A conversation with Emilio Robles

April 8, 2014 by  
Filed under Blog

Emilio Robles completed a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) at UOW in 1980 and a DipEd in 1981 intending to become a teacher, but never made the classroom. Instead, he forged a career first in journalism then as a high-flying Public Relations executive in the United States before returning to Australia. He is now Director at Howorth. This is his journey.

Childhood:  I was a first generation migrant, arriving in Australia in 1961 at the age of three from Madrid, Spain. By the age of five I was my household’s translator: everything from helping buy our first TV to running down to the corner shop in Lake Heights to buy my dad his favourite brand of cigarettes (something I’m pretty sure a kid that age wouldn’t be allowed to do now).

The trust and confidence my parents had in me to communicate effectively on their behalf inspired me and helped shape my character.

Big Break:  Actually, it was a series of ‘big breaks’ rather than just one. The Illawarra Mercury newspaper gave my first two big breaks. Firstly, it hired me as a journalist on its weekly free paper, which had just started up. I learnt a lot, not just about writing but about stories and more importantly about people.

The other break it gave me was asking me to help the paper transition from old hot metal technology to computerised typesetting. I was a bridge between the editorial department and the printers and I helped train the journalists on the new computer systems and workflows.

That led to my third big break: sparking an interest in technology that got me a job as the Corporate Affairs Manager at Apple Computers in Australia in 1987 and then as a senior PR manager at Apple, Inc. in California in 1991.

Read the full story here.

Embrace empathy – it’s good for you and your people

April 4, 2014 by  
Filed under Blog

Whether we work in an agency or inhouse, regardless of the discipline, most of us are, or will end up, leading, coaching or managing people.

But what type of person are we when we’re leading?

My very first PR agency boss, a kind-hearted Lancashire man back in England, gave me a bit of his wisdom that has stuck with me. He said: “Employees will often forget what you say. They will often forget what you do. But they will never forget how you made them feel.”

He was so bloody right …..

Click here to read more.

Fitness First launched its new brand

March 28, 2014 by  
Filed under Case studies, Featured, Fitness First, Healthcare

Challenge:  In 2012, not-for-profit organisation febfast engaged Ogilvy PR to raise awareness and drive participation in the 2013 febfast campaign which encourages people to give up alcohol for a month and raise money to support young Australians affected by drug and alcohol issues.

Given the extreme media fatigue around thematic months such as Facebook Free February, not to mention other dry months such as Dry July and Ocsober, we faced a number of challenges in promoting the cause. Furthermore, investigation by febfast suggested that although many people actually participated in febfast, they did so unofficially and without registering.  In addition to media fatigue and converting unofficial participants, previous campaigns indicated that there was only a very small window of opportunity to drive a large amount of registrations. With Australia Day marking the end of the silly season, a majority of Australians would not consider signing up until after the festivities, leaving only 5 days to drive registrations before February.

Furthermore, on the day of our official launch, the floods in Queensland had reached a crisis point and only a few days later, Julia Gillard announced to the nation the election date, both of which dominated media coverage nationally.

Strategy:  Our strategy ensured continuous and consistent coverage throughout the month of January leading up to the official national launch of febfast on the 28th, allowing us to capitalise on the nation’s collective Australia Day long weekend hangover and to leverage the small window of opportunity we had to drive a high number of registrations.

We surveyed over 1000 Australians on their attitudes towards drinking and their favourite and strangest hangover cures. As part of a two-pronged approach we released statistics regarding generational attitudes to drinking and Australia Day prior to the long weekend and then officially launched on the 28th releasing Australia’s favourite and strangest hangover cures.

Results:  The campaign continues until the end of February, with participants still able to register and also the launch of ‘half-arsed febfast’ a 14 day version of the 28 day challenge.

To date, a total of 278 pieces of coverage have appeared locally and nationally through radio, print, TV and online.

And the Trumpet goes to…

March 27, 2014 by  
Filed under Featured, News

Ogilvy PR has announced the second round of our Trumpet Winners for 2014.

