The Australian claims creative agencies quietly boycotting Mumbrella by no longer sending PR because of its campaign against scam ads

Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 6.55.00 AM.pngIn the Media section of the Australian today, Media Diary has a swipe at Mumbrella's content director Tim Burrowes over the latter's objectivity in relation to News Corp. but the more interesting part for the ad industry in both Asia and Australia is this paragraph at the end:

Turning the magnifying glass onto Burrowes, it seems the only part of Mumbrella turning a decent profit is the conference. Mumbrella Asia isn't going too well, with ad demand weak. Local agencies say Burrowes has misread the market. Sales boss Sean McKeown is relocating to Perth from Singapore. McKeown will sell ads for the Asian operation from WA, which will hardly help boost advertiser demand. Meanwhile, Australian creative agencies are starting to quietly boycott the local website by no longer sending press releases because of its campaign against scam ads. Jump the shark? More like pole-vaulted the whale.

There may be some truth in the quiet boycott claim, as CB has noticed over the last few weeks a lot more PR releases (and exclusives) coming our way - and to competitors - from certain agencies with Mumbrella left out in the cold. Although for some basic PR releases Mumbrella can get around this by simply copying them from either B&T or Campaign Asia - both allow agencies and PR people to upload unedited PR releases direct to their sites. For instance this story on Peter Bosilkovski last Thursday, which CB understands was only sent to CB, AdNews, B&T and Campaign Asia, appeared later on Mumbrella.
When contacted by CB, Burrowes said via text: "This is the fourth time in four years that The Australian's diary has attempted to get up a story about Mumbrella's finances. By an amazing coincidence, each occasion has always immediately followed some kind of criticism of The Australian."

The Australian is also Australia's representative for the Cannes Festival of Creativity, which Burrows has also heavily attacked on the scam issue, vowing not to attend or send journalists to Cannes in future. This presumably will also affect Mumbrella Asia's relationship with the annual Asia-Pacific Spikes Festival next month, which is a joint venture between Cannes Lions and Haymarket, publishers of rival Campaign Asia.

EMMA-logo.jpgOn the media side of the business, Mumbrella is also being snubbed by The Readership Works - a subsidiary of The Newspaper Works - and its powerful media company owners (which include News Corp. and Fairfax), especially after a damning article on emma, the one-year old measurement survey developed for The Readership Works by independent research company Ipsos MediaCT. According to TRW, emma's methodology is world-leading, surveying 54,000 people a year, seven days a week using sophisticated survey techniques.
emma provides data for more than 600 newspapers and magazines, including over 150 community titles and over 250 regional titles.

Burrowes did not respond to a specific question about whether or not a 'quiet boycott' by creative agencies was taking place. He also did not respond to how that Peter Bosilkovski story appeared on Mumbrella but texted CB this quote from Mumbrella editor Alex Hayes: "Leo Burnett haven't talked to us since we started asking where ads from certain awards entries ran. It's our job to ask questions and it's entirely up to them how they react to that."

9 Comments

Drew L said:

I work at an agency that was not under investigation for any ad and the management are discussing avoiding Mumbrella.

jane said:

the issue is not the reporting or the questions it is the arrogance and threatening.attitude that comes with it. you make money from us but believe you are well above above us. that's the problem

Bite the hand that feeds said:

So I guess quite a few agencies won't be entering their awards and participating in the annual Mumbrella 360 conference?

He-Man said:


Mumbrella is definitely on the nose. Articles there look less like journalism and more like clickbait.

There’s a number of notable announcements, be it account moves, campaign launches etc that are absent or come very late compared to other outlets. And no matter what spin Tim & Co give it, agencies of all walks are definitely avoiding them.


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Agency Jesus said:

None of this is surprising is it? You're either for our industry, or against it, and Tim is like a money-changer at the temple.

And, no, we won't be entering the Mumbrella Awards. But for other reasons than Tim's high-horse over scam ads, chief among them because it is only ever pretty average work that seems to win a Mummy! (guess that happens when the judges are mainly clients)

Happy Jan said:

He also fails to return private emails when questioned about his articles and edits comments them when posted on his site.

patrick said:

It's also amazing that Mumbrella gets all those local advertising and media industry speakers at their conferences to speak for free while they charge $1500 for tickets to more than 1000 people, making a massive profit. They are taking the piss and treating us all like idiots.

Karma said:

Tim B's Cannes vendetta was nothing short of hysterical. Don't blame agencies for giving him the silent treatment.

Dumbrella said:

Surely he didn't expect that ridiculous waste of time to end well? Surely he's not that deluded?

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