Words and images used to explain things

Unless you’re scared of large, uninterrupted blocks of text, why would you read a story about one boring thing, when you could read a story that deals with a whole range of exciting things? That’s right, you wouldn’t. Or would you?

Following on from the recent ASA data that showed online advertising turnover increased by ten percent last year, Stuff.co.nz has recorded its best ever result in February, reaching the 100 million milestone for total page impressions. It also recorded its highest ever domestic unique browsers, domestic page impressions and total page impressions.

This makes Stuff.co.nz one of only four sites in New Zealand to nab more than 100 million page impressions a month, the other three being TradeMe, NZDating and YahooXtra!, all of which have major service components (auctions, transactions, matchmaking and email) that generate massive volumes of interactions on their sites.

The Chilean earthquake and the domestic tsunami threat helped Stuff.co.nz secure 105,553,346 total page impressions and 3,680,762 total unique browsers for February. This means stuff.co.nz leads the nzherald.co.nz by 253,102 domestic unique browsers, 28 million page impressions domestically, and 29 million page impressions in total traffic, which is the highest lead ever.

But enough about online, let’s talk about PR (check out this rather interesting, but not entirely surprising, study into the power PR has to influence the news agenda in Australia). After selling her shares in spice communications group to Jackie Ellis, Sarah Alexander Wilcox has set up a new brand called PR ink that “encapsulate [her]fifteen years in the marketing industry”.

“We have a pool of expert consultants based in both Auckland and Napier who have their own niche talents from copy writing, media relations, experiential marketing, to social media specialists and marketers. Our client portfolio is very diverse and includes the Hilton, Lockwood, Spaceships, Skinfood, Lion New Zealand, Nordic Naturals and Gourmet Garden.”

In new editorial postings news, Fairfax Magazines has chosen Sally Duggan as the new editor of NZ House & Garden. And Next magazine has announced food writer and chef Julie Le Clerc as its new food editor.

Duggan has been the associate editor on the NZ House and Garden, New Zealand’s leading home title, since joining the company 15 months ago. Current editor Kate Coughlan will remain with the magazine as editorial director and will continue to edit NZ Life & Leisure. In her editorial director role she will work closely with general manager Lynley Belton on editorial development across the division’s portfolio.

In the latest round of magazine circulation results NZ House & Garden is one of only two titles in the home category to show increasing circulation, with total circulation increasing to 47,600 copies a month.

Le Clerc has been a leading food writer in the Australian and New Zealand print media for the past 12 years and has a prestigious culinary career stemming from training and teaching with Le Cordon Bleu. She has since been a professional chef, run a boutique catering business, authored 10 best-selling cookbooks and launched two highly successful Auckland cafés.

Next Editor Christina Sayers Wickstead says it’s wonderful to think that the 358,000 people who read Next every month are “going to be effortlessly serving up extra special food all over the country from now on.”

Auckland visual effects and animation studio Oktobor has won a Favourite Website Award (FWA) for its handiwork on the interactive Erky Perky website.

The FWA is an industry recognised award program, established in 2000, that showcases websites using cutting edge technology, together with inspirational ideas. And winning the Site Of The Day Award led an additional 100,000 hits to the site.

According to Oktobor’s creative technologist Mark Zeman, the brief from Ambience Entertainment for the new website was simple: create an all seeing, all-dancing website as good as the animated TV series, a show that features two quirky insects, Erky and Perky, who live at a hot dog stand but are accidentally taken to a house.

Zeman and Oktobor digital design director Matt von Trott watched lots and lots of episodes of Erky Perky and devised a concept where the audience could explore the house’s kitchen through the website and get to know the characters in their own environment.

“Our aim was to take the audience inside the world of Erky Perky,” says Zeman. “We used the kitchen as a metaphor for their world and the website as a gateway into it.”

