Last night, the industry convened for one last evening of self-congratulation, celebration and awards acceptance at the inaugural Stoppies. And they got all that, along with a few quality jabs at some of the more whimsical elements of the industry.
This was not your typical awards event. There were no tuxedos in the room, the food was served in throw-away plates and there definitely wasn’t enough seating for everyone. Ben Fahy, publisher and editorial director at Tangible Media, and Damien Venuto, editor of StopPress and NZ Marketing, hosted the proceedings as unprofessionally as would be expected of an awards event where the trophies doubled as doorstops. And the audience was encouraged to show their discontent by throwing (preferably non-heavy items) toward the stage.
This was the culmination of the great annual Year in the Rear rundown, during which we picked our favourite things over the course of the year. Through the application of sophisticated algorithms, immersive VR experiences, artificially intelligent chatbots, a few games of rock paper scissors and a fair amount of arguing, our editorial team picked the overall winners across 16 categories (People’s Choice winners were determined through the online voting mechanism).
Upon coming to the stage to accept their exquisitely designed door obstructions, each winner was requested to perform a five-word acceptance speech (an approach shamelessly stolen from the Webby Awards).
Without further ado, here’s a rundown of how the first edition of this event went.
The ‘build a wall and make them pay for it’ Idea of the Year
First up was the ‘build a wall and make them pay for it’ idea of the year award. And the finalists in this category were ‘Escape my House’, ‘Go Balls Out’ and ‘Stuff’s Black Hands Podcast’.
Some believe advertising is evil. But the People’s Choice winner was pure good and might actually save lives: Escape My House, the VR experience created by FCB. But what would the people know! From the agency that gave us ‘Parking Dickets’ and god knows what other erogenous references, FCB wins our Idea of the Year for ‘Go Balls Out’, a campaign that aimed to raise awareness of testicular cancer. As any 15-year-old will tell you, there’s nothing quite as rewarding as drawing cocks and balls everywhere. And it’s even more fun when you bring in GPS tracking to leave your mark on the world. Very ballsy.
The crying Michael Jordan Mascot of the Year
Our finalists in this category were Taika Waititi, Stickman and Nigel Latta.
Taika Waititi’s turn in the ‘Give Nothing to Racism’ campaign took the People’s Choice Award. And, while nowhere near as good as our favourite ever example of Mascotting when Kieran Read held a large toilet in a Plumbing World brochure, our winner is Stickman. Advertising is often about saying the same thing slightly differently and Pak’nSave’s long-serving mascot Stickman is perhaps the finest example of this. He may not have a mouth, but he does have plenty of chutzpah and experts agree that 2017 has been one of his better years.
We invited Stickman to take to the stage, however, it appears he had another, more important, function to attend to. FCB accepted the Stoppie and used the opportunity to say: "It's been a great 10 years."
Synergy of the Year
There’s nothing quite as good as waking up really early and leveraging a few sweet synergies. It really helps to get those core competencies flowing into the open kimono. And the finalists in the ‘Leveraging Synergies' Award for mashup of the year were Spark Arena, The Spinoff’s Policy Tool and Karma Cola Best Ugly Bagels as well as Karma Cola and Roxy Cinema.
Spark’s focus on music made for a good fit with the newly minted Spark Arena and that won the People’s Choice Award.
But we gave the nod to Karma Cola. It’s one thing to leverage synergies locally with brands like Best Ugly, but it’s another thing to do it on the international scene and help the people who grow the products they use in their drinks. You are majestically synergistic.
Stoush of the year
It wouldn’t be a year in advertising if there weren’t a few good stoushes in the mix. And god, have there been a few this year, as indicated by the finalists in the Scaramucci/Bannon Stoush of the Year category: Sand bottle idea, National versus Labour, and Sky Versus the public.
We agreed with the people, who chose the great sand bottle stoush of 2017 as their top pick.
Nothing provoked quite as much discussion – in the StopPress comments section at least – as this debate. It was a great idea, but where did it come from? Who owns an idea? Is it your idea if it hasn’t been made? This brought all of those thorny issues to the fore.
Colenso was invited up to the stage, and accepted the award with the speech: “Fuck this is a stitch-up.”
The decision to pull V Energy’s nail gun ad took the People’s Choice award but our winner is EY.
The one thing you don’t want to do when hosting an awards event is piss off the people that the event is trying to celebrate. And for completely missing the mark and doing just that, the EY Journalism Awards fiasco, where the judges disregarded an entry from the NBR about Fuji Xerox due to a conflict of interest, takes the doorstop for biggest screw-up of the year.
We asked them to come along for the event, but they informed us that it would be a conflict of interest. We will be mailing the award to them, possibly, if we find the motivation to do it.
‘Melting Iceberg’ Staff Move Award
As usual, there’s been a bit of a talent shuffle over the last 12 months. Our Movings and Shakings section has been overloaded with appointments, promotions and the odd bit of staff theft. This is simply part of the game.
The voters felt that the Melting Iceberg Staff Move of the Year award should go to Talbot, who returned from Sydney and took up a short-lived role with Assignment Group, but something has to be said for taking the risk of going it alone. Martin Yeoman and Jamie Hitchcock, after seven years at Assignment, took the plunge early this year and started their own shop.
The most enthusiastic blokes in the room now have a new doorstop for their new office and accepted it with the five-word speech: “Thank you, thank you, thank.”
Martin Yeoman, Jamie Hitchcock
‘Jeff Jefferson’ Account Move
There’s been a lot of talk about the broken pitching system this year. But the agencies that win don’t tend to complain quite as much. Especially when it’s a big one like all these finalists in the Jeff Jefferson Pitch of the Year award: Countdown, Air New Zealand and 2degrees.
Once again, the wisdom of the crowd and the wisdom of our team matched up in this category. After 20 years with Ogilvy, Countdown took the prize after shifting its business to Y&R and Wellcom Group – yet another example of big clients deciding to work with multiple agencies.
Gone but not Forgotten Award
The rest of the world isn’t quite as resilient as Keith Richards, so we’ve had to wave good-bye to a few things this year and the finalists include: Cadbury Chocolate Factory, Pandora