As Australia re-opens, brands truly delivering social good, localism and sustainability will roar ahead

Powered Unpacked

As Australia re-opens, brands truly delivering social good, localism and sustainability will roar ahead


Emerging from lockdown is a “defining time for brands” and those that walk the talk to support communities, localism and focus on growth through doing good will power out of Covid – and well beyond, finds latest research from Nine, in partnership with Fiftyfive5.

Good equals growth

As states start to re-open, Nine’s research in partnership with Fiftyfive5 shows what people want from brands post-pandemic is to help rebuild communities and do social good.

The New Roaring 20s research study looks at how Australia will change over the next decade, but its near-term findings underline that consumer expectations of have shifted. They want brands to help build back better, support local communities and enable a more sustainable future.

“It’s a defining time for brands,” says Nine’s Sydney Head of Strategy, Steve Caunce. “Over the pandemic, Australians have definitely become far more attuned to how brands speak and more importantly, how they behave.”

Over the next 10 years, “these expectations are only going to increase, with an even greater focus around social good,” added Caunce. “Australian consumers are expecting brands to have a solid focus around sustainability. In fact, the research showed us that sustainability was the number one priority out of all the things consumers want from brands.”

Fivefifty5 Director, Hannah Krijnen, says the interviews and surveys undertaken for the latest research found brands big and small are recognising that need – and taking action.

“Whether that's about geographic community or the brand community online, we've really seen brands and businesses take a step towards having a bigger voice for the communities they stand up for, but also looking for ways in which the community can support them,” says Krijnen.

“So we’re seeing a really beautiful crossover between the interests of the brand, the business and the community – and we’re seeing those brands really step up into new opportunities and new growth,” she adds. “Most of the business owners we spoke to were very focused on community, what role it could play and how they too could play a better role in their community.”

Diversity, authenticity, stability

Looking further ahead, the research suggests brands can grow with Gen Z consumers by reflecting their values of diversity, authenticity and sustainability while providing them with stability in a less certain world.

“The importance of brands offering stability and consistency is something that shouldn't be underestimated,” says Caunce. “In fact, these advertising fundamentals haven't changed and I don't think they will change in the future. But the rate of change is something that the study really brought home – and brands will be required to constantly evolve.”

While flux can create consistency challenges for brands, change also brings opportunity for those that can adapt with agility, says Caunce.

Krijnen agrees: Marketers must prepare for a decade of rapid cultural and technological shifts, but retain the core principles of their craft as the world and market environments change.

“I've been talking to people about brands for almost two decades. So to see people really engaging with stories and engaging with how brands behave, giving them additional respect, intending to spend more money with them, really underlines the importance of the fundamentals of marketing and brand strategy,” says Krijnen.

“It does mean brands are more under the microscope, becasue people are really paying attention. But in many ways that will lead to stronger and better branding as well – because the more brands behave in the way that they talk, the stronger the brand is.”

Contact us for more information on how your brand can leverage the power of Nine to deliver real business outcomes.

Find out how you can unlock a gap in the market worth $2.3 billion in weekly household spending..

Powered Unpacked

Find out how you can unlock a gap in the market worth $2.3 billion in weekly household spend:


Marketers too blinkered with media planning that ignores demographic with most cash to spend

(but Kia’s cashing in)

Research from Nine and Kantar says marketers’ singular focus on younger demos has led to media plans and creative campaigns that miss the highest spenders: high earning and progressive thinking 55-64 year old consumers. Kia marketing boss Dean Norbiato agrees – but thanks rivals for leaving the path clear for Kia to tap the most lucrative prospects.

Don't act your age

Brands are missing a trick when it comes to their media plans and creative executions by focusing too heavily on 16-39 and 25-54-year-old consumer groups.

A study from Nine and Kantar shows brands misconstrue older demographics as people hanging out for retirement, rather than high value earners.

“One of the key quotes that I heard over and over and over again was they do not feel, and they don't want to act their age. More so that they think of themselves as 30-year-olds in 55-plus bodies,” Emma Lewis, Senior Account Director at Kantar said.

“If you add in the fact that they've got more confidence, life experience, time on their hands and are less weighed down by some of those domestic responsibilities of people in their 30s and 40s – and definitely have more money – they're gold for marketers.”

