Court Reporting

Trial Begins for Drug Import Charges

Rebecca Taylor

A 56 year old Warragul man awaits sentencing after pleading not guilty to the charge of importing commercial amounts of the drug pseudoephedrine.

The man was charged upon returning from Vietnam and has been in custody since April of this year.

The drugs were found in packages inside the suitcase of an elderly couple travelling with him.

The owner of the suitcase said, “I was very shocked,” upon being told about the 4119 grams of pseudoephedrine in her bag.

When the couple landed at Sydney Airport, customs agents found the drugs and questioned the couple, who informed the agents the packages belonged to the accused.

Senior Customs Official Jefferey Van Dam travelled from Sydney to Melbourne to meet the accused as he landed at Tullamarine Airport, where he was questioned by law enforcement.

The man told the couple the packages contained food to take home to his Vietnamese fiancé’s sister, and had asked them to bring things home on an earlier trip in 2013.

The man and his fiancé had paid for the elderly couple’s trip from Melbourne to Ho Chi Minh.

The trip was supposed to be for the wedding of the accused, but the wedding was postponed indefinitely.

Senior Investigator Sharon Hume said it was found that the accused’s fiancé has been using multiple names and identities.

She also said they had found no record of her sister in the course of the investigation.

Magistrate Hassard has continued the case until tomorrow morning.

Man Pleads Guilty to Brunswick Attack

Rebecca Taylor

Brunswick man Noor Panjshiri has pleaded guilty to the charge of recklessly causing injury to a woman employed at his restaurant.

Mr. Panjshiri was charged in 2011 when his employee said he pushed her to the ground and held her captive in a bathroom stall for seventeen minutes after she was late for her shift.

The complainant also alleged Mr. Panjshiri threatened to kill her during that time.

CCTV footage was tendered as evidence of the accused pushing her down, but there is no footage of what took place in the bathroom.

When asked why he shoved the young woman, Mr. Panjshiri said, “She threatened to have her African boys come and rape my son.”

Mr. Panjshiri also went on to say the young woman had come to work high on marijuana that morning and refused to talk to him when he confronted her.

He also said that while the two were in the bathroom, he was simply trying to calm her down.

Although the accused said he thought she was “completely calm” when she left, she made a 000 call as soon as she left.

When he was called into the police station and questioned about the event, he told officers he had not pushed her at all.

When prosecution questioned him about the lie, Mr. Panjshiri said, “Many bad things happened in my past to make me scared of the police.”

The young woman was one of only a few employees at the restaurant, which has since closed down, but was the only employee there at the time of the incident.

Now that the accused has pleaded guilty to recklessly causing injury and not guilty to three related charges, sentencing for this trial will commence at 9:00AM tomorrow at Melbourne Magistrates Court.

Integrated Marketing Communications: Coca-Cola

Integrated marketing communications is the bare necessity for communicating a solid statement to a company’s chosen demographic. However, in today’s media-driven world, it is absolutely necessary to go beyond the marketing plan and consider options that may have been considered “out of the box” 20 years ago. In 2013, it is the only way to truly capture an audience’s attention, and the only way to hold it. Coca-Cola’s “Open Happiness” campaign is a prime example of a company going above and beyond by using a variety of marketing communication alternatives to get their message out to consumers.

In 2009 Coca-Cola launched their “Open Happiness” campaign, following a long trend of associating their product with being happy. However the twist with this particular campaign is how far beyond the usual points of contact the company has gone. The campaign began with Coca-Cola hiring a consulting firm, Starlight Runner Entertainment, “to consult on a 60-second commercial called, ‘Happiness Factory,’ which depicted tiny creatures living inside a Coke machine.” (Once Upon a Soda 2013) Over the course of a year, the consultants from Starlight Runner Entertainment created a Happiness Factory “bible” using transmedia storytelling that held every minute detail of the world within the vending machine, from the various places you could visit, to the in-depth characters that lived there. Once the world was created, the concept was built into a franchise not only using traditional TV commercials, print ads and radio commercials, but also video games, apps and social networking campaigns.

            One thing that makes Coca-Cola unique is that they do not have only one set audience that they need to reach. The demographic of Coca-Cola includes people of all ages, genders, nationalities, religions, sexual preferences and current states of mind. In short, they are marketing to the entire world. They have done a good job of that historically, building relationships with their consumers through various campaigns promoting joy and happiness, two things that people all across the globe want. When the “Open Happiness” campaign was launched in 2009, it was a time when the world economy was suffering severely and the company’s sales were dropping as a result. Promoting happiness at a time of economic crisis when people are generally feeling more “down” than usual was a way to boost consumers desire to spend money on Coca-Cola products, and it worked, boosting sales by 4% (Once Upon a Soda 2013).

