Time flies so fast, it has already been 9 weeks of participating in the New Directions in Narrative and I am delighted to undertake this course since it has provided me with extra knowledge and experience with regard to the new ways of telling the story. I have never had any experience with Virtual Reality (VR) and I found that this course is so useful for me to do more research and practice on this new technology. By documenting my ongoing processes of developing my digital narrative proposal, below are some important posts I have selected.

                           1. Why Uluru?

This is one of my chosen posts because it explains my rationale of creating a digital narrative illustrating the sensitivity of Aboriginal culture. This content development stage has brightened up me to clearly understand the main argument in my project and figure out the way to effectively construct my narrative.

Link 1:

                         2. VR Research

This post enables me to look from different perspectives on how VR is utilised to raise public awareness and promote culture and tourism. I explored some projects to understand more deeply how to use VR effectively to tell my story.

Link 2:

                     3. Reorganise the Project Plan

The reason why I chose this post is because it reshapes my ideas and clearly identifies the premise of my project and also the form and medium of my video based on the existing information and projects that have been done in VR technology.

Link 3:

                   4. Target Audience 

This analysis of existing research on audience enables me to clearly identify who exactly are the potential audience for my digital narrative project including their age range and the way to possibility reach them.

Link 4:

                    5. Marketing Strategy

This post allows me to get more insight in the process of designing an effective online marketing strategy for my digital narrative proposal and it has also directed me to start thinking about the significance of contributing factors and elements to successfully run the marketing plan.

Link 5:

                   6. Project Feedback

From my perspective, an improvement of the project proposal can be done through reflecting comments getting from lecturers and classmates. All constructive criticism can uplift the quality of the proposal. This is the reason I selected this post.

Link 6:

I declare that in submitting all work for this assessment I have read, understood and agree to the content and expectations of the assessment declaration.


Marketing Strategy

Marketing strategy becomes another assignment for me after receiving the guideline of the digital narrative project. I did some more research around the topic to dispel my doubts and to clarify some unclear points.

Queensland Government (n.d.) defines ‘Marketing is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion and distribution of your ideas, goods or services to satisfy the needs of individual consumers or organisations’ (para. 1), and Fifield (2012, p.168) defines marketing strategy as ‘the mean by which marketing objective will be achieved’. This simply means that marketing strategy is the way the organisation or company promotes products and/or services to the target audience aiming to sell the products and/or services.

Photo from this site.

The important element of marketing plan includes an analysis of the current and future needs of the customers or target audience and the development of marketing strategy requires the ability to identify the marketing goal before marketing the products and services. Kingsnorth (2016) explains the importance of 4Ps in marketing consisting of ‘product, price, place, and promotion’ and the Queensland Government (n.d.) added three more Ps in marketing including people, process, and physical evidence. Prior to designing a marketing strategy, the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) method should be used to analyse the specific goal of the marketing (Queensland Government n.d.).

Photo from this site.

Lake (2017) describes the differences of using marketing strategy including interactive marketing, Internet and online marketing, digital marketing, whereas Cultbranding (n.d.) illustrates the 52 styles of marketing that are commonly used presently. One of those strategies, I think online marketing strategy particularly social media marketing is likely to fit in my project, ‘The Red Land’ due to the resources and potential audience. The strategic marketing process begins with a clear understanding of marketing objectives, setting up the target audience, using communication messages and channels to reach the audience. Britten (n.d.) suggests the 10 tips for a filmmaker to consider in developing a social media plan one of which is having adequate content. This reflects my previous social media campaign. I realise that content is extremely important to boost up the audience engagement.

 I am currently drafting the marketing plan for my project proposal. The combination of social media platforms Facebook page, YouTube channel, and Instagram to disseminate the messages, photos, and short videos promoting Uluru and the aboriginal cultures will be used to gain traction from my target audience. The use of existing photos of Uluru from my friends who used to be there can possibly start up my project marketing while I have not been there yet. A few key messages from my research, for example, ‘Love this land, respect our culture’ and ‘Uluru is our heart and also our identity’ will be used to embark my social media campaign.  


Britten, A n.d., ‘Digital marketing guide: Building an online audience Social media’, Screen Australia, viewed 13 September 2017,

Cultbranding (n.d.), ‘52 Types of Marketing Strategies’, viewed 13 September 2017,

Fifield, P 2012, ‘Marketing Strategy’, 2nd ed., Taylor and Francis, Hoboken.