Watch episode six above or stream below:

Spend and influence

Nine and Kantar estimate this "blind spot" to be worth $2.3bn in weekly household spend.

But Kia Marketing GM Dean Norbiato argues the value of the 55-64 demographic goes beyond the cash in their wallets.

In a high cost, big decision category like automotive, he says the older generation also influence the decision-making of consumers close to them, who are often in the 16-39 and 25-54 brackets.

“Instead of rolling up for the retirement queue, they're very much rolling up their sleeves and getting into work in some high-end roles – with wider disposable income that comes off the back of that,” said Norbiato.

“That makes them important in purchasing, because in a lot of decisions, they impact not only their own decision but also their immediate influence group, like their friends and definitely their families.

“To someone like me in auto marketing or someone who would sell or market real estate, they're very important – they need to be considered.”

By way of example, Norbiato said a friend recently texted to say they had just bought their granddaughter a new Kia Cerato.

While the granddaughter had done the bulk of the research into the purchase, he said the ability to “veto” the decision or influence the path to purchase was very much in the hands of the older relative.

“He hears from Kia, he sees Kia, he understands what we stand for, and he was able to validate that purchase,” Norbiato said.

“It’s a real life example of how not only will the 66-year-old have the ability to purchase his own car, but he materially impacts and influences the decision of the granddaughter.

“So you've got to really understand that consumer journey and interrogate and understand the role that the older age group play.”

However, the Kia marketer concedes it is often tricky to shake the “shiny” appeal of the younger generations, especially with the recent boom in emerging social media platforms such as TikTok. He says marketers must cover all bases – and demographics.

“Coming up with a new media campaign on an emerging platform that garners a lot of attention, it is new and it creatively gets you going, is something that can draw a lot of marketers,” Norbiato said.

“That shouldn't be at the detriment of your existing media spend. So you shouldn't turn off one audience to target a new audience. There needs to be a balanced approach.”

Think 10 years older

The common mistake being made is often around understanding that the older demographic’s preferences are becoming more aligned with younger consumers.

The difference is that they have greater spending power, more confidence and have fewer responsibilities, according to Toby Boon, Director of Strategy, Insights & Effectiveness for Nine.

He advises brands to think more broadly in order to maximise results.

“In terms of practical changes that marketers can make, the first step is a really easy one – it's to think about extending your targeting from 25 to 54, to 25 to 64,” Boon said.

“Think about extending your existing demographic by 10 years and in some buying systems, that's as simple as clicking another button, or typing in another age. That's a really simple first step.”

Boon said the second thing that brands need to consider when targeting older consumers is to be more inclusive in their ad creative.

“That means thinking about the way that you do casting, thinking about the way that you do messaging, leaning into who these people really are and thinking a lot less about how you can rely on easy clichés to get those messages across,” said Boon. “They want to be targeted.”

Creative eye opener

Briggs was pleasantly surprised at Nine’s creative capability.

“That’s definitely something for all of us to remember. I spend a lot of media money and I probably don’t think enough about the other elements and where you can get more from it,” he says.

“We’re maybe a bit too quick to say, ‘Well, we’ve got a creative agency already,’ and you get a bit of a blind spot. But in this instance, we’ve shown ourselves that it’s not necessarily the best way to get the work done. The production capability meant we could go really fast, yet everything was done to an exceptional standard. So for me, it was definitely an eye opener.”

Watching results roll in

While brand campaigns can only be measured over the long term, Briggs says the early signs are good.

“This was very much a brand play for us. But we’ve had a great March. We have had some really good website traffic, up 6-7 per cent on January, with a higher proportion coming from direct and organic. And March was very good from a top line perspective as well,” he says.

Ahead of running an assessment of the MAFS execution next month, it’s hard to pick out a single element of its marketing mix in driving that growth. But Briggs says he’s feeling confident, given the buzz the campaign has created.

“We've got 400 stores across Australia and New Zealand, a couple of million people go into the website every month. They are such big numbers that it's hard to pull out one thing, but everything works together,” he says.

“People were definitely talking about it. We had good interaction on our own socials. There was a buzz within the office."

