• Is There Anyone Out There?

    21m 55s

    Peter Rubinstein is Managing Director of Media Heads. He has spent more than four decades working in the entertainment and media industries, in Australia and the US, and has more than 29 years’ experience dealing with Government on major campaigns and initiatives. Peter is also a highly respected oral historian.

    Dave Carter is Director of Content and Strategy at Media Heads and has worked in the media industry for 33 years, developing radio and TV content as well as numerous national awareness campaigns. He has extensive experience as a copywriter and is highly regarded for product creation and format development.

Graphical summary and transcript



We have actually been attending this conference since it began in 2016. Every year we've been and there's a few things that we've noticed. One thing is that the people who struggle to be heard are always the people in the timeslot after lunch. Thanks, Peter Downs. Secondly, there's only been one other double act in a whole time. So we're we're number two. I think Paul Oliver may have been number one, sadly Hamish and Andy couldn't make it last year. So we are in it, I guess, dubious position of being a double act, which means you get two for the price of one.

But one of the other things that we've noticed on perhaps the main thing is in this room time and time again, how many times we hear wonderful stories about sport and we hear wonderful stories about the people in sport, the coaches, the administrators, the players. And yet one of the questions that we often hear when we're in this room is how do we tell those stories? How do we get those stories heard outside of this room? Plenty of people have great stories to tell, but maybe they don't quite know how to tell them. We're not saying that we're the super experts. We're not the Svengali is here to come and tell you there's some magic silver bullet solution. But what we're here to do is to try and give you some tips or some ideas on how you might be able to create some engaging content.

Powerful content getting your message heard. It is really, really difficult. As I said, there's no answer. There's no quick answer. And a lot happens in this world. We get exposed to like things something like 10000 messages in a day. So we are exposed to we don't necessarily see them all. We're not necessarily taking them all in. I think what we're taking is about two hundred and sixty seven. But this is what happens in an Internet minute. In 2019, you may not be out. I'm not going to go through all of those things, but jeez it's a lot. Eighty seven and a half thousand people tweeting three hundred forty seven thousand Instagram scrolls. I was probably doing a few of those earlier today. One point four million swipes on Tinder. Anyone doing any of those today? All right. But with all of that going on, a lot of noise. A lot of noise. So a sporting clubs and sporting organisations. Anyone with a story to tell? How do we get it heard? How do you cut through the noise that's being generated out there? How do you make the audience care about what you have to say?

And how can you empower them to actually do something on that story or to want to do something? Correct.

Now, I want to play the whole song, but somebody just isn't a fan of the Bee Gees. But look, Barry Gibb and his brothers and Samantha Sang said it right. Emotion is not the only tool, but it's a very, very powerful tool. We all have emotions, we all feel emotions. Unless you are the Knight King from Game of Thrones. But it's what we live by, emotions.

A lot of films, the TV shows, the ads that we see on TV, what we hear on radio, they evoke something in us. And that's what we try to do with our content. We don't go Cecil B de Mille, we don't go Steven Spielberg or we just try and keep it simple. But we always try and research our stories so that we come up with an emotive angle.

And anyone can do that. Anyone can do that.

So one of the things that we tapped into recently, and this is a campaign that we did a few years ago, we tried to tap into emotion. And I guess what we want to show you a little bit about today's some of the techniques or some of the things that we've done to try and tap into emotions. And there was a campaign that some of you may be familiar with called Let Kids Be Kids. And I'll stand up here right now and say the idea behind Let Kids Be Kids was not ours. The campaign originated in New Zealand and we looked at it and said we can make that better. We thought we thought we could localize it. But the true appeal of the Let Kids Be Kids campaign came down to the kids. I just want to play this video for you just to refresh your memories.

Something went in my eye.


Getting my hands on the footy and just being with my mates.

I like having fun just being around your friends and enjoying yourself.

I like being outdoors.

It just makes me happy,.

Having fun. I think he's the main thing.

Because it doesn't really matter if you win at least you get to play.

And if we lose, it's not the end of the world.

I didn't like it when people get yelled at or when I get yelled at.

It's pretty embarrassing when someone's shouting at you halfway through the game.

Watch your passes.

You're so bad.

You're not that great.

It's mainly how they say.

It makes me feel like I'm useless and I can't do anything.

I saw father bashing his own son.

And all the parents were arguing with each other.

It was really stressful and made me just not feel good at all.

I stopped because I was being yelled at. There just wasn't any fun anymore.

He's not put on this earth to be bashed, to be stripped of his confidence.

They don't understand that I'm doing my best.

Just stop. Stop.

Would you please like stop yelling at me on the court because it's making me feel like I can't do it anymore.

If they've got yell out, they could say something encouraging.