Kingsnorth, S., 2016. Digital Marketing Strategy An Integrated Approach to Online Marketing, London: Kogan Page.

Lake, L 2017, ‘Understanding Interactive, Digital, and Internet Marketing Strategies’, The Balance, 10 June 2017, viewed 13 September 2017,

Queensland Government (n.d.), ‘Businesses Queensland: The 7 Ps of Marketing’, viewed 13 September 2017,

Reorganise the Project Plan


The Red Land is an edutainment video portraying the amazing world recognizable monolith (Uluru or Ayers Rock) and educating the cultural sensitivities of Aborigines specifically to not climb the Rock that is the sacred place for aborigines to perform spiritual performances in the caverns because they believe that the Rock was created by their ancestral beings.

“We, the Anangu traditional owners, have this to say: Uluru is sacred in our culture. It is a place of great knowledge. Under our traditional law climbing is not permitted. Please don’t climb” (Anangu Sign written on the base of Uluru as cited in ABC).


There are two main objectives producing this digital narrative project.

  • To raise the potential tourists’ awareness about the Aboriginal sensitive culture followed by the traditional land owners (Anangu people).
  • To hopefully change their disrespectful behaviour to climb the rock and take photos/videos in a few prohibited spiritual performance.

Gaudiosi (2016) reports that UN used VR to raise the public awareness about the way human being is living in the world and also raise some money to support people living in the vulnerable conditions as VR uplifts the level of information dissemination in an immersive experience. Anon (2016) also reports that in Japan, the use of VR to raise public awareness about lung cancer is effective.

As claimed by Henneberg (2017), VR has been found to influence viewer’s behaviour when it is used in some fields for examples in a medical and military program. For more than a decade, VR is successfully used to treat behavioural and anxiety disorder, and even to assess and treat sex offender. Patrice (2014) also emphasise the importance of using VR to rehabilitate and improve the illness conditions of stroke and traumatic patients because it enables patients to practice repeatedly. This shows that VR can make a massive impact in awareness raising and the change in behaviour.

Form, Format, and Medium

This video will be filmed by using 360-degree technology aiming to provide the audience with immersive experience. The video will be a non-linear storytelling and non-fictional style where viewers can choose to see different movements and parts of the video. The final video will be uploaded on YouTube and share to Facebook. Although viewers cannot touch or play while viewing the video, they can move up, down, left, right to see different angles of the images allowing them to embrace the great feelings of seeing the spectacular viewers and landscapes of the well-known and iconic place in Australia by using Google Cardboard or other high-tech headsets plus the main message of the project.

The Google Australia has just launched the VR project to showcase the beauty of Uluru and other natural places and to serve audiences with immersive experience by collaborating with Uluru cultural centre and the traditional land owners to work on this project for two years.

The proposed video will be formatted with 16:9 ratio and 3840 x 2160 in 4K resolution having between 2-3 minutes by using 360-degree camera (monoscopic form). The video treatment will be different from the existing projects produced by different agencies or tourists. The opening of the beautiful scenery of Uluru with a combination of Aboriginal traditional dancing and tourists riding camels accompanying by a few seconds of traditional dancing music named “The Spirit of Uluru”. The strong quote from an Aborigine will be incorporated in the the video. For instance, ” Our Culture is Our lives, Please Respect us by not climbing.”


Anon  2016,  Japan : Team Chugai to Take Part in Relay for Life Japan Using 3D Adventure Experience (Lung Cancer) to promote awareness of the early detection and treatment, MENA Report, May 14, 2016.

Henneberg, S 2017, ‘Virtual reality First’ , Greenhaven Publishing, New York.

L., Patrice, Keshner, Emily A. & Levin, Mindy F 2014, ‘Virtual Reality for Physical and Motor Rehabilitation’, Springer, New York.

Project Feedbacks

This week, I reflect on the feedbacks from my group members and lecturers to improve my digital narrative project and I am so grateful to them for giving me more inputs as well as the resources. I have polished my project proposal based on the lecturer’s comments by contacting the media team at Uluru centre asking for the permission to film and interview an elder aborigine. Positively, I received the answer explaining the process and also the possibility of having an aborigines in my video. Based on the Uluru guideline, I am entitled to film. I have also contacted RMIT Ngarara Willim Centre to find out more about Aborigine protocol and I have been referred to Peter Burke  who is working at RMIT Human Research Ethics. Moreover, I have also received permission from the Alex to use his Uluru video for my EPoC.