“I think it had an impact at the right time of the year – and with the numbers we saw, for the first time in a long time, I was eagerly waiting for the ratings to come through. You're looking at them and thinking, I can see these results in the numbers.”

Contact us for more information on how your brand can leverage the power of Nine to deliver real business outcomes.

Powered Unpacked – Audio Advertising Effectiveness

Powered Unpacked

Why advertisers are switching audio channels to push beyond reach and frequency


Deeper Engagement:

Latest research from OMD suggests advertisers could be missing a trick when it comes to audio advertising across radio, streaming and podcasts. The opportunity to engage audience attention across all age groups goes much deeper than reach and frequency.

While podcasts and streaming are booming, those audiences are additional to broadcast. “There's no cannibalisation,” according to OMD business director, Thad King.

“They all have their own strengths – and our research found that cross-channel audio campaigns, when we had all channels in the mix, saw much better results.”

However, the research also showed broadcast had the strongest impact on purchase decisions. King puts that down to trust, “especially within broadcast”. But OMD found variances across age groups.

“For the younger demographics, we saw that broadcast radio was more effective from the top end of the funnel in raising awareness, whereas some of the other channels, podcasts and streaming were more effective at lowering the funnel. But the older the demo, the more effective broadcast radio becomes.”

Watch episode five above or stream below:

Rules of engagement

OMD worked with Nine’s Powered division to dive deeper into the research, specifically around the differences between talk radio and music in driving results.

Nine director of effectiveness, Jonathan Fox, said the exercise unearthed key findings around audience engagement.

“Firstly, with the exception of podcasts, talk radio registered the highest level of engagement, with 41 per cent of respondents highly engaged,” said Fox.

While radio must rely on “claimed engagement”, because it can’t use tools like eye tracking, as other media are attempting to do, engagement is an increasingly important metric for ad buyers. It’s becoming a “huge factor” in planning and strategy, according to OMD’s King.

The second key finding is that listeners tune in to talk radio for different reasons versus other platforms.

“They want something to talk about, to learn something new and to be informed on the latest news,” said Fox. “So it's fuelling discussion, exercising the brain and keeping people informed.”

Crucially for advertisers, talk audiences are more likely to talk with others about the shows they listen to, according to the research. “So if advertising is relevant to the content,” said Fox, “it could well be included in the conversation that people are having.”

Right time, right channel, better results

Key to ad relevancy is embedding messages at the right time of day across different audio channels.

“One of the key take-outs from the research was that different demos behave differently for each of the different audio channels, and they perform differently throughout the day,” said OMD’s Thad King.

“For us, it's making sure that we've got the right approach to how we're using those channels, making sure that we're flighting them correctly, and importantly that we've got the right creative, so it can be effective,” he added.

“We want to make sure that we're delivering a message in the most contextually relevant way, to deliver great outcomes for our businesses. And this research has allowed us to get a better understanding in terms of all those different areas.”

Stories beat frequency challenge

Managing ad frequency is a key challenge for all media, but especially talk radio, where time spent listening often dwarfs other channels. Nine’s Jonathan Fox said some brands, such as CommBank, are cracking that conundrum and driving strong results by telling progressive stories, instead of repeating the same messages.

Brands can unlock more powerful results from taking a similarly creative approach.

“Radio is viewed as a short-term awareness driver, particularly of retail promotions. There's nothing wrong with that, but if you're able to evolve the creative over time to tell a story, we have the potential to use something like talk radio for longer term emotional brand building as well,” said Fox.

“Radio is more multidimensional than perhaps most people realise.”

Contact us for more information on how your brand can leverage the power of Nine to deliver real business outcomes.

Why local content, diversity and live sport should be plan A, plan B and plan C for brands

Powered Unpacked

Why local content, diversity and live sport should be plan A, plan B and plan C for brands


Programming that connects

In a shifting, consolidating landscape, programming that connects with Australians wherever they are represents the closest thing to a sure bet for brands. The same is true for publishers.

“Investing in Australian content that reflects the stories of Australians back to our audience, that’s our point of difference,” says Hamish Turner, Nine's Director of Programming. “Live audience, audience at scale that consumes content in a temporal manner, and Australian stories, they are the four big things for us – and that won’t change.”