Things like. Good job. Good pass. You're good. Just keep trying and you'll get there.

Or, that was a great job. You're doing great. Try as hard as you can.

When I hear people yelling from the sidelines I want them to say good job. We're just kids. Just let us have fun, let us do what we love.

We're just here to have fun.

Just let kids be kids.

So the thing about that video as Dave just said before you watched it is it's about the kids and I'll let you into another little secret. We didn't actually magically find these kids hidden away around Australia. Their kids from your clubs, your organizations, your sports. That's where we found them. We came to clubs. We spoke to clubs. We said we are looking for kids who want us. Want to tell us about their experiences, about what it's like to have parents yelling or people they don't know yelling at them, to feel the sort that range of emotions you just saw.

So we got this really fabulous resource, but that resource resides with you. And it's how you use that resource and how you use that resource well, that will help you tell your story. And it's not just the kids. You know, the parents have got stories all sorts of people do. But let's stay with the kids for a moment and just wonder what would happen if we decided to do something different and sent those kids and put them in a situation where they didn't feel comfortable. And we're going to show you the sort of thing that can happen when you're working with real people, but you try to put them in an unreal situation. That's fairly cringeworthy. So I hope you will stick with it for about a minute.

On Thursday, rather than taking to the executive this afternoon, it's been a massive challenge, but definitely looking forward to it.

Hey, guys, I'm just heading downstairs. My paleo pear and banana bread. Would you like to join me?

No, thanks. It's a little bit fancy for me. I'm actually off to an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff network meeting. OK then see you.

How are you finding the program? It's pretty great, to be honest. I think in less than a year and I never thought that I'd be working on a project supporting the modernization program across government. Awesome. I'm working on a project and mining and construction. Hey, are you going for the Young Leaders Network dinner tonight? Yeah. Wouldn't miss it. The last one was great.

Hi Clair, Hi David, I had a look at your report yesterday. Great stuff. We're all really looking forward to the great presentation this arvo.. Thanks, David. No pressure or anything. Hi Rita, I got this for you. Thanks David. This year's grads are real game changers. I've heard some fantastic reports about their work. It certainly hit the ground running.

Well, actually, I should say sprinting. I got two graduates working on projects in my division, and they've just had such a great impact on the team. Terrific.

It's really great that you can talk to executives like that. Yeah, totally.

Isn't it the point about that is, is you had a Commonwealth Government Department, Department of Finance made a recruitment video. Now, part of sport is about recruiting. So they're talking about the same sorts of things. And also there's diversity and inclusion in that, which is very much what this conference in your organisations are about. What did they do that was wrong? It's fairly simple. And some would say maybe it was to get people to watch which people didn't. If you find this on YouTube or somewhere on the Internet and you sit down and you actually hear it properly, you'll start laughing after a while. Some of it's just so naff and scripted. And that was the problem.

You took these real people who worked in a real department and you suddenly put them in a really unnatural environment and you tried to turn them into actors. And the minute you do that, you get the sort of result that you had there. And the beauty of what you saw with the kids is that there was nothing scripted. This was them in a relaxed environment. That wasn't the first shot you saw of each of those kids. That was maybe after 10, 15 minutes. So you sometimes have to stick with it, get them relaxed, you know, let them feel like they've got something valuable. They love telling stories. The right kid will tell the right story. And that's where it worked. And that's where that video you just saw simply didn't work because it was people in an unnatural environment not talking about what their their strengths were. And they were trying to remember scripts.

And I think anytime that we go into a meeting with anybody who wants to make a bit of content, and I say, well, how can you help us? We we sit down. We just ask a few questions. And usually the last question sometimes is even forgotten is what's your budget? Because we're not in the business of making high end films, high end radio content documentaries. That's not what we want to do. We want to try and create something that actually means something. But we ask probably six questions. And the first one is always, what do you want to achieve? Now, everybody in this room probably knows all of these questions.

You could probably know them before I even put them up on the screen. It's like me telling you how to suck eggs, but it's amazing how many meetings we go into when we ask these questions. And people don't know the answer. People think I've got to make content, I've got to tick a box. But what do you actually want to achieve with that content? You've got to ask that question. You've got to understand what it is that you want to achieve.

The next thing is, what is your message? Find your message. A simple message that says something. Let kids be kids. You can play. Racism. It stops with me. What is your message? What do you actually want to say?

Who do you want to target? It's amazing. A lot of people say, oh, you know, I going to target. Well, it's just it's everybody. Wouldn't it be great if everyone just came to the club and registered, it would be awesome?

But you can't do that with a single message. You need to think more specifically. Who will convey your message. The kids were fantastic?