My first email corresponding to the media team at Park Australia, Uluru








In response to Margot’s comment, I strongly agree that my presentation was so short and left some important questions to audiences related to the planned content and interface of the video. I should have included the storyboard of my digital video and explain why I incorporate the fantastic view of world well-known monolith plus the educational messages to inform tourists not to climb the mountain.  The strategy of introducing beautiful places at Uluru for people to visit can be an effective way to entertain, inform, and educate. Below is a draft part of my shooting treatment.

With regard to equipment as my group member, Nan, has also raised, I can rent the 360-degree camera from a shop as my friend who used to work on VR project did the same thing because RMIT has no 360-degree camera. The experience of using VR is also new to me, so I can expand my skills and also get some support from my friend who is skillful in editing and filming . One of my classmates has 360-degree camera, so I may borrow from him since RMIT only rents out those cameras for merely Digital Media students because those camera are supplied by their lecturers. Nan is also concerned with the possibility of filming since there is a cultural prohibited areas during spiritual performance. According to the Uluru and Aboriginal centre, there are some spiritual performances in the caves that do not allow for photos taking and video filming, but the rest is allowed. Based on the guide for tourists at Uluru, all tourists are allowed to film or take photos, but not for commercial purpose.

Lyn, Shena and Emily have shared some sorts of 360-degree video links and ideas to think about the way to make the video become more attractive. I read and watched the ABC news discussing about the use of the state-of-the-art 3D technology to tell the story about an elder Aborigine witnessing the nuclear bomb in  the film called ‘Collision’. “In virtual reality everything becomes personal,” Lynette Wallworth, the filmmaker said in the interview with ABC. This 360-degree video enables the audience to feel as they are inside the real situation while they can move around to see different angles. This shows that VR is a new approach to actually portray the truth and has a strong impact on viewers.


I was absent last week because I had a horrible flu as a result I had no idea what EPOC is  after I read the course’s blog. I tried to read some online materials and also the course documents to refine my ideas and get more understandings. EPOC stands for Electronic Proof of Concept. The term proof means evidence and concept means the idea, so EPoC refers to the evidence of your ideas using software to demonstrate the feasibility of your project. Aishwarya (2017) suggests to think about the ‘efforts and duration, project scope, resources selection, and criteria acceptance’ before producing PoC. I personally want to produce a short video introducing a concept of my VR project if I am granted the archive footage from some visitors who uploaded on YouTube. If not, I want to design a poster indicating the significance and feasibility of my VR project. Since these are my initial ideas based on my existing skills, I am looking forward to discussing with my team next week.

Here are some existing footages.

Poster samples:

Weaknesses and Strengths of Virtual Reality

Since I am proposing a 360-degree (VR) video project, I have explored more for the strengths and weaknesses of VR. This week, I am reading Henneberg’s book published in 2017. He points that the prevalence of VR remains limited due to the technology and accessibility. The VR emerged from game community and it proposes a possibility of allowing viewers to have an immersive experience, but not the exactly be in the real environment or situation. As Luke O’ Neil said, sensationalism is not the component of VR, but giving more understanding to audience about the narrative or content is the role of VR. With the validity of the VR, viewers can, to a certain extent, feel empathy or happy while viewing though it is not real. VR has been found to influence viewer’s behaviour when it is used in some fields for examples in a medical and military program. For more than a decade, VR is successfully used to treat behavioural and anxiety disorder, and even to assess and treat sex offender.

However, the limited access to VR accessories such as smartphone and headsets- remains a challenge. The cost of Google Cardboard is around $20 while the Oculus Rift is so pricey, around $600, not to mention the price of smartphone. Another drawback associated with VR is the health problem. When using VR glasses and headsets, some viewers may feel dizzy and headache (motion sickness) after watching. From this information, I may have to considerably think about the availability and accessibility of VR for my target audience.  Although, VR is not widely used at the present time, I believe that in the near future this advanced technology will be available and widely used throughout the world due to its benefits and modern interface and immersion. My question for my project after reading this book is,  would it be possible for them to consume headsets and watch the 360-degree video that I produce? or another idea is that after producing the video, I can have a collaboration with aboriginal and tourism centre to distribute my video in addition to my existing online campaign.