Nine’s slate for the rest of the year reflects that commitment – returning favourites such as The Block and Australian Ninja Warrior, and five newly commissioned shows that will bridge this year into next. All different, but “all very ‘integratable’,” says Turner, giving brands further avenues to explore, and “diversity utility”. Which may prove useful in a world likely to be disrupted by Covid for some time yet.

Watch episode four above or stream below:

Diversity of slate

The delayed Australian Open is a case in point. “That forced us into being quite fluid through that period,” says Turner, which is where Nine’s pandemic focus on “utility of schedule” came into effect.

“What we meant by that is having pieces in the schedule that we could pick up and pull out, and having a real diverse mix of shows, so that you went from Married at First Sight into Lego Masters,” says Turner.

“So the show that created a lot of noise, a lot of controversy, into a show that is much loved by families. We've then gone into Celebrity Apprentice, which hasn't been on our screens for a long time, but again, it provides a very different style of show for our audience,” he adds.

“So that was that ‘diversity utility’, having the confidence that we could pull brands out and put them in if we needed to.” 

Reality bites

In the end, the delayed Australian Open contributed to a “phenomenal start to the year,” says Turner. Meanwhile, MAFS smashed expectations across platforms, reaching audience numbers on the 9Now platform that would put many linear shows to shame.

“It is an absolute phenomenon,” says Turner. “There is nothing else that is actually reachingor delivering on the same level as Married at First Sight.”

While MAFS can divide opinion, that’s a true reflection of Australian society and daily life, suggests Turner. “It's quite confronting. And I think that's what actually talks to that audience. You don't know what's coming next. And the audience came in droves.”

Sport: reach everybody

That level of unpredictably and drama is perhaps trumped only by live sport – the backbone of Australian society and a guaranteed engagement delivery mechanism for advertisers.

Nine, Nine Now and Stan Sport are working closely with the sporting codes to ensure the broadest possible audiences – with audience growth across platforms a cornerstone of the plan.

“Sport is a total TV play,” says Turner, pointing to the current French Open as a template for Nine’s approach.

“There’s linear, everything is available on Stan Sport ad free, but you can also get that live linear experience on 9Now. For us, and for brands, it’s about engaging audiences across multiple platforms,” he adds.

Meanwhile, the sports codes, clubs and brands know they need to be free-to-air – or suffer.

“We've seen sporting codes that have gone behind paywalls, and it's been to the detriment of those sports,” says Turner.

“That ability to be in the free space, to connect to all Australians, is so fundamental in terms of driving success for those brands moving forward,” he adds.

“Nine is in a unique position whereby we can offer that cross-platform opportunity to brands. We’re going into it together to grow brands, to grow the codes and grow audiences.”

Your call

For brands looking to connect with Australians through uniquely Australian content, that approach guarantees diversity of audience as well as diversity of utility.

Advertisers interested in getting the inside track on Nine’s five newly commissioned shows, or to understand cross screen opportunities around The Block, Australian Ninja Warrior, Beauty and The Geek, and Parental Guidance, should “pick up the phone,” suggests Turner.

Sometimes a direct call to action is the most effective.

Contact us for more information on how your brand can leverage the power of Nine to deliver real business outcomes.

Marketers told to embrace a new type of Christmas to avoid Santa’s naughty list

Brands that help Australians connect with their community, display optimism and reject the notion of the perfect Christmas are best placed to spread festive cheer, according to Strategy Director for research company The Lab, Rebecca Brody.

During a panel discussing Christmas trends at Nine’s Big Idea Store, Unboxing Christmas, research from Powered by Nine and The Lab shows how the last year has reshaped consumers’ perspectives on Christmas and how marketers can capitalise on these trends

“You can do it beautifully right across the board, and we saw initiatives with companies like PayPal creating a store connecting local artisan small businesses with people at Christmas time. So they’re acting as an enabler of connection, or the big retailers stocking the smaller brands.”

Moderated by Toby Boon, Nine’s Director of Strategy, Insight and Effectiveness, the panel – featuring Associate Editor of Sunday Life magazine Genevieve Quigley, Food Editor of 9Honey and the Today Show Jane De Graaff, and Brody – discussed how the pandemic has caused a seismic social shift in the way Australians perceive luxury and indulgence, yearning for a stress-free Christmas and wanting to embrace imperfection.

