Category Archives: entertainment

Sass and Bide shines at London Fashion Week

Flying the flag for Australia at this year’s London Fashion Week is Sass and Bide. The brand returned to the city which discovered them back in 1999 when Heidi Middleton and Sarah Jane Clarke sold their designs at West London’s Portobello Markets.

Now 11 years later, Sass and Bide launched their Spring/Summer 11 collection at the cremé of the crop of world fashion events: London Fashion Week (which ends today Wednesday 22 September). Their new collection is beautifully designed. The girls have played with an interesting use of texture and neutral tones that ooze edginess and understated cool.

Discover who the “Sass and Bide woman” is in the short and snappy Q&A from London Fashion Week with the girls here.

Yours in Aussie Fashion,


The Genius of Design

The ABC is showing a series called the Genius of Design starting this week on Tuesday evening. It should be compulsory viewing for anyone with an interest in the way design influences our lives.

We live in a designed world, created by a diverse group of specialists that we call designers. This series tells the story of design from the Industrial Revolution to the present day, from the accidental birth of design to the central role it now plays as we struggle with issues of over-production, rampant consumerism and the damage to the environment.
We can look forward to interviews with some of the world’s leading designers, including Philippe Starck, Dieter Rams, Apple’s Leeathan Ive, and Ford’s J Mays.

The Genius Of Design takes us on a journey to explore the ways in which designers over the past 250 years have created the kind of products that we take for granted. Starting with the Industrial Revolution, continuing all the way to contemporary corporations including Apple, IKEA, Ford and Volkswagen, the Genius Of Design tells the story of designers who created the simple everyday objects our great grandparents used, from Wedgwood to William Morris. It also looks at the anonymous designers responsible for ordinary but classical designs for cast-iron cooking pots and sheep shears – forerunners of the commercially produced objects we see on the shelves of our supermarkets and hardware stores. There is a lot to learn from this fascinating story about the history of design, I’ll be watching!

Yours in design,


Most Challenging Traffic Signs

I came across a funny article about illogical, insensate, irrational and unreasonable road signs, written by Doug Lansky, who is a travel writer based in Stockholm. Some signs are difficult to understand or to follow, while others – got a shortage of breath.

We’ve all seen them. Yes, you know, those crazy road signs that make you laugh and then you wonder if you’re supposed to drive off the cliff or just turn around and go home.

Doug Lansky wrote:

“When you visit a new country, you’re not allowed to vote. You can’t cash a personal cheque. Your 
library card isn’t valid. Yet they let you drive. They let you get behind the wheel of a multi-ton vehicle and zip around anywhere you please. Somehow we are expected to navigate the road and pick up the traffic nuances – perhaps even adjust to a steering wheel on the opposite side of the car while driving on the opposite side of the road – before making their first lane change. If that isn’t demanding enough, there are the signs to contend with, like these classics from the Signspotting book series. Photographed an insane traffic sign during your travels or on the way to work?”

Signs are usually there to assist you in life, helping you find your way… Which sign scores your “that’s ridiculous” vote?

Yours in design,


At least you know where you stand... or sit, idling in park for ever. Where: Florida, USA Credit: Richard Gaebler
Try the insane lane Presumably that text is Chinese for 'Go ahead, make a left turn from the right lane... we dare you.' Where: Guangzhou, China Credit: Lynn Ihlenfeldt
You can't say you weren't duly warned. Where: Commerce City, Colorado, USA Credit: John McLaughlin
Good Luck!, looks like we're going to be here for a while. Where: Tokyo, Japan Credit: Heather Cook .
What happens when they let MC Escher design the driver's exam. Where: Leiden-Haarlem Canal, The Netherlands Credit: Donald Haslett (roundabout)
No inverted U-Turns Where: Cottage Grove, Minnesota, USA Credit: Larry Holmen

New Twitter experience announced today!


Big news just in – the Twitter experience is about to change! I’ve just previewed how our Brio Group Twitter account will look under the new Twitter interface, and I cannot wait to explore the entire suite of possibilities when it comes in to full swing in the coming weeks.