I also learned some interesting facts and information about how to film VR video from Lynda website. By watching Ben Long’s explanation of how to produce VR video, it sounds easy, but I think it will be difficult for me as the beginner to start up. VR technique can be used to produce a documentary, game, animation video illustrating the core message of any interesting content.

The immersive video environment of VR makes viewers become more excited or amusing to consume the content. However, in some points, VR cannot create the real environment to the audience because the content and movement in VR are set by the film producer. This means the producer decides what the angles or points that viewers can see in the video, showing the affordance of the VR.


Henneberg, S 2017, ‘Virtual reality First’, Greenhaven Publishing, New York.

Long,  B 2016, Learning VR photography and video, Lynda, viewed on 08 August 2017,

Strategies of Participation

At this stage, I continue gathering information to improve my digital media concept before starting the project proposal initiation. The participation or collaboration style of storytelling remains the most interesting way to showcase the initiative narrative, which is beneficial to develop the project plan. According to Sandra Gaudenzi, the concept of strategies participation enables prosumers to contribute to or change the final content of online documentary, which allows the prosumers to not only viewing but also creating the content. The restriction of collaboration is set to inform the prosumers about the extent and limitation of their rights to partially join the documentary creation, but not to gain the authorship. The author of the online documentary has the authority to orchestrate the content contributed by the prosumers. Hence, the prosumers have to be aware of the level of their contribution to the online documentary.

The term participation originally comes from different software and social networks like Open Source, YouTube, crowdsourcing…etc but not from the documentary or video production. So, how participation can be incorporated into the interactive or online documentary. The first attempt to seek the viewers’ participation in the documentary was produced by Gaylor, and that was a useful experiment. He created the crowdsourcing website to gather viewer’s personal videos in order to produce the documentary. That was not a successful project due to the time span of the project, incoherent storytelling, and the difficulty in creating aesthetic. This type of participation leads to the change of the producer’s role to become the facilitator. However, there are also some filmmakers who successfully produced the crowdsourcing documentary as an example a documentary by Ridley Scott and Kevin Macdonald. They produced a documentary telling the daily activities of people by asking each of the viewer to record a clip of his/her video telling about his/her daily life. Hundreds of people participated in this online project resulted in a production of participatory documentary named ‘Live in a Day’.


From my perspective, the participation or collaboration is important in this digital world since the viewers do not want to be passive anymore but instead they want to engage and produce their self-content. However, there are some challenges as stated by Sandra and also some other authors who experienced in doing crowdsourcing for producing a documentary. The idea of using participant collaboration might be possible if it is used at the initiation stage by asking online viewers who are interested in the author’s concept. They perhaps give some inputs to shape the documentary or film angle or sometimes the raw footages that can be used, but it appears to be less effective when the participation is used during the final product of the artefact. Before using participation approach, the author might have to think carefully in which content that can trigger the prosumers’ interest and engage with otherwise there will be less or no participants. This reflects to my current project about VR, I might seek support from friends who are interested in the project and possibly get some footages if they used to be at Uluru. This is a kid of pilot or testing my concept with online participants.


Nash, K, Hight, C, & Summerhayes, C 2014, ‘New Documentary Ecologies’, London: Palgrave Macmillan UK.


  1. Margot’s project “Actions speak louder than words”

The Presentation: Her digital narrative project is about producing a game having many players to compete with each other by using their power and personal goals. During Margot’s presentation, she elaborated the key messages of how her game will look like and this really impressed me with her creativity. However, the less incorporation of technical terms during the presentation might be able to improve her pitching in the future. I am struggling in trying to understand some technical words for instance ‘Javascript’ and ‘system of alliance’ since I am not a technician nor a game player. Thus, Margot should consider reducing some heavy terms, which might result in greater audience understanding and also minimize the confusion for the next presentation.