Being such a successful company on an international scale means that Coca-Cola has more stakeholders than most companies have to worry about. Coca-Cola products are bottled in almost every country, and the countries that do not have bottling plants import Coca-Cola products from nearby nations that do. It is also a public company, so the stockholders have to be a primary concern when making decisions that affect sales and profits. Finally, the vendors who sell and stock Coca-Cola products along with the consumers who buy and drink them are directly affected by the company’s communication strategies. When coming up with the “Open Happiness” campaign, Coca-Cola would have to take into consideration why this particular campaign would motivate consumers to buy the product, and this would have a direct impact on the various vendors (both big retail brands and smaller family owned shops). In regard to this particular campaign, stakeholders were affected in a positive way because sales increased, and on a global scale Coca-Cola improved their relationship with their consumers. (Wells 2011)

As a brand Coca-Cola has a really strong relationship with its consumers, which has resulted not only from a great product, but also from years of successful marketing campaigns. Choosing to launch the “Open Happiness” campaign at a time when its consumers needed a boost in spirits was beneficial to both parties, and reflects Coca-Cola’s history of using happiness and joy to reflect their brand. Doing so also reminds consumers that Coca-Cola is always there for them, even in times of trial. As an almost one hundred and thirty year old company, Coca-Cola has shown its longevity and strength, but has also maintained that relationship with consumers by reflecting on the brands past campaigns from time to time, and always sticking with a similar theme. (Coca-Cola Animated Short Reveals the Secrets to Happiness: The Coca-Cola Company 2013)

One thing that lets you know that Coca-Cola is a strong brand is the fact that its packaging and logo is so recognizable. Almost everyone in the world recognizes the scripted Coca-Cola, in white on red lettering, and just as recognizable is the image of the bottle. Maintaining these logos is and has been essential to the brands longevity, and one thing that Coca-Cola does well is altering their packaging for campaigns without losing the familiarity and integrity of their brand. In the case of the “Open Happiness” campaign, cans of Coca-Cola were slightly altered to show not only the traditional scripted Coca-Cola, but also images of the characters from the “Happiness Factory”. Over the holiday season in 2011, Coca-Cola also ran a sales promotion called “Unwrap Holiday Cheer”, which offered opportunities to win prizes when consumers purchased twelve-pack cans of Coca-Cola products. This packaging alteration enticed consumers to buy more packs of their product, and also continued to build the brand’s association with joy and happiness. (Coca-Cola Open Happiness Holiday Giveaways! 2013)

This particular case study incorporates nearly all of the aspects of IMC. The advertising included a series of print ads and television commercials. One of the centerpieces of the “Open Happiness” campaign is a series of television advertisements, ranging from the original concept of the world inside the vending machine and the happiness that goes into bringing consumers their bottles of Coca-Cola, to various images of happiness, for example being at the beach with friends (Coca-Cola launches ‘Open Happiness’ campaign – mUmBRELLA 2013). There is also a sequence of short films showing the world of the “Happiness Factory”, and the characters that live there (from the “bible” that Starlight Runners Entertainment created). (Experience the Great Happyfication 2011) For print ads, there have been a variety of creatives produced, such as one from Berlin, Germany that slightly altered the Coca-Cola logo to create a smiley face. (coca-cola open happiness campaign wins 2 iF gold design awards 2013)

The television ads and YouTube videos that Coca-Cola created for the “Open Happiness” campaign all use a common musical device; at the beginning or end of the commercial or video, there is always the same sequence of notes played. These notes are crucial in linking the videos together and ensuring all aspects of the campaign are harmonious. The notes are also played at the beginning of the music video for “Open Happiness”, for which Coca-Cola brought in Cee-Lo, Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump, Gym Class Heroes’ Travis McCoy, and Janelle Monae. With this use of music, Coca-Cola once again shows the importance of going above and beyond the typical marketing plan and finding other points of contact to consumers. (Music + Ads: Coke’s ‘Open Happiness’ 2013)

Being such a large, influential company means having a lot of responsibility to its consumers. One current issue Coca-Cola chose to pursue with the “Open Happiness” campaign is recycling. In Singapore they set up the Recycle Happiness Machine, which rewarded people for recycling with gifts such as flowers or Coca-Cola collectibles and products. Coca-Cola also produced a video in collaboration with the band Absentee that shows the life of a plastic Coke bottle when it is recycled, and the various other Coca-Cola products that can be created using the recycled PET plastic bottles. This video is available on the OpenHappiness YouTube channel, which is also run by Coca-Cola, and is another example of the social media outreach associated with this campaign. (Recycle : The Life Story of a Coke Bottle 2009) In tandem with the recycling theme, Coca-Cola has also approached the subject of reducing obesity. As a soft drink company, it could potentially be argued that Coca-Cola is partially responsible for the recent increase in obesity, but the brand has approached the social issue by creating a series of YouTube videos and TV commercials that show how many calories are in a can of Coke, and then presenting a variety of “happy activities” you can do to burn off those calories, such as dancing or laughing. (Coca-Cola Continues Obesity Rebuttal With New TV Commercial 2013)

