip columns and fashion events. Some people even think my job is to write spin stories for politicians caught in sex scandals. For an industry that sells reputation management as a valuable service, still maintaining this stereotype isn’t great news.

I’ll be honest with you, PR was never a career path that interested me. I had my first taste of the PR stereotype when I was at university. I studied Advertising and shared many of my classes with people who were also studying PR. While I am sure there were many great, talented and intelligent PR students in my class, my judgment was clouded by loud and overly opinionated girls who were interested in building their careers around parties, celebrities and fashion – none of which I particularly cared for. That’s why people seem surprised to hear someone like me can work in PR – and actually enjoy it.

The general stereotype of public relations has devalued the industry. I see many businesses from prosperous industries such as mining and industrial or financial fail to understand the value of including public relations in their marketing strategy. And why would they include it? How would Fitzy and Wippa hosting their event help them with their reputation?

Over the past year working in a PR firm, “parties, celebrities and fashion” are barely mentioned. I have found PR to be quite exciting – it’s strategic, daring and even creative. PR is all about finding relationships between a brand and its audience and creating credible and engaging content that helps build and maintain these relationships. In fact, this blog that I am writing is part of a larger, comprehensive PR strategy.

I’ve seen some great PR work from brands over the past couple of years. Check out Dove, Oreo and even Rekordelig for some examples.

So, how will the PR industry ever be able to break free from its air-kissing, skinny-caramel-latte-drinking, celebrity-loving reputation?

In my opinion – just keep doing great work. If we spend our time ignoring the stereoptye and keep producing great results – it will only be a matter of time before the rest follow.


Sarah Brown, Account Coordinator for Stolen Quotes.

A moment of thanks

Before I start this post, I want to thank you, reader, for clicking through. No, really. There are a million other things you could be doing with your time right now, but you have chosen to read what I have written. For that, I am thankful.

A couple of years ago, a close family member of mine got really sick. It was one of those ‘why is this happening to me’ moments where it seems like the world is out to get you, and everything is falling apart.

In moments like those, it is easy to indulge yourself with selfish, negative thoughts. Luckily, my family received a glowing light at the end of a dark tunnel. Today, I am extremely thankful for the experience as it taught me a number of lessons; namely, we should practice being thankful much more than we usually do.

What it comes down to is appreciating life and all it offers before receiving that wake up call. It doesn’t take much effort to show appreciation – be that appreciation for your home life, your amazing friendships or the great client project you are currently working on.

Volunteering for Make A Wish Australia has enforced the thinking that there is always someone worse off than you. These seriously ill children, some who have been in a small hospital room for over a year, show immense gratitude over the smallest gestures – like bringing them balloons or chatting to them about their dreams.

With that in mind, our business has decided to send a thank you card a day to people or organisations that have positively affected us in some way. Often we forget to sit back and appreciate the opportunities we are given and the experiences we are lucky enough to have. Forcing a moment a day to sit in gratitude and really feel thankful is a magnificent habit to get into, and will only progress your life on all levels – be it personal relationships, family life or career.

What are you thankful for today?


Hollie Azzopardi, Account Manager for Stolen Quotes.

The power of social media in Turkey.

In a recent blog post, we discussed the current state of the journalism industry in Australia, whereby freedom of press was being challenged and comprised. A current talking point regarding freedom of the press surrounds the state of the media in Turkey.

Stemming from a peaceful protest in Istanbul’s Gezi park and the police brutality that occurred as a result of the protest, locals were shocked that there was absolutely no media that covered the event.

In the meantime the protest multiplied and suddenly it was no longer about the demolition of the park, it was a protest against the government and police brutality. Riot police arrived and set fire to tents, used water cannons and tear gas. The people of Turkey responded in kind. Police placed jammers to prevent internet connection around the square, ensuring 3G networks were blocked for people in the area. Two people died and thousands more were injured. Still, there was silence from the media.

While the rest of the world rushed to Taksim Square to broadcast the events, Turskish television was showing cooking shows and broadcasting news updates on “Miss Turkey”. Turskish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan ordered a complete media blackout of the event. In fact, this isn’t the first time press freedom has been comprised in Turkey. Human rights groups have repeatedly expressed their concerns for their lack of freedom of press. It is only now that the rest of the world is seeing how repressed the citizens of Turkey are.

Even with no local media coverage, thousands of people showed up to protest. Many Turkish citizens took to social media to spread word of what was happening. Social media became a vital organisational and informational tool. People took to Facebook and Twitter, and set up blogs to document the protest. The hashtags #direngezipark1 and #occupygezi went completely viral on the Twitterverse. According to a study from New York University, on 1 June there were more than 3,000 tweets about the protest every minute – 90% coming from Turkey itself.

Erdogan expressed his frustration with not being able to control the backlash on social media by stating “right now, of course, there is a curse called Twitter…all forms of lies are there,”. Ironically, Erdogan has more than 2.7 million followers on Twitter. Somebody should have told him that when you try and silence the people, they will shout louder…especially on Twitter.


Sarah Brown, Account Coordinator for Stolen Quotes.

Freedom of Press

Under the Journalism Code of Ethics set by the Journalists Union in Australia, there is one code above all that journalists view as most sacred “Where confidences are accepted, respect them in all circumstances.”

This code has been challenged consistently over time and still remains a topic of interest in the industry. Journalist protection has often been comprised by what appears to be overriding public interest, such as law enforcement, national security or commercial confidentiality.

We’ve seen journalists so adamant in protecting the confidentiality of their sources that they have served prison time. One of the most famous cases was in 1972 a reporter for the Los Angeles Times spent six weeks in gaol for refusing to identify confidential sources in an article he wrote during the Charles Manson murder trial.

Even today Fairfax’s Adele Ferguson, the author of the book about mining tycoon Gina Rinehart, is being taken to court by Rinehart in an attempt to force Ferguson to name her sources.

The impact this will have on the industry is massive. The quality and quantity of great stories could drop considerably if people stopped coming forward with information in fear of having their identity revealed. Consequently, journalists wouldn’t be able to report on important stories that the public deserve to know.

We love the exciting world of journalism that challenges governments, people and corporations, reporting on stories that confront us and test what we already know and believe. We respect and fully support journalists who act ethically and responsibility and wish them nothing but luck and support during this challenging time.


Sarah Brown, Account Coordinator for Stolen Quotes.