The research shows consumers’ top three priorities are authenticity in themselves, and they demand the same of brands; they want to give themselves freedom of choice and support brands that bring those things to life; and they want to take things a bit easier and put a bit more simplicity into their lives.

“What we’re seeing overall in Australia is a real shift in increases in empathy, openness and tolerance,” said Brody. “It’s trickled down into some of the themes around Christmas, especially this thing of a ‘no-worries’ Christmas. We want to practise self-acceptance for ourselves and we want to be more inclusive of our community, which comes down to what we buy.”  

Our idea of luxury in particular is being reframed and we’re being more thoughtful of what constitutes the idea of luxury and indulgence. Sustainability is increasingly becoming intertwined with luxury.

“I think when we’re talking about luxury, it’s not flashy luxury,” said Quigley. “Luxury is now more about you thinking about that particular gift – that it has meaning, and that’s it quality and will last, which feeds into sustainability.”

Boon added that a wonderful example of brands merging key consumer values is British retailer Primark, who provided paper shopping bags that could be used as wrapping paper to then go on and be recycled.

The research shows that this year Australians are giving themselves permission to go with the flow. Forty per cent of us are looking at a simpler Christmas, and a quarter of us will remain adaptable to changing circumstances and commit to remaining calm.

Nowhere is this more visible than in the kitchen. One in three Australians want to minimise stress in their approach to Christmas cooking and two-thirds of us are willing to take short-cuts in the kitchen to reduce stress. We no longer want to feel ashamed for not having the perfect roasted potatoes or the Insta-worthy table setting.

“It has to be easy this year,” said De Graaff. “I don’t think anyone has really had the perfect Christmas. It doesn’t exist, so stop trying to strive for it and embrace all the stuff around it.

“I remember one Christmas I had this perfect idea in my mind what that was, and I was determined to execute it. In my head it was a disaster on the day. My husband found me in the kitchen with a glass of champagne, shaking that it was disaster. He told me to look through the door at everyone having fun – the only person that could see that particular version of Christmas was me, in my head. I think I had collected all these moments over the years that formed a collage in my head of what a fantasy Christmas looks like.”

After a tough year, Australians no longer want to feel pressured to emulate the cookie-cutter, advertising version of what Christmas should look like. Brands need to better reflect a multicultural view of what the festive season looks like.

“I think it starts with brands diversifying how we represent Christmas and what a good-looking Christmas should look like,” said Brody. “There’s a very singular idea of ‘this is what a Christmas lunch looks like, what your house or tree should look like’. The more that brands can be showing a broader range of what Christmas might look like, it will move some of the expectation that everyone has to align to this one singular view.”

As marketers sit down and prepare for Christmas, they should focus on the real, honest experience of what the festive season really means for the average Australian.

“I think the main trend we’ll see this year is about being connected,” said Quigley. “Last year we felt so disconnected and this year will be all about being connected, and a focus on how we can come together.”

Brody agreed, adding that brands should “lead with optimism” this Christmas.

“Last year everyone was a little bit cautious and asking if it was a bit insensitive to be too festive,” she said. “We’re seeing signs of a real buoyant Australian community. People are feeling really optimistic and grateful of where we are in the world and what we have available.

“If you can connect into some of the core values around community and simplicity that people will be prioritising more this year, then that will be a winner. Keeping it local, keeping it connected and helping people maintain what’s really important will be the main focus.”

The Great Debate: Does advertising lead culture?

The Big Ideas Store finished a stellar two weeks with a battle royal Great Debate with some of adland’s biggest names facing off.

At stake was a combination of professional reputations and pride mixed in with a doze of codral (for at least one of the speakers) as the two sides went head to head.

The debate question: can great advertising can open our eyes to new products, new categories and new ways of living. But does advertising really hold sway over our culture, or is it cynically raiding the zeitgeist and exploiting the human experience for commercial ends.