Took a lot of time to go through and find the right answers and put all that together. But they were great. Do we want celebrities? Do you want raconteurs, older statesmen from your club? Do you want parents? Do you want coaches? Who's got a story to tell? It's not about the story necessarily that you want to tell. It's how you can capture the story from within your club and take it out to a broader audience.

How will you reach people? A question that often a lot of people think on. I'll make a better YouTube content. Stick it up there and build the mountain and they will come.

Well, the truth is they don't necessarily come. And it's a very important question how we reach people. People think that I've got to make a video. We've been showing you videos, but videos are not necessarily the only answer. People love to watch stuff, sure. But they're far more cost effective and more far reaching avenues than just video. And one of those is an area that we've worked a lot in, which is radio. People seem to forget about radio and the how the impact that it can have with sporting organizations, finding those stories, cultivating relationships with people at local radio stations. Radio stations are always after content.

They always want something. And if you've got a compelling story to tell, you got a new set of statistics or figures or it's the start of us, a new sporting season. You know, find a reason to be able to go to work to somebody at the radio station. Maybe if you're not sure where to start, start with somebody in their newsroom. Prefer that there's somebody at the station who's interested in sport. Try and do a little bit of research. It's not that difficult. And if you're in the you know, not necessarily in a big city like Sydney, but once you get out into some of the rural regional areas of this country, they are desperate for content. And if you've got a decent story and you've worked out how you want to sell that story, it's usually fairly easy to be able to get in there.

We're in the business of setting up, amongst other things, interviews. And we find if you've got a decent story, the stations are going, yeah, bring it to me and give them a little bit of background. Tell them something about the story. Maybe give them a few questions to ask, because sometimes they don't have the time to research the questions that, you know, should be asked. So take the time to do that.

How will you measure the success of your campaign or your content? That's really hard to answer. It depends what you are after. Are you after sponsorship dollars? Are you after enrollment? Are you after just greater awareness of your club as a destination for all people? Is it you want to spread the message about diversity, inclusion in your club? Depends. It comes back to the first question what do you want to achieve?

And success is not always measured by the number of people who have watched your video because they might have watched it three seconds. They might have gone a yeah and they walk away. So it's what are the other ways you can gather some of that information and testimonials, anything where somebody comes and tells you something's great and tells you why it's great. Make a note of it, write it down, do something. So, you know, cause they're the comments that mean far more than somebody says, I saw it. But yeah.

Real, real people with a personal connection, real people telling real stories. It's fine to find someone in your club who is a real person, but I may not have a great story to tell. They may not be a great storyteller. And you can spend a lot of time with that person thinking the right person, but they're not. That doesn't necessarily mean you should just take their content and put it out there. Always look at every time you're creating a content opportunity as an opportunity to tell a great story about your sport. Oh, no. Quickly show you another video. It's a very short one, but it's one that we made some years ago.

And this is real people, real people with a personal connection. But it's done slightly differently.

Racism has no place in sport. No place in sport. Everyone everyone deserves a fair go.

Regardless of skin color, background, culture. Racism. Racism. It stops with me, it stops with me, with me, with me, with me. Racism, it stops with me.

A couple of a couple of things just quickly on that real people. Every one of those they're real people just like you and me. They happen to be very successful sports stars. They all had a personal connection to the racism issue. They had either experienced and witnessed it or been part of a movement to try and stop it within their sport. Every single one of those people wanted to be part of that campaign, put their hands up and said, I want to be in. There was pride. There was that emotion. There was that real wanting to feeling like I had to do something. And it's you see the AFL indigenous guys led by Michael O'Lochlan during their racism. And Adam Goodes doing the chest pump. Greg Inglis standing there just like this, not saying a word.

And despite the fact that we had all of these celebrities, not one of them got paid. It was actually not a very expensive video to make. Somewhere within your organisations, within your sports clubs, maybe you have people who have grown up through the sport, who are from a local area that you can tap into to create content like this, but get them to tell their story. Racism, It Stops with me is a great slogan, but putting a poster up in your club saying racism, it stops with me. What does that mean at your local club or sport or organization? How does it get enacted? How does it get rolled out on a local level? The subtext in that 30 second video is racism. It stops with me, has no place in sport. Everybody deserves a fair go. Tell me a story about someone who got a fair go. Tell me a story about someone who basically is stamping out racism in their own way, or has experienced your club where racism has no place and they've come in.

I know we're getting more wind up now, Katrina, but. There's two things. I love these two cartoons, this one. Basically, it's like there's communication and the effective communication and not effective communication. If your message isn't right, it's never gonna be heard.

And perspective, I always like to say that when we create content, we put ourselves in the shoes of the audience to say, how would I look at it if I was sitting at my on my couch at home watching that bit of content? How would I listen to it? Or how would I watch it. How would it impact me? Perspective is a great thing.

And there endeth the only second double act. You're still awake? Yes.