Who do you work for?

Posted 23 February 2007 by rubenlawrence
Categories: PR

Something that has cropped up in conversation recently has been the discussion of why a PR person joins a particular agency. Now, of course there are a number of factors involved but I think it basically boils down to two elements (assuming you can do the job of course) – do I like the agency and do I like the clients.

Now I suspect that many PRs are making their decision based on the clients they will work on and not, as they should, the agency that will be paying their wages and will be their employer – that is where employees allegiance should lie.

The test: when you go to a dinner party and someone asks you what you do, what do you say?

A: I work for XX PR agency and I work on X clients
B: I do the PR for client X.

The right answer of course is A but many PRs in my experience answer B because they are not proud of their agency and where they work. Flip this to the ad industry:

A: I work for Saatchi & Saatchi working on the advertising campaigns for Toyota.
B: I do the advertising for Toyota.

The answer is invariably A.

I know this condition to be true from personal experience – I have made this error on a number of occasions. When making the decision to swap agencies, I even remember saying to myself ‘how bad can it be? Client x wouldn’t be at the agency if it was not a good place to work’. Now I don’t regret any choice of agency I have made as I wouldn’t be here if I did, but you’ve got to trust your instincts. Happy client does not necessarily mean happy PR agency staff working for that client.

The agencies are the guilty ones, luring employees with a promise of working on desirable brand X… and people fall for it, so far. Things will change because the emergence of so-called Gen Y will see employees want a more nutritious work environment that feeds them professionally and personally. My view is that agencies who continue to recruit on the back of their clients name will find securing quality staff harder than they do now (more on quality PR later).

At the end of the day, clients do come and go – that’s agency life, but the agency is who you work for and provides your working environment day-in and day-out. That has to be the primary driver of your decision to join. Is the agency going to inspire you? What is the vision? Is the culture strong? Are you going to be mentored and trained (externally and internally) and are you going to be fulfilled and driven to succeed – not just by the client but by your employer…

When I was at Bite the equation was simple. If the agency can create a complete working environment that people want to work in, this will attract (and keep) the best staff, encourage them to deliver the best results which will in turn secure the best clients… Clive got that one right. It’s simple and it has worked.


PlayStation stunna

Posted 22 February 2007 by rubenlawrence
Categories: Brand

Today in Sydney was the media and business partner launch of PlayStation 3. Of course some say I may be biased to Sony (Sony Australia is a client of Duke) but I’m also a gadget freak. So when I saw PS3, I was blown away. For me, one word: Winner.

Nay-sayers may talk about the minimal difference in picture quality from DVD to HD but boy are they wrong. High Definition gaming and films looked so good today, soooo good, just stunning. So much better than DVD and SD. Others may say Wii has got it licked but not from where I’m standing… The future is HD. Fact. Get on the HD bus now or later, your call, but you will get on – we all will.

I played MotorStorm and Gran Turismo HD and both were out-of-this-world in all their 1080p glory. Industry people talk about the one game in 1000 that people will actually buy the console to play (way back when it was Goldeneye on the N64) and I have to say, for me, GT HD is that game.

The movie playing, gaming, internet, music and storage capabilities – all in one device – is superb. Yes, $999 is a slab of sponds but this is a machine will set you up with a games device, Blu-ray player and home entertainment hub in one and technology-wise it will last for many many years – just look at PS2.

Justify it anyway you can – PS2 was $749 when it launched in 2001, cost-per-use, whatever… convergence in the living room is here and I, for one, am sold on PS3. Love it.

This is living alright.

Lovin’ this

Posted 19 February 2007 by rubenlawrence
Categories: PR

Since the demise of Spin Bunny, UK PR goss has been lacking.

Laydeez an Gennelmen, please welcome The World’s Leading. Too funny.

Trop night out

Posted 19 February 2007 by rubenlawrence
Categories: Marketing

Me:  Bless me father for I have sinned – it’s been many months since my last post.

Father:  Let’s put it down to slackness and move on shall we…

So last night was Sony Tropfest 2007 in the Domain, Sydney screened live to what must have been over 100,000 people in the Domain and many more across the country.  Probably 150k plus around the country.

As I’ve mentioned before I’ve been managing Sony’s sponsorship of Tropfest (see Roughcut post earlier). Once again I was taken aback with the quality of the ideas and the technical quality of the films.  Outstanding – my personal fav being The Von.  Interesting fact for the fact-fans out there – seven of the sixteen films were shot in High Definition.  In terms of content, was it me or was there an over exuberance on the part of many of the film-makers for violent, ahem, bodily functions?  Obviously, taboo and shock is one way to grab attention but the TSI was sneeze, not spew.  Boy, was that yoghurt past its sell-by date.