• Tim Burrowes, Editor-at-Large, Mumbrella
The affirmative
• Rachel Fraser, Head of Strategy, M+C Saatchi
• Roshni Hegerman, Chief Strategy Officer, McCann
• Toby Boon, Director of Strategy, Insights & Effectiveness, Nine

The negative
• Andrew Wynne, CEO, Joy
• Michele O’Neill, Director, Powered Enterprise
• Camille Gray, Strategist, Rufus

Advertisers need to take big creative risks to emerge from a sea of ‘sameness’

When it comes to Australian advertisers taking risks and placing big creative bets, Chief Creative Officer of Howatson+White, Ant White, says it shouldn’t even be a question. In the attention economy, brands now have a maximum 30 seconds to a minute to make an impact on audiences and cannot afford to play it safe.

Speaking on a panel at The Big Ideas Store session, Placing Big Creative Bets, White said: “I have a real issue with the title of this session because I don’t think it’s a gamble – we have to be distinctive and we have to stand out, because so many don’t.”

The panel, made up of White, DDB Chief Strategy Officer Fran Clayton, Howatson+White CEO Chris Howatson, and Optus Chief Marketing Officer Melissa Hopkins, lamented the lack of originality  in Australian advertising over the past 18 months, agreeing “everyone did a COVID ad”.

Mel Hopkins said: “The role of any brand is to be distinctive, to stand out, and to have a different reason or purpose for being. So I found it quite depressing – particularly last year, both Australia and globally – to see this sea of sameness in advertising, when you could pretty much whack any brand off the back of it. That to me is lazy marketing.

“Building distinctiveness is probably the toughest thing you could do, but it’s what builds brands. Ultimately, what I see as the role of marketers is to create tomorrow’s cash – you’ve got to do that by being distinctive.”

Reflecting on the trends on the rise in advertising at the moment, Chris Howatson said advertisers and marketers are playing with context a lot more, and finding the environments.

“Forever we’ve been buying media at the point of diminishing return, and that naturally spreads you across lots of different places rather than just focusing on the most impactful message you can give in the moment when it matters. A lot of clients are now saying, ‘I don’t just want to do one plus 55, or three plus 55 – let’s do a three-minute ad and put it in a place where everyone’s going to see it. Let’s create some fame’.”

Howatson pointed out, however, that being distinctive is not just about following the latest trends – it is much more important to play to the strengths and identity of your brand.

“Context is playing a much bigger role, as is emotion, but we need to make sure we don’t just all start doing emotion, because then it’s not distinctive. What a lot of brands are looking at now is, if they’re a super-rational brand, then they’re doing rationality really well, and if it’s a brand that can play emotion then they’re leaning into that, and maybe doing it through comedy.” 

By remaining true to the authenticity of your brand, Hopkins says there is a much greater opportunity to create “brand memories”, which stick with audiences long after the creative has ended.

“At Optus we’ve changed part of our measurement model, and instead of brand awareness or brand consideration we look at creating brand memories. That’s important because, to use a Telstra example, they spend three times as much as us on media and our results have just come back and said we create the same amount of brand memories. That goes to show you our work is more efficient and effective and impactful.”    

Fran Clayton agreed, saying: “Emotion encodes memory, whatever your emotion is.”

Director of Powered and panel host, Liana Dubois, said the upcoming launch of Nine’s State of Originality – Australia’s richest creative prize – is the perfect opportunity for Australian brands to create brand memories and showcase their creative distinctiveness.

In order to create big advertising moments however, advertisers and marketers first need to sell their idea to brands, which can be more difficult than it seems. 

Howatson says metrics and effectiveness are key to getting the decision makers on board.

“Working in agencies, you’re told creativity works and you believe it, but it’s really only been in the last five years that we’ve built the empirical evidence that stands up to a boardroom conversation.

“My positivity around creativity now stems from the fact that more than any other time in history, we’ve got the tools to sell the business critically around creativity into the C Suite. I’ve found when you have that conversation, it’s a lightbulb that goes off, and all of a sudden the reorientation is around those rules.”

White agreed, adding: “We need to give [brands] the tools, the data, the media plan to make sure it’s going to work. When you do that, it opens up their appetite to do more creative work because the shackles are off and there’s a confidence there.”

More information on Nine’s multi-million dollar challenge to marketers, State of Originality can be found here. Submit your entries at

Inside the $100 billion global cannabis industry: Why Australian marketers need to prepare for the launch of a whole new sector

Marketers are being told to prepare for the launch of a whole new category as momentum grows towards expanding the cannabis market in Australia.