The Trumpets is our formal employee recognition program which is designed to acknowledge and reward our team members for the great work that we do.  Ogilvy PR Australia’s culture is built on our three core Values – Partnership, Learn & Grow and One Step ahead, and the program recognises values-based behaviours – from great client work to the way we work with each other.

Congratulations to:

Tegan Knight – Account Director, Pulse Communications

Sally Strautins – Account Director, Ogilvy PR Health

Megan McCarthy – Account Executive, Ogilvy PR Health

PR isn’t about polishing turds

March 25, 2014 by  
Filed under Blog

Shit! You Work in PR? Not that old chestnut again. Isn’t it time to move on and say something different?

Last Thursday in Sydney at the CommsCon Awards, the night to celebrate the best of the PR industry’s efforts over the previous 12 months, we were yet again subjected to the narrow view of the discipline. This time through the moderator on the night, journalist Joe Hildebrand.

Whether it was black humour or not, the message in Joe’s speech was fixated on the art of spin – cover up, manipulation, hiding the truth, trying to make the negative look positive, and so it went on. If you want to see what Joe had to say, he published his edited speech in the Daily Telegraph.

I have worked in public relations for almost 20 years and did not find Joe’s attempts of humour remotely funny. But that’s not what bothered me. What did was his opinion that we, public relations professionals, spend most of our time trying to polish turds. That, quite frankly, is a turd.

Back in the 90s we were called Hemispheric Communicators. Like the half crest moon, we were told we only focus on the bright side and keep the dark side hidden.

Click here to read more.

Getty Images: Embed Launch

Challenge:  Getty Images is among the world’s leading creators and distributors of award-winning still imagery, video, music and multimedia products.  The challenge to Howorth was to generate mass awareness and positive coverage across ANZ business, technology, marketing, creative and photography media for the global launch of Embed – a tool that, for the first time ever, allows people to easily embed and share content from Getty Images’ huge library of editorial, creative and archival imagery, free of charge, for personal sites, blogs and social media posts.

In addition to securing media coverage, the brief also required Howorth to position Getty Images’ role in educating social media users on copyright and licensing infringements.

Strategy:  A two-pronged media strategy was developed to engage traditional media and key influencers and bloggers on the significance of Getty Images’ new business model; the practical applications of the tool; and, the importance of sharing licensed digital content. In executing the traditional media element, Howorth developed targeted pitches offering pre-brief interviews with Getty Images’ spokesperson, Craig Peters to titles across the business, consumer tech, social media and IT spaces – Australian Associated Press (AAP), CNET Australia, Technology Spectator and New Zealand Herald. Howorth also engaged an Australian Getty Images contributor to provide ‘grass roots’ comment on how the Embed tool affects professional photographers.

The second element of the media strategy is to be executed in the months that follow the launch of the Embed tool and will cultivate momentum among key influencers and bloggers by offering practical activations of Embed so users begin to understand the relevance and ease of using licensed digital content in a ‘right-click and share’ era.

Results:  The pre-briefing interviews paired with the distribution of a media release generated 24 pieces of media coverage in the ANZ region, with a potential global audience reach of 159,187,660.  Each article was positive in sentiment appearing in key business, technology, creative, marketing and photography titles including: The Australian, BRW, CNET Australia, CNET global, Gizmodo Technology Spectator, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, SBS, Stuff.co.nz, New Zealand Herald, Desktop Australia and Good Gear Guide. The news was also shared across social media sites such as Twitter, reaching millions of users across the globe.


Howorth honoured at CommsCon 2014

March 21, 2014 by  
Filed under News

The CommsCon awards are intended to recognise excellence in the fields of PR and communications. This year Ogilvy Public Relations was shortlisted for four awards.

Emma Pearson was nominated for Emerging PR professional of the year and Pulse Communications was nominated in the category of Event/activation of the year for Carnival Cruise Lines: Being Silly for a Cause.

Howorth was announced the winner of Best use of research / insights for its Kronos: Hidden workforce campaign at last night CommsCon awards for PR and communications professionals.