A lot of time was spent making the site look and feel like the TV show. But it needed an engaging interactive element so the team devised a multi-level game where there were incremental rewards for the audience. The team also created a Secret Club to keep the audience coming back, where users discover and collect crumbs from different parts of the website.

Ambience scripted the interaction between characters to a very high level and gave Oktobor access to their entire library of Erky Perky assets. It also created animation, voiceovers and 3D shots specifically for the website.

“This level of cooperation is very rare indeed,” says von Trott. “The voiceovers were done in Canada with the original actors and Ambience made their full 3D team available to us for the full duration of the website’s development. The reality was that Ambience, in essence, produced an episode of Erky Perky which we then turned into a website.”

Speaking of websites that have won the FWA Site of the Day gong, the web gurus from Resn in Wellington went live with the Sponsafier site for Toyota Racing just over three weeks ago. It was part of Saatchi & Saatchi LA’s U.S. campaign and fans have the chance to design their own custom Cup car in 3D for NASCAR Team Toyota drivers. The competition winner will see their car on the track at the 2010 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and, so far, over 75 000 cars have been entered in the competition. And the TV spots that Saatchi LA did for the campaign are very muy bien.

Speaking of very muy bien, the Tiger beer website has had an overhaul by the folks at Splinter Group recently. The idea was to create a fast and easy HTML-based site for consumers to keep up to date with Tiger-sponsored events, news, giveaways and, of course Tiger Translate, which is kicking off this weekend. And it has been designed in a way that reflects the brand and doesn’t feel like it’s followed any corporate guide lines, says Splinter Group’s Lorenz Perry.

“People can also register for stuff like tickets/competitions etc. and view photo galleries. And emails from the database are sent out to inform people when new content worth checking out has been added, a great way to keep the brand and consumer connected.

From beer to accounting: journalists have until Monday, 22 March 22 to submit entries to the inaugural Openside Accounting Journalism Awards, an independently judged competition, which has been established by the Wellington accounting firm Openside to celebrate outstanding published work covering the accounting profession, is open to journalists who published original reports or commentary over the past 12 months on accounting-related issues.

The Award initiative recognises and supports the crucial role of the media in raising awareness of accounting issues during an unusually challenging business year. Cash prizes will be awarded for the best article and the best column or analytical piece about the accounting industry, as evaluated by industry judges, whose decision will be announced on 30 April.

All entries must be received by no later than March 23, 2010. For more information, including an entry form, visit the Openside website at www.openside.co.nz or email [email protected].

The Show Me Shorts festival, an annual national short film festival that plays Kiwi and Australian short films between three and 30 minutes long that have been made within the last three years, is calling for entries and film-makers have until 5 July to get them in.

Show Me Shorts will screen in cities and towns throughout New Zealand from 4 November, with Tauranga and Waiheke Island new additions to the location list this year. The successful short filmmaking seminars of last year will also be repeated with the addition of a short film development lab.

Festival director Gina Dellabarca says the whole team is always really excited at this time of year because we know those shorts are about to start rolling in.

“We all have our favourites, but the festival is open to any genre and we encourage both established and emerging filmmakers to send us their work. We are particularly looking for striking films with high production values and a strong central idea that will capture the audience’s imagination.”

For more information visit the Facebook fan site or enter your short film here.

And finally, more visual imagery-related news, Auckland gelato shop Giapo is holding a photography contest. Owner and social media savant Gianpaolo Grazioli wants as many people as possible to have the opportunity to enter the competition and to build on our use of social media to engage with the community so people have to enter the competition through the Facebook page.

“One of our dreams is to give a child a smile, so we have set an entry criteria that all photo’s must show a child smiling. We’re not just looking for a photo of a child sitting smiling, we want to see some creativity, and are looking for something unique,” he says.

When entries have closed, all images will be uploaded to the Facebook page and democracy will reign: everyone can ‘like’ how many and as much as they like and once voting has closed, the photo with the most ‘likes’ wins $1000 and two runners up get prizes of $200 each.

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