The proposed digital narrative: The idea of producing the multiplayers game is interesting and possibly achievable. I noticed one major issue with regard to game designing. This project might require Margot to spend lots of time on interface and the whole content. My suggestion before starting to write up the project proposal, Margot might test her ideas with game lovers. Given the fact that I do not like playing online games, Margot might briefly discuss with our classmates like Stella and Lisa, who are addicted to games and also specialising in picking up games to play. They might be able to give some more inputs in terms of content and the way her game should be designed to fulfil the target audience’s needs.

Besides, I am wondering how the game will be interacted by the players and what are the processes of competing with other opponents in the game especially designing the ending. Making players becomes addicted or undertake the enjoyment are also essential during game development, and this might be an idea for Margot to think. Some games are produced, but could not attract players since its aesthetic or ideology do not match the player’s expectation and it might be difficult to play.

  1. Mona’s project What if one day there is no more infant formula for ‘your’ baby?”

The Presentation: Mona has explained her project format clearly based on her narrative and she will produce a web documentary portraying the Daigou issue demanding Chinese mothers to fervently support local products and the government to hold accountability. I like the fact that Mona has brought up a few examples of the projects that can provide her with some sorts of ideas for production design like Klynt. From my perspective, Mona should have arranged the slides presentation carefully, the fonts and images were not well organised, this results in less attraction of the material projecting on the screen.


The proposed digital narrative: I do like the idea of producing the web documentary to make a social impact due to the fact that this project will be beneficial to enhance the local products.  However, I am a bit confused with the content. Based on my understanding from the pitching is that there are many agencies buying infant formulas from Australia and selling back to China, and this has reduced the local infant formulas demand. Therefore, Mona wants to produce a web documentary explaining the crisis and impacts of the reduction of local formulas due to overloaded imported formula milk. Mona might also have to look at a different perspective by focusing on the quality of the local formula. Chinese mothers, who can afford buying imported milk from Australia, might rely on the high-quality products rather than the domestic one. If there is an evidence indicating that the quality of local infant formulas is as good as the Australia’s, this project will become more interesting. I suggest Mona to search more detailed information and data of this controversial problem because it is sensitive and needs to have a clear elaboration. She can access the current news following this link. 

In terms of format and medium for this project, it would be nice if Mona can produce a viral video telling the risks of using Daigou service and products (there should be reports or studies). Chinese mothers tends to highly value Australia’s products owing to their peer and society influence, but how to change this perception? Thus, the viral video incorporating funny content with educational messages about local infant formulas might be effective to change Chinese’s perception and also request the local government to intervene. The more reach of the viral video on social media, the more influential the video is. This might quickly make a positive change as Mona’s goal.

  1. Shenna’s project “Samsara”

The presentation: Shena delivered the plan of her project with a well-designed, but she should have used eyes contact while presenting and her voice should be clearer and louder. Shena would like to produce a Role-Playing game (RPG) that is about a character using a mysterious book to rescue her close friend from the car accident. This kind of interactive game allows players to choose options differently in order to set the endings.

The proposed digital narrative:  The content of Shena’s project appears to be amazing to me by having a precise story line. I would like to know her project target audience and the significant of the project. It sounds to me that the project is more likely to attract female players rather than male. The integration of male character in the game might be able to expand the target audience and Shena can possibly incorporate other characters who challenge the main character in helping her friends. It is like the turning point of the story.


Regardless of her content development, I am wondering how will Shena design the game? whether or not, it can be played by multiple players? Designing a game requires lots of efforts and skills in drawing or developing, and this might be a concern. I would be more excited to watch a short film of this story rather than playing the game. The combination of fantasy and imaginary story is more likely to grab the audience’s attention. Shena might think about making a short film if she finds it difficult to design an online game, and of course I am one of her fan. I suggest the website for Shena to explore the RPG design, it might be useful for her to think critically and carefully in employing this technology.

  1. Zhexiong (Lynn) ’s project “Butterfly Effect”

The Presentation: Lynn presented his short film concept clearly which will be having multilinear stories. This project consists of 6 storylines following the example of the famous film “11:14”. Two points for Lynn to improve are the font size and eyes contact while pitching his ideas. It would be much better for Lynn to make the presentation becomes more interesting if he increased the font size and also reduce the text. This will be much easier for viewers to read and to fully concentrate on his presentation. There were lots of wordings, within a 3mn presentation, the audience mostly wants to listen to a short and simple message. Making eyes contact with other classmates is important to ensure that everyone is engaged with him, but during his presentation, I noticed that he seemingly looked at the lecturers only.