Ogilvy PR Health was highly commended for its Fitness First relaunch.

The work was judged over a two-stage process by a panel of around 30 jurors from PR agencies, internal communications leaders and independent consultants.

Read the full list on winners here:



Ogilvy PR Australia lures media powerhouse to join senior management team

March 11, 2014 by  
Filed under News

Sydney, March 11, 2014: Emma Connors, one of the country’s most respected journalists, has joined Ogilvy Public Relations as Senior Media Strategist for Ogilvy PR Health and Corporate.

Ms Connors joins Ogilvy Public Relations after 17 years with the Australian Financial Review.  During her time at the AFR, she wrote across many sections of the country’s only national business daily and sister publications BOSS and AFR Magazine. Among other awards, she’s received the Eureka prize for science and technology journalism. Ms Connors steered the AFR’s health coverage for five years before becoming Opinion Editor in 2012 and part of the senior editorial team that led the AFR in print and online.

Prior to joining the AFR, Ms Connors worked as a magazine journalist and editor in London and Sydney.

Ogilvy Public Relations CEO Kieran Moore said the appointment would bring fresh insights to Ogilvy Public Relations clients and consulting team.

“There’s no doubt about it – Emma is pure quality. She knows how media interacts with government and business and that’s going to be fantastic for our clients,” said Ms Moore.

Ms Connors said she was looking forward to the new chapter in her career. “The media landscape is evolving rapidly and I can bring an insider’s view to Ogilvy’s client base. Having edited the AFR’s opinion pages I have a good fix on what the hot buttons are for government, not-for-profit, and business organisations.

“Ogilvy’s Health and Corporate teams do some fascinating work with leading brands; this is a great chance to work with some great people,” Ms Connors said.

Ogilvy Public Relations Australia is a joint venture between WPP and STW Group, Australia’s leading marketing and communications service group.


For further information please contact Rebecca Tilly, STW PR on 0410 501 043

About Ogilvy PR Australia:

Ogilvy PR Australia is the country’s largest PR and public affairs agency with offices in Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne.  It is 51% owned by WPP and 49% owned by STW.  For more information, visit our Web site at www.ogilvypr.com.au or follow us on Twitter at @ogilvypraus.

CommsCon Awards shortlist revealed

March 11, 2014 by  
Filed under News

The shortlists have been announced for this year’s CommsCon Awards for PR and communications professionals.

Ogilvy Public Relations has been shortlisted for four awards which include Ogilvy PR Health, Howorth and Pulse.

Congratulations to all of the teams and join me in wishing them the best of luck at the awards dinner on Thursday 20th March.


Emerging PR professional of the year:

*   Laura Douglas – Launch Group

*   Mark Yeow – Text100

*   Tracy Yong – Edelman

*   Emma Pearson – Ogilvy PR Health

*   Ishtar Schneider – Palin Communications


Launch campaign of the year:

*   Museum of Brisbane relaunch – Agency North

*   Bonds: Boobs – Mango Communications

*   Xbox One launch – PPR

*   Samsung: Light Up The Sails – Edelman with Razorfish

*   Viagogo Australian launch – n2n Communications with viagogo internal team

*   Fitness First relaunch – Ogilvy PR Health with Fitness First internal team

*   Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth games launch – Javelin Australia


Best use of research / insights:

*   Kronos: Hidden workforce – Howorth

*   IBM: The era of smart – Text 100


Event/ activation of the year:

*   Bookworld – Ikon Communications and Subnine

*   Carnival Cruise Lines: Being Silly for a Cause – Pulse Communications

*   Petbarn: Pet dating – PPR

*   Gumtree Garden – Edelman

*   King Kong Activation at Eureka Skydeck – Progressive PR and Publicity


You can view the full list of awards here:


Telling it straight: Live Events

March 10, 2014 by  
Filed under Blog

Live events, who needs them? We live in a digital world now. A world of online co-creation and social media interaction; an extravagantly connected world awash with information and exciting content. Who wants the cost and hassle of staging something that brings a brand face-to-face with the public when exponentially more eyeballs are to be found in cyberspace?