Sam Geer, Managing Director of Initiative, led a discussion at a joint session for Initiative and Nine’s Big Idea Store, exploring what the growth of the cannabis market would mean in this country for brands in the sector and other related industries competing for consumers’ disposable income.

“Today we are talking about cannabis and the business of cannabis,” said Geer. “Professionally speaking [the marketing industry] needs to be thinking about this and we need to be understanding it. Globally, the legal cannabis market is $100 billion, there are 300 publicly listed companies, and in North America there are five times the number of employees in the cannabis market than the mining market – just think about that.

“Locally this is also happening. Australia is the fastest growing medical cannabis market in the world per capita and the fifth largest market globally. Queensland is ahead of the game. They have built the world’s largest cannabis greenhouse and Victoria is trying to one-up them with a new $130 million facility currently being built.”

Geer noted that 42 per cent of Australians already support legislation of cannabis but the path to legalisation would be complex.

Martin Lane, co-founder of local cannabis news website Cannabiz, said he unexpectedly found himself entering the space after seeing the market overseas and that the pathway for Australia was clear.

“I went to Advertising Week in the UK in 2017 and there was a whole stream dedicated [to the business of cannabis],” said Lane. “It’s important to prepare now, [for] when we become the US and the UK.

“There’s a path in terms of Australia. In the US it is legalised in 16 states, in the UK it is classified as a food, in Canada you have both medicinal and recreational. What will happen in Australia? It is now possible to buy CBD [cannabidiol] over the counter in pharmacies, but there isn’t currently a medicine available to be sold.

“We’re 12 to 18 months away from being able to go into Chemist Warehouse and buy CBD. When that happens and the price comes down, it will begin to compete in the complementary medicine stage. That gets you another couple of million, then you get to recreational, probably five years away in my opinion.”

Australian Financial Review reporter, Natasha Gillezeau, noted new research from IBISWorld which noted the local sector was still very much in “start-up” mode but would move swiftly from infancy.

“Where the business leaders are at is quite far away from where the consumer is,” said Gillezeau. “But the expectation is that revenue for the whole sector will go up 79 per cent year-on-year, so there is opportunity.”

Many marketers will be watching which existing brands seek to enter the space and capitalise on the growth, but Eric Thomson, Sydney-based Global Marketing Director Winemakers for drinks giant Pernod Ricard, warned that cultural acceptance was the key overhanging question.

“The cultural context is really important,” Thomson said. “Medicinal will be the first cab off the rank and 42 per cent of Australians favour legalisation. In Canada and the [United] States it was 80 to 90 per cent in favour before it was legalised. It stopped being a political discussion. Here it remains political.

“I struggle to think of a brand or a product or a category so consistently demonised in culture that has been turned around. Anywhere there is money, people will take the opportunity. The culture has started to shift from demonisation to business opportunity.”

Thomson said his brands were reluctant to become players.

“We had a lot of think-tanks and workshops to establish the impact we thought [cannabis] would have on the market. However, we haven’t really seen the material impacts in terms of overall consumption declines in the alcohol beverage sector, premium wine and spirits.“It’s very difficult to replace sharing a glass of wine over a meal. I don’t see cannabis ever being able to do that – and that’s why I’m confident that our category will continue to thrive alongside whatever [de]regulation happens.”

Lane noted that a key question would be how the cannabis market was sold from a brand perspective, and whether the industry could shrug off its “stoner” image.

“Another key question is what’s going to happen with the [marijuana] leaf? The leaf is the golden arches of the cannabis industry. There is a theory that is a bit throwback – the use of green colours, it’s all a bit stoner. So many cannabis companies start with the leaf and that disables them from putting the product in a wider cultural context.”

Marketers warned: we face a generation of consumers who won’t necessarily buy property

Real estate is a national obsession and owning your own home is regarded as the great Australian dream. But with a crippling stamp duty tax and a deposit that takes an average Sydney couple six-and-a-half years to save, a panel of experts argue that marketers need to recognise that Australians may not automatically pursue home ownership.