The proposed digital narrative: The idea of filming the multiple stories is creative and fabulous. I could imagine how the six stories link together based on the information I read on the slides. The most startling thing about the project is that Lynn is inspired to produce this film after watching many multiple stories movies, this can be beneficial for him to adapt the great techniques and also content development in terms of writing a screenplay from those award winning films.   However, I think that Lynn might have to find a way to keep audience’s attention and interest while watching the consecutive six climax points, showing all problems. The overarching goal of the film is to retain the audience’s attention and audiences do want to have a mixture of feelings including but not limited to comedy, romantic, problem while watching. Therefore, Lynn might have to deeply think about inserting different components in the scripts to provide the audience with different feelings in one film. On behalf of the audience, I would love to watch Lynn’s film by having a humor segment without conversation. He probably can incorporate the daily funny things that make people laugh uproariously.

There is a book called ‘Alternative Scriptwriting: Beyond the Hollywood Formula’ by Ken and Jeff (2013), Lynn might gain more understanding of how to creatively write the script for his short film in addition to the previous knowledge from the story, genre, and medium course.

I declare that in submitting all work for this assessment I have read, understood and agree to the content and expectations of the assessment declaration.

Pitching Presentation

This week, I am working on the pitching preparation of my digital project. My project is titled as ” The Land of Sanctity”.  The aims of this project is to raise the tourists’ awareness and to changed their disrespectful behaviour during their trip at Uluru. The reason that I selected this topic for my project is because some tourists disobey the rules at the base of the mountain of Ayers Rock not to climb. So far, 35 died when they climbed the 348 meters rock because of the steep mountain slop and difficulties. In terms of aboriginal culture, the Ayers Rock is the sacred place for Anangu aborigines representing the Dreamtime. Spiritual performance and other cultural activities are celebrated every year and the majority of tourists is genuinely curious to learn the rich culture of those aborigines. During the ritual performance in the caves, photography is prohibited due to the sensitive culture, but some tourists disregard the rule. This makes the land owners become anxious and demand for action taken by the cultural centre as well as the government to intervene.

Having learn the existing problem of the world famous monolith at Uluru, I decided to employ the 360-degree technology, which can provide the viewers with immersive experience and spectacular views by using goggles. This new technology advancement derives lots of attentions from the viewers and the producers as it can engross audience with its functions of having 360-degree footages which viewers can change to different directions while watching. As Hand explains, there are two kinds of 360-degree, one of which is monoscopic allowing you to film by simultaneously filming angles of the scenes. This is the basic filming. Another type is called Stereoscopic, which requires producers to create 3D rendering in addition to the normal 360 footage. From this understandings, I can understand that filming 360-degree video requires detail skills to use multiple cameras or cameras having multiple lenses in order to ensure the footages are recorded at the same time and easy to editing stitching.

Ribena Crisis Management

A well-known healthy drink brand, Ribena blackcurrant, was originally introduced in Britain in 1938 (Ribena 2017), manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), one of the world largest pharmaceutical companies, and distributed in 22 countries including New Zealand and Australia (Enough 2007). The Ribena products suffered an impending brand crisis in 2004 causing sale decrease and reputational damage. Two New Zealand highschool students claimed that the Ribena blackcurrant drink did not contain higher level of vitamin C four times more than oranges as advertised, but instead, it had almost no detectable vitamin C (NZherald 2007). The GSK was found guilty for 15 cases and fined up to £1.1 million (AU$ 18 million) plus corrections of their advertisement (Vasagar 2007). The case clearly shows the GSK’s failure in crisis management, leading to the brand devastation (Jaques 2008).

During the crisis management, there were two strengths that GSK could uphold its credibility and reputation. Ribena has a strong brand supported by thousands of customers (Burke 2007), it was likely that most of the public did not trust the students’ findings. The two teenagers did the experiment because they wanted to prove their hypothesis that the famous brand drink is much healthier than cheaper brands (Vasagar 2007). The other strength is that the company was able to apply an apologia strategy to handle the disastrous brand matter (Jaques 2008). By acknowledging the mistake and apologising profusely, the company reduced the customers’ anger and disappointment from the misleading content. This seems effective, but it appeared overdue resulting in irreparable brand damage.