Innovative brands, that’s who. It’s not just premature to write an obituary for live events – it’s foolish.

The digital revolution has created more opportunities for smartly-conceived events than ever. From live streaming, to social media ‘likes’; from blogging appeal to generating fresh content to be snapped up by a still ravenous and significant traditional media; a great event can be, well…a great event.

Consider the amazing impact of the record-breaking Red Bull Stratos, Felix Baumgartner’s intrepid skydive from the edge of space in October 2012. The live webcast attracted an astonishing 52 million viewers and as social media went crazy over the bravery and technical accomplishments of the jump, the online buzz generated helped Red Bull boost sales worldwide by 13%.

In a different vein, June 2013 saw Procter & Gamble organise the largest consumer event in its 175-year history. The Everyday Effect, held at multiple locations across New York City, was designed to demonstrate how the FMCG giant’s product portfolio improved daily life for people (http://www.pgeveryday.com/article/behind-the-scenes-of-the-everydayeffect) .

Of course, it delivered a powerful branded experience and sampling opportunity for consumers who encountered P&G’s marketing might on the street. But from head to toe, this was an event designed to be leveraged online, accompanied by webcasting and a massive social media drive.

Clearly, not every client can call upon consumer marketing budgets on the scale of Red Bull or P&G. But event marketing does not need to be epic to be highly effective. Finding and engaging a wider audience can be achieved through clever planning and skilful execution.

Long gone are the days when journalists had enough time on their hands to turn up at an event in the hope that there just might be a story to stumble across when they got there. Time-constrained hacks need more than a ‘maybe’ to be persuaded out and about.

For media to attend there needs to be a very strong hook; a world-first, participation of an A-list celebrity or radical product innovation. Editors are spread thinner and are harder to impress these days, and wherever possible they demand exclusive content. All of which creates obvious challenges.

Yet these obstacles are outweighed by the upside. The digital space has a voracious appetite for content, and good content generates excitement and traction. Put an event together in the right way and it acts as the focal point for a compelling story. Prime influential bloggers, serve up event-related content that is easily shareable via social media, give people something fresh to get excited about . . . and the buzz gathers momentum.

Plenty of examples spring to mind. In London, Selfridges teamed up with ‘food architects’ Bompas & Parr to open a temporary crazy golf course on the famous department store’s roof, featuring impressive icing sugar-clad models of landmark buildings (http://style.selfridges.com/whats-in/bompas-parr%E2%80%99s-rooftop-crazy-golf-selfridges-london) . The Big Rooftop Tea and Golf Party gained plenty of coverage from traditional media and bloggers alike. Incidentally, Selfridges has a long history of devising events that succeed in getting people’s tongues wagging. Over 100 years ago, in 1909, the department store pulled in the crowds through the coup of displaying the monoplane flown by Louis Blériot in the first flight across the English Channel. Imagine the social media reaction to something comparable today!

Back in the present day and also in London, the innovative eBay Social Shopping experience in Covent Garden (http://blog.ebay.com/ebays-social-shopping-experience-pops-up-in-london/) gave Christmas shoppers the chance to buy the most in-demand gifts at any given moment, all powered by algorithms which read conversation across social channels. Consumers used the eBay app to buy items on ever-changing video walls.

In San Francisco, jeans brand Levi’s supported a workshop in which local artists and visitors experimented with retro printmaking techniques, using skills in line with Levi’s traditional brand attributes. The San Francisco print shop attracted 31,000 visitors in a month and far greater interest online – with Levi’s adapting the community-based collaboration model into different formats and rolling it out as temporary events in other cities, such as Levi’s Photo Workshop in the heart of Manhattan, fanning word of mouth excitement as they did so.

Far from sounding the death knell for PR events, the digital media revolution has brought new opportunities. Once you give consumer brands the stage and story they deserve, the audience will follow.

Richard Brett, Group Managing Director, Pulse Communications


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