Speaking on a panel discussing the Changing Australian Dream at Nine’s Big Ideas Store, Dr Nicola Powell, Senior Research Analyst at Domain, Money News host Brooke Corte and Business Insider editor James Hennessy told the room that with Australians buying their first property at an older age than ever before, we need a complete overhaul of how we view property ownership.

James Hennessy, editor of Business Insider told the room that with younger generations struggling to gain a foothold on the property ladder, marketers, brands and in particular property developers must concentrate on making renting a more desirable lifestyle option.

“Younger Australians wanting to live close to the city can only often rent due to the incredible price of inner-city property,” he said. “Renters tend to be forgotten in the property conversation. If we are willing to accept that a higher proportion of Australians will be renting then there needs to be a lot more focus on giving them liberty to be able make a house their home – can they make mild alterations like hanging pictures up on the wall, and have a pet?

“If the Australian dream of owning property is out of reach for a growing section of the population and people will be renting permanently, let’s make that a lifestyle that works.”

Money News host Brooke Corte said the generational divide was becoming quite clear.

“Our whole income support system relies on this idea that by the time we get to retirement we own our own home, and I think that’s where the generational divide of home ownership and being able to get into the market is a big conversation we need to have,” said Corte.

“If the younger generations get into retirement without owning their own home there’s not a lot of support for them. And that’s why there’s a lot of concern about the fact that the fastest growing group of homelessness is in older females. There’s some serious cultural and societal issues we need to discuss.”

Dr Nicola Powell agrees. With Sydney house prices rising by $1145 a day for the first three months of 2021, getting onto the property ladder is now harder than ever.

“The average age for an Australian to purchase their first home is 35 and that’s tracked older and older in recent years. Look at the government’s super deposit scheme where there were 10,000 places for a low deposit of 5 per cent loan, and 10 per cent of people who took up the scheme were over 40.

“We need to think about affordability differently. It’s about the type of stock we are building, and it’s about that missing level of affordability. For example, 3D printing of homes uses 30 per cent less materials than traditional building and is much cheaper. It’s being used in the US to build villages to house homeless people, but it’s also used in European countries for tenants and producing affordable housing.”

But structural change in government policy is needed, said Corte.

“If we want to talk about what government can do to help first home buyers get into the market, we need to talk about stamp duty. That is the biggest roadblock. It’s a massive cost and it has stopped older people moving out of big homes into smaller ones, and it’s stopping people getting that extra amount of money to get into the market in the first place.

“Every time I see the government coming up with an incentive for first home buyers it’s something that stimulates demand, so everyone rushes into the market and property becomes more expensive. The only incentives that will work to make things more affordable are to increase supply, and there hasn’t been a lot of focus on that.”

As editor of Business Insider, which is read by an affluent young audience, James Hennessy said developers need to step up and listen to what people want in a development post-COVID.

“Young Australians want to own a home, but what has changed is their expectation. There’s no longer an inherent expectation within young people that one day they will own a home. There’s an understanding that it’s difficult to get onto the ladder, but COVID has changed that too. As many young people were working from home they’ve realised that, sitting in a rental that was their home, study, office and gym, they do want to spread their wings a bit and move into ownership.

“But that dream of owning a quarter-acre block has definitely shifted. There needs to be more of a conversation around what type of developments and housing we’re building. Are these being targeted at first home buyers, and is it what they want in housing?”

Dr Powell said one way of addressing the insecurity of renting is taking a long-term approach.

“Not only do we have to address affordability of purchasing property, but we also have to look at our rental market. We don’t have long-term leases here, the standard is 12 months. We need to have tenants who can make their rental their home. We can learn a lot of lessons from Europe, where they have long-term leases of five or even 10 years. It’s not for everyone but it’s about having options.”

And while it’s easy to think that housing affordability ends once you’re in the market, a combination of interest rate rises and people refinancing older in life may mean choppy waters lie ahead.

“As people buy houses later in life, when you get into your 50s if you go to refinance, the banks won’t be talking about 30-year loans,” said Corte. “As that timeline [of a loan] gets squeezed in, it becomes more expensive.

“In terms of preparing for what lies ahead, we have interest rates at a record low and I saw a figure the other day that said one million people currently in the property market have never experienced a rate rise. They’ve only experienced rate cuts. People need to start preparing themselves for rate rises.”