The GSK seemingly mismanaged the remedy strategy in achieving the communication’s objectives dealing with the scandal. It lacks a proper plan to solve the adverse occurrence causing major reputational damage which was protracting and expensive. The theoretical framework from its previous experience, Ribena Toothkind criticism, and the corporate scandal handling experience could be used to prepare appropriate responses. Examples of crisis management can be learned from the abnormal level of benzene in the bottle of Perrier products (Barton 1991), and Volkswagen’s cheating information about its car low emission (Hotten 2015). Smith (2013) recommends each company develops effective strategies to be proactive rather than reactive in responding any unpredictable crises.

The GSK’s communication crisis included the dismissal of the potential early warning (Jaques 2008; Regester & Larkin 2008). The GSK’s crisis response did not recognise the early problem raised by the two teenagers (Fair Go 2004; Jaques 2008). Instead of giving them satisfactory answer and eliminating the public’s distrust of the brand, the company ignored the problem and paid little attention to the girls’ claim. The implication of the company’s inappropriate response triggered the public anger and inflicted considerable harm stumbling over the iconic brand.

Rather than acknowledging the misleading advertisement, the GSK defended its products aggressively with inconsistent messages. According to Jaques (2008), the GSK used unsuccessful three methods – protecting the parent brand, accepting the brand damage in New Zealand and Australia only, and finding different excuses to rectify the problem. When the Fair Go TV station broadcast the Ribena case, the company continued to refuse the students’ accusation (Fair Go, 2004). Their refusal to admit that they misled the public resulted in the case to be investigated by the Commerce Commission.

The GSK should have developed a well-executed communication strategy before responding to the problem. Mahoney 2017 claims that each organisation should have a strategic communication for immediate concerns, emerging problem, and long-term issue. This plan enables the organisation to tackle the problem effectively. Identifying and anticipating early problems by using comprehensive systems is also significant during the crisis incubation (Jaques 2008). This approach prepares the organisation with any upcoming incidents which can minimise the financial and reputational threat (Regester & Larkin 2008). Using public relations (PR) campaign to restore the reputation is considered to be one of the effective strategies. The GSK should have used a PR campaign including publicity events, marketing video showing the process of producing Ribena drink with emphasis on vitamin C content in the drink, and social media to rebuild customers’ confidence. The PepsiCo company used an effective PR campaign in 1993 aiming to fight against the wrong accusation of finding a syringe in the can of Diet Pepsi (Business Insider 2017).

A broader level of managing the crisis should be taken into consideration for dealing with future problems. The failure of the crisis management of Ribena case was evidenced through its legal charges by the New Zealand court and a decline of Ribena’s sales. With lessons learned, the GSK might be able to respond swiftly and decisively to manage any future crises.


Barton, L 1991, A Case Study in Crisis Management: The Perrier Recall, Industrial Management & Data Systems, vol.91, n. 7, pp.6-8.

Burke, K 2007, ‘Ribena to Withdraw Vitamin C Claim’, SMH online, 22 March 2004, viewed 17 March 2017,

Business Insider 2017, 9 PR Fiascos That Were Handled Brilliantly By Management, viewed on 23 March 2017,

Enough, O 2007, ‘New Zealand schoolgirls find there’s no C in Ribena’, Reuters, 26 March 2007,  viewed 19 March 2017,

Fair Go 2004, ‘A matter of juice’, Fair Go online, 28 October 2004, viewed 20 March 2017,

Hotten, R 2015, ‘Volkswagen: The scandal explained’, BBC online, 10 December 2015, viewed 17 March 2017,

Mahoney, J. (2017). Strategic communication: Campaign planning, 2nd edn, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, Australia.

NZherald 2007, ‘Ribena-maker fined $217,500 for misleading vitamin C ads’, NZherald Online, 27 March 2007, viewed 15 March 2017,

Regester, M, & Larkin, J 2008, Risk Issues and Crisis Management in Public Relations A Casebook of Best Practice, 4th edn, Kogan Page, London.

Ribena 2017, Official Website, viewed 20 March 2017,

Smith, R, D 2013, Strategic Planning for Public Relations, Abingdon: Taylor & Francis, Routledge, NY.

Vasagar, J 2007, ‘Schoolgirls rumble Ribena vitamin claims’, The Guardian, 27 March 2007, viewed 15 March 2017