Twiter promises the new experience will be faster, easier and richer. The new Twitter not only has a new look (which, much like the Facebook redesigns, appears way more functional), it has the capabilities to view photos, videos and other media content, and the coolest part is you’ll now be able to discover related content all with one click of the mouse. So when you click a Tweet, the details pane shows additional information related to the author or subject. And depending on content, you could see @replies, other Tweets by that same user, a map of where a geotagged Tweet was sent from, and more.

Brilliant! The whole Twitter experience really is about to get so much richer.

Given that 55,000,000 tweets are published daily (yes daily) in its current format, it will be interesting to watch this figure change (read: grow) after the introduction of this more dynamic and robust model. I think it’s also opened the doors to increase viral marketing – something that businesses who use social media as part of their marketing mix will benefit from. It’s all encouraging stuff really, and I’m looking forward to discovering more! You can learn about the new Twitter experience at the official page.

What do you think of the new Twitter? How do you think your Twitter experience will change?

Yours in social media,


PS: I’m absolutely loving the new Twitter YouTube clip!

Oprah to host her Farewell Season show at Sydney Opera House


Who would have thought the invaluable exposure Australia received on The Oprah Winfrey Show during the Tourism Queensland “Best Job in the World” could be topped? Just this morning, it’s been announced that Oprah will host part of the final season of The Oprah Winfrey Show in Australia! It’s a major, major PR win for Tourism Australia, giving our great land the sort of magical exposure that money simply cannot buy.

The big news was announced by Oprah to her fans, who collectively flew into a frenzy of excitement when she invited them to come along. Oprah told the audience: “This is my last chance to do something really big. Maybe I should take all of you with me to the other side of the world. We’re going to Australia!” As the audience erupted in excitement, the nose of a Qantas jet edged onto the set before John Travolta stepped out of the jet to greet the ecstatic audience. More details of her Farewell Season show can be found here.

Oprah and her audience are believed to visit Australia for about ten days in December where they will explore our country before filming the show at the Sydney Opera House (expected to be dubbed, ‘The Oprah House’!). The show will be part of the 25th and final season.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh today announced that Oprah will visit Cairns during her visit, and told the Cairns Post “it was a phenomenal opportunity” for the tourism industry after the Global Financial Crisis. It’s believed a holiday package based on Oprah’s Queensland trip will be developed and marketed to tourists.

This incredible PR opportunity follows the remarkable  2009 “Best Job in the World” global campaign that searched for an Island Caretaker to set up camp in a beautiful Whitsunday Island’s pad and report back to the world of their experiences. News stations world-wide picked up on the story and the campaign catapulted to massive heights, even landing on The Oprah Winfrey Show, where Oprah interviewed the UK winner Ben Southall.

The marketing influence of Oprah is enormous. 2011 looks to be a very interesting, and hopefully very lucrative, year for Tourism Australia. We will be keeping an eye on this story!

Yours in PR-wins,


Marcus Graham stars in Macbeth during Brisbane Festival


Marcus Graham performs as the title role in Macbeth. (photo: Brisbane Festival)


You may remember him from Underbelly, but now Marcus Graham can now add Shakespeare to his already impressive CV. The Aussie screen icon has landed the title role of  Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Macbeth which is drawing to a close tonight (12 September) at QUT Festival Theatre, Brisbane Powerhouse – so get in quick! Macbeth forms part of the entertaining cultural line up of this year’s Brisbane Festival.

Macbeth is a theatrical masterpiece. Shakespeare’s last and shortest tragedy was penned in the early seventeenth century and is considered by many as his darkest work. This celebrated tale of unhealthy ambition and lust for power combines murder, madness, human evil, guilt and the supernatural into one of the most performed works by history’s most famous playwright.

