Sonder | 2018: What just happened?!
We saw owned media growth, experimentation, data fails, in-housing, experience-drives, purchase, retailer shifts, CLV and the rise of Omotenashi.
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2018: What just happened?!

2018: What just happened?!

A hugely significant year (they just seem to keep getting bigger!), here is our review of what just happened through our unique lens:

  • McDonalds, Commonwealth Bank and Sainsbury’s all saw material growth exclusively from owned media
  • We were all shocked into paying more attention to the credibility of our customer data thanks to Cambridge Analytica
  • Netflix bought their own outdoor company so they could own and control billboards
  • The circus used private homes as their primary communication channel
  • We marvelled at the sheer scale of our new clients Coles & Telstra’s, owned media ecosystems
  • We created a playbook for transitioning from retailer to media owner, using Amazon as the benchmark
  • We introduced new terms to our readers, like Omotenashi and Brand Fidelity
  • We explored ways to reduce CLV (Customer Lifetime Value) led by Zappo’s and Airbnb
  • We profiled cycling brand Rapha which built a global community around its owned channels
  • We saw Amazon, Lego & Spotify in-house their creative & content partly as a response to the increasing importance of owned channels
  • We witnessed the biggest owned media FAIL of the year when a horse race sponsor advertised on the Sydney Opera House to public outcry the world over
  • We talked about how banks and burgers are struggling with the expectation gap between advertising and reality
  • John Lewis and Seafolly experimented with new owned channels with mixed results
  • We wrote Sonder’s first ever song to celebrate the retail nexus moving from Christmas to Black Friday week
  • We saw retailers Myer, Debenhams and Harrods increase their investment in in-store experiences to attract and retain more customers


If you missed any of these stories, you can find them and more at

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the organisations which chose to work with Sonder this year: George Weston Foods, American Express, Coles, Coles Liquor Group, Telstra and Stockland.

We look forward to beating the owned media drum even louder in 2019.