Taglines suck. Trying to find the right combination of pithy words to sum up a new media title is pretty damn difficult at the best of times. Junkee, Australia’s newest pop culture title that’s launching this week, proved harder than most to tie up neatly with a simple strapline.
Junkee’s been in planning for a long time. At Sound Alliance, we don’t launch new titles lightly (the last one was in 2006), making sure we study the market in detail to find the gaping hole that no one else is targeting. In the pop culture space, it’s pretty obvious. There’s an unfortunate tendency in Australia to lean towards the tabloid or fluffy side of pop culture, the lowest common denominator that requires you to check your brain at the door before logging on. Our aim is for you to feel that little bit smarter, or maybe even just chuckle, after spending a few minutes reading Junkee each day.
The need for Junkee came directly from our audience. Last year we spoke to a few thousand 18- to 29-year-olds in one of the most comprehensive youth surveys ever conducted. It was a combination of qualitative work, sit-downs with influencers, and even heading into the homes of young adults to observe what they get up to when they think no researcher is watching.
They told us a few things. One, that mobile browsing continues to grow faster than any other platform in history. Two, that they share content on social media that makes them look knowledgeable or is funny. Three, that their biggest fears are missing out and not knowing what is happening around them. And four, that there’s way too much advertising noise on the net. These are the principles that Junkee is built on.
Junkee is launching as a mobile brand first. We designed it for the mobile before anything else, then the tablet, and then the desktop – the reverse of most major media brands. We know that 40% of people who read our current titles, like inthemix and FasterLouder, are already using their mobile, and we expect Junkee to have an even higher uptake from day one. If you’re reading this on the desktop, grab your phone and head to Junkee.com on your mobile browser to see just how little the difference is.
The content we’re creating each day is designed to go beyond the headline, to inform, intrigue, provoke and occasionally make you laugh. It will keep you up to date with all the major issues, but curated through the eyes of your smartest, funniest friend.
We’re also pioneering a new way of merging brands and content, as one of the first publishers aiming to get ‘native advertising’ right. This is where everyone wins: the consumer gets genuinely engaging content, and the advertiser gets shareable stories that people actually want to read.
We have spent the last few weeks arguing over taglines to accompany Junkee on launch, something that helps explain what Junkee stands for in five words or less.
The working title for Junkee’s tagline in the planning phase was “Australian pop culture with brains”. Beyond literal, there was nothing clever about it; it did what it said on the box. But as well as brains, Junkee is about so much more, so we left it on the cutting room floor and threw more lines around.
The second tagline we discarded was “the critical mass”, a cute play on words, but one which suggested all Junkee will do is criticise. Sure, we’ll cast a discerning eye over the watercooler topics, but we’ll also praise, probe, encourage and dissect on areas as diverse as film, TV, politics, style and more.
The last tagline we didn’t go with was “a cultured take on culture”, thrown into the bin for hinting that Junkee was going to be too high-brow. We didn’t want to restrict ourselves before we’d even begun. The Kardashians are people too.
In the end, we decided not to go with a tagline. Make Junkee whatever you want it to be. Call it whatever you want. It’s an evolving site that will mean different things to different people.
We adore pop culture. We live and breathe the Internet and marvel at how it’s constantly changing everything around us. We hope that Junkee can become your new compass to help you navigate the most interesting parts of the web.
We’ve assembled a brilliant team to fill it with colour every day, led by Co-Editors Steph Harmon and Rob Moran, who will be publishing some of the best writers in the country, both well known and up and coming, and starting the conversation.
You, of course, will complete the conversation. We want to create a community of pop culture lovers who comment, share, love, hate and engage with every story that we publish. Tip us ideas, argue with us, compliment the writers or disagree with them.
Welcome to Junkee. Maybe that should be the tagline?
Tim Duggan is the Content Director at Sound Alliance. Follow him on Twitter @timduggan