This compelling rendition of Macbeth, previewing September 7 and running until September 12, will be the first act to tread the boards at the new QUT Festival Theatre. Tonight’s show is on at 6.30pm. Contact: Brisbane Powerhouse Box Office 07 3358 8600 or visit

Yours in culture,


Brisbane PARK(ing) Day – 17/9/2010

Have you ever wanted to be a guerilla gardener and put some greenery back into your street? Well here’s your chance! Next Friday (September 17) is PARK(ing) Day in Brisbane. It has become a synchronised global event starting in 2005 to raise awareness about the lack of green spaces in San Francisco’s downtown.

I think this is such a great concept to bring back some colour and energy into our often grey concrete landscapes. Especially in the city. Basically what happens is you find a metered car park, pay your meter fee and setup your piece of green space, when the meter runs out you pack it up and leave it as you found it! You can use whatever materials you like— grass (real or fake), plants, whatever! The organisers also encourage you to include furniture in your installation as it is a way to create interaction with the passers by! So if you see a space next Friday, go and use the space and come back and let us know about it!

Visit  the website for more information on how you can participate. They have some great information including a comprehensive presentation about how to setup your park space!

Yours in sustainability,



Loyalty lessons from Lady Gaga

I stumbled upon this great article by Jackie Huba…well worth a read!…

There’s a lot marketers can learn from artist and musician Lady Gaga.

At age 23, Lady Gaga has rocketed to global fame in less than two years. Playing piano at age 4 and New York nightclubs at 14, she recently broke Billboard’s record as the first artist to have her first five six singles reach number one. She’s won two Grammys, and has sold 8 million albums and 15 million singles digitally worldwide. While her performance art-style stage shows andbizarre outfits have garnered much buzz, it’s her loyalty marketing that may sustain her for years. Gaga is dedicated to her fans and clearly knows the elements of cultivating a community of evangelistic fans.

With that, here are my 5 lessons about building brand loyalty, Lady Gaga-style:

1. Give fans a name. Gaga doesn’t like the word “fan” so she calls them her “Little Monsters,” named after her album “The Fame Monster.” She even tattooed “Little Monsters” on her arm and tweeted the pic to fans professing love for them. Now fans are getting their own Little Monster tattoos. By giving the group a formal name, it gives fans a way to refer to each other. Fans feel like they are joining a special club. (Related business examples: Maker’s Mark Ambassadors and Fiskar’s Fiskateers.)

2. Make it about something bigger than you. During her concert tour, Gaga recites a “Manifesto of Little Monsters” (text) (video). Although a bit cryptic, most Little Monsters see it as a dedication to them, that her fans have the power to make or break her. (Related business examples: Smoque BBQ (pdf).)

3. Develop shared symbols. The official Little Monster greeting is the outstretched “monster claw” hand. As all Little Monsters know, the clawed hand is part of the choreography in the video of her song “Bad Romance.” Gaga tells the story of watching a fan in Boston greet another fan with the claw hand and that’s when she knew this was the Little Monster symbol. EvenOprah knows the Little Monster greeting. Shared symbols allow fans to identify each other and connect. (Related business example: LIVESTRONG yellow wristbands.)

4. Make your customers feel like rock stars. One staple of Gaga’s“Monster Ball” tour is to call a fan in the audience during the show. She dials the number onstage, the fan screams out, is located and they are put up on a big screen. While the rest of audience goes bananas, she invites the fan to have a drink with her after the show. (Related business example: eBay Live Conference where attendees walk through a gauntlet of applauding eBay staff as they enter the closing gala)

5. Leverage social media. Gaga has the requisite Facebook fan page (over 5 million fans) and Twitter ID (almost 3 million followers) but it’s how she uses them that drives loyalty. On Twitter, she tells fans what she is doing, such as tweeting them before she opened the Grammy Awards. She also tweeted to fans that she was buying them pizza for waiting overnight at an album signing.

Some artists are very protective of their image and prohibit recording devices during performances. Gaga doesn’t allow professional photographers into her concerts but is ok with fans recording and putting videos on YouTube.

Whether Gaga will have staying power remains to be seen. But she is making waves in the music business and teaching plenty of people the power of fandom.

Wouldn’t you like to have fans like these?

Thanks for the great read Jackie!

Yours in social media,