The VIP area was revamped this year – move to higher ground  in case it rained again – with a new covering structure.  Looked fantastic, though the sound levels were slightly too high.  Nothing compared to tunes being spun in the Zeta Bar at the after-party which were earbleedingly intense.

One Trop tradition that was missing this year – where was the proposal live on stage?!

The TSI for 2008 was announced by John last night – the number 7 – so people can get cracking with their films from now.  Plug coming up – eyes peeled for information about Roughcut 2007 later this year.  Film-making tips available on sony.com.au/tropfest

Eyes peeled too for the winner of the Sony Ericsson People’s Choice Award which will be announced on Tropfest.com soon.  Onwards and upwards to next year.

uh oh… it’s the fun police

Posted 1 December 2006 by rubenlawrence
Categories: Uncategorized

Shame Australia, shame.

1st test of The Ashes series and the overprotective state of QLD conspires with Cricket Australia and The Barmy Army have been split up so that no more than 10-15 can sit together and then the Qld police eject the trumpet player from the ground or causing a disturbance.  Oh please.

(As a side note, CA seemed to do alot of conspiring during the test – with the QLD police and with Ricky Ponting too – to not enforce the follow-on was, I believe, a commercial decision.)

With all the hype about The Barmy Army in the Aussie press in the lead up to the series, most of it very positive indeed – raving about the atmosphere the BA creates and even spurring The Fanatics into action – the hype led most to believe that the BA would be welcome.  Everyone was facinated and wanted to see what all the fuss was about. But oh no.  Enter the Fun Police.

For me, this was the day Australia stamped it’s foot, picked up it’s ball and went home.   Very poor show indeed.

Roughcut now available online

Posted 30 November 2006 by rubenlawrence
Categories: Marketing

OK people – now I know it’s taken a bit longer than we’d hoped but it’s finally live. For the first time, Sony brings Roughcut to life online for those that couldn’t make it on the day or those who want to check it out again. Hats off to the guys at Flat Rock Films and Euro RSCG Sydney for making it happen.

Simply click here to access the content from the day.

The whole session is streamed and available for download and the content is incredibly detailed with so much information in there.
If you are an amateur filmmaker interested in making movies for Tropfest, Sundance, Tribeca, YouTube or your own family, these filmmaking tips are all still very relevant and applicable to anyone interested in simply taking their skills to the next level.

Even if you’ve bought a Handycam and just want to learn some techniques from the professionals – this is the content to watch.

Now repreat The Roughcut Mantras after me… “Take the camera off auto”, “Don’t shoot and zoom!”, “Shoot for the edit”, “Make sure you’re in the circle of action”, “Where’s the DRAMA!”

If you’ve got any comments for me about Roughcut, what we did wrong, how we can do it better etc, let me know…


Roughcut 3: the return

Posted 13 November 2006 by rubenlawrence
Categories: Marketing

Saturday 11 November saw the 3rd ever Roughcut filmmaking seminar at the Seymour Centre in Sydney and it was the best ever. Loads of people, loads of the latest Sony cameras on show and loads of information about making short films.

Both Sony and Videocraft have opened exclusive offers for Roughcut attendees (Sony) and Tropfest filmmakers (Videocraft – 10% of hire packages – www.videocraft.com.au). So if you are making a film, well worth finding out what deals you can get from Sony and Videocraft.

MC’ed by previous Tropfest winner of Best Comedy and now creator/director/writer/actor in Double the Fist on the ABC, Craig Anderson, the event kicked off with a message from John Polson who, due to filming commitments in NY, could not make it this year – maybe next year John.

Then we got into it with speeches from Sony on HD techology, eminent cinematographer Piet de Vries and last years winners, Rob Carlton and Alex Weinress who spoke about their journey since winning Sony Tropfest 2006. Piet is the DOP master and has so much knowledge to pass on to eager students and Rob/Alex had some particularly good news regarding their TV project that they could share with the audience.

After a superb spread for lunch and a chance to get more hands-on with the cameras on demo, we heard from editing guru John Colette, sound master James Nowiczewski and the man that needs no introduction, Billy Marshall Stoneking.

All of the sessions were packed full of information and I’m pleased to say that if you missed it, Sony is streaming and videopodcasting the sessions on www.sony.com.au/tropfest – the content will probably be live by the end of the week.

If you had a ticket to come and chose not to – and I know there was a few of you – you really missed out and unfortunately deprived others of tickets. The event was in fact over subscribed by over 50%.

I promised some behinds the senes shots and so here they are. Unfortunately I was busy running around alot but managed to get a few shots on my K750i phone camera:

Roughcut demo area

The Crowds

Editing supremos

John Colette and Phil Lamont

Alex and Rob

Alex and Rob head to the stage Spinal Tap style


Billy leaves the stage after his inspiring 40mins on script development interspersed with kangaroo calling

Piet de Vries

Piet on stage delivering insight into cinematography.