In today’s age of technology, social media is now an essential part of any creative marketing campaign. Through what AdAge calls Coca-Cola’s “biggest social media push yet”, three people in their twenties will be travelling the world as ambassadors for Coca-Cola, with the task of capturing moments of happiness world-wide. (Digital: Behind Coca-Cola’s Biggest Social-Media Push Yet 2013) The ambassadors will be posting their findings to Facebook and Twitter, and company executives will be monitoring the public’s interest in these posts. This is another example of the ways brands need to go above and beyond their traditional IMC campaigns.

In summary, an iconic brand like Coca-Cola has a long history of using marketing communication tools to relate to their consumers, advertise their product, build an outstanding reputation for their brand and to essentially ensure that their brand is a familiar household name. By coming up with a transmedia foundation to their campaign, they created a solid launch pad to take their creative campaign global, expand it, and yet still have the association of the initial campaigns. The “Open Happiness” campaign has successfully brought more recognition to the brand and has also increased Coca-Cola’s reputation as a “good” company through their efforts to promote issues that affect our society today.

Blackfish Case Study

A case study of the effect the documentary Blackfish had on SeaWorld and the aftermath, for an Issues and Crisis Communication class.

On January 19th 2013, Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s documentary Blackfish premiered at the Sundance film festival. Blackfish is a film that was made after the death of trainer Dawn Brancheau, when Cowperthwaite questioned the housing of Orca’s (or ‘killer whales’) in captivity. The film paints a dismal picture of life for Orca’s at one of the largest animal based theme parks; SeaWorld. Among others, the film claims poor living quarters as the pools are considerably smaller than an orca in the wild would have, and that by denying the animals their natural instincts and orders, they are slowly driven to psychological trauma and violence.

SeaWorld was approached by Cowperthwaite multiple times for interviews but never responded. Because of that, the film is fairly one sided, utilising interviews from trainers and marine animal experts to paint a damning picture of life in the park. In its Sundance premiere, Blackfish was received well overall but wasn’t a trending topic until after its wider release after being picked up by CNN and Magnolia Pictures.

One of SeaWorld’s first responses to the film came six months after its initial debut, through promotional agency 42West. In the days leading up to Blackfish’s LA and New York premiere, SeaWorld sent a letter to roughly fifty film critics who were, presumably, about to review the film. The letter highlighted what the company considered the most serious falsehoods of the film and claimed to provide them with the facts. This was met by a rebuttal from Cowperthwaite, which defended the film’s representations.

Since the wider release of the film, it has since been screened on CNN, which pulled in over 470,000 viewers, and subsequently was released on Netflix. In the months following, the film went viral on social media, from celebrities tweeting about how the film changed their mindset to high school kids trying to raise awareness. The ‘Blackfish effect’ has continued on even over two years later. In 2015 SeaWorld reported a loss of $37.4 million from the year before (AP, 2015), and over the past two years stock has fallen over 50%(Jay, 2015). Partnerships have been severed, such as the one previously held with Southwest Airlines (Kumar, 2015), and scheduled performers like The Bare Naked Ladies have chosen to distance themselves from the brand after being approached by activists.

SeaWorld did well in choosing to create a strategic crisis plan to deal with this matter. The plan included informational advertising (that primarily did not involve orcas), social media campaigns like #AskSeaWorld, the development of the $10 million ‘Blue World Project’ in which they will create tanks twice the size of the existing ones, and donating $10 million to the preservation and study of wild orcas. Creating this structured plan, utilising the same language across all of the tools in use and having a timeline and clear goals in place should provide the necessary environment to help bring back public favour.

However, in not acting sooner, SeaWorld let what could have been an easily managed issue turn into a crisis. By not commenting on the questions in the film before it was released, the narrative was driven by the filmmakers, not the company. In losing control of the narrative, they lost control of how they were perceived in this crisis, and have not been able to regain that control. Legislation has been filed in California to ban the use of orcas in performances, and will be re-introduced in 2016 after an extensive study of orcas in captivity is conducted. (Perry, 2015) The life cycle of an issue is clear, and this issue was allowed to live out its life and metamorphose into a beautiful crisis. (Jaques, 2014) By waiting until right before Blackfish was about to be viewed by even more people, then drawing extra attention to it, SeaWorld missed out on what could have been six months of public image management and pre-emptive damage control. Instead, their Twitter campaigns have been met with aggressive accusations, they stand accused of having employees pose as activists and are having to spend millions of dollars to play catch up. Had they been better prepared for the film to become accessible to the public, it may not have been such a blow to the company.

The underlying issue in this case is whether or not orcas should be kept in captivity, and at its core, is about their wellbeing. Had SeaWorld anticipated that issue, and the extent to which the public would sympathise with these animals after the Sundance premiere, they may have been able to steer public opinion in a way that was more favourable to them. Initially, I understand that the company was likely following the lead of those who had been in the situation before them. Typically, when companies find themselves the subject of a film’s accusations, they make no comment and wait for the firestorm to die down. This is particularly true for documentaries, which often have smaller audiences and less ‘reach’. However in abandoning that strategy and reaching out to critics, and by publicly attacking the film, they may have fuelled the fire themselves. The so-called Blackfish effect has lead to the end of many people’s careers, what could be the end of their company, and possibly the industry of having captive orcas itself.

AP, (2015). SeaWorld Struggles to Recover from ‘Blackfish’ Black Eye. NBCNews. [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 Aug. 2015].

Baran, M. (2014). SeaWorld campaign designed to ease killer whale dispute. Travel Weekly. [online] Available at: [Accessed 18 Aug. 2015].

Blackfish, (2015). Filmmakers. [online] Available at: [Accessed 18 Aug. 2015].

Brammer, Rebekah. Activism and antagonism: The ‘Blackfish’ effect [online]. Screen Education, No. 76, Mar 2015: 72-79. Availability: <;dn=096112996165527;res=IELAPA&gt; ISSN: 1449-857X. [cited 18 Aug 15].

Cieply, M. (2013). SeaWorld’s Unusual Retort to a Critical Documentary. The New York Times. [online] Available at:; [Accessed 18 Aug. 2015].

Ebiri, B. (2013). SeaWorld Fights Back at the Critical Documentary ‘Blackfish’. Bloomberg Business. [online] Available at: [Accessed 17 Aug. 2015].

Jacques, A. (2015). Making waves: SeaWorld’s Diane Centeno talks branding. [online] Available at: [Accessed 18 Aug. 2015].

Jaques, T. (2014). Issue and crisis management. Oxford University Press. Australia

Jay, M. (2015). SeaWorld says park attendance fell 2 percent in 2nd quarter, but backs its annual forecast. US News. [online] Available at: [Accessed 12 Aug. 2015].

Kumar, S. (2015). Southwest Air, SeaWorld End Partnership. The Wall Street Journal. [online] Available at: [Accessed 18 Aug. 2015].

Osegi, A. (2014). SeaWorld vs. Blackfish: A Crisis PR War Rages on Social Media. [online] Available at: [Accessed 18 Aug. 2015].

Perry, T. (2015). Bill to ban orca shows at SeaWorld will not be reintroduced this year. The Los Angeles Times.

Renninger, B. (2015). SeaWorld Unleashes 8 Assertions About ‘Blackfish’ and Filmmakers Respond. IndieWire. [online] Available at: [Accessed 18 Aug. 2015].

SeaWorld Cares, (2015). Truth About Blackfish. [online] Available at: [Accessed 18 Aug. 2015].

Smart PR or marketing misfire? SeaWorld defends against film. (2013). Advertising Age, 84(27), 5. Retrieved from

Taube, A. (2014). SeaWorld Tried To Sway A Poll About ‘Blackfish,’ The Documentary It Doesn’t Want You To See. Business Insider Australia. [online] Available at: [Accessed 19 Aug. 2015].

Titlow, J. (2015). SEAWORLD IS SPENDING $10 MILLION TO MAKE YOU FORGET ABOUT “BLACKFISH”. Fast Company. [online] Available at: [Accessed 18 Aug. 2015].

Entrepreneurship and Startup Industry Panel

For this panel, I was a member of the executive planning team, along with Kyle Leveque and Clem Binks. Essentially my role was to ensure the group as a whole was working to brief and on schedule, as well as assisting in securing panellists and making decisions for the direction of the panel. I reached out to a contact of mine from the US, Jason McGraw, to be our international panellist and assisted in recording his interview. As the date of the panel came nearer, the three members of the EP team decided it would be easier if we each worked with another group (research, media and event planning) in order to have more structured communications. I worked with the event planning team and made sure our hosts were ready for the day. The photos below, along with some footage of the event, best highlight my part in the panel.

They Call It Puppy Love

For our Ethical Consumption project, my group chose to create a campaign called ‘They Call it Puppy Love’ promoting adoption and the abolishment of puppy mills or puppy farms. My role was as a researcher and website manager. I also conducted interviews to develop content for our Instagram and Web page.


Credit to Nathan Santamaria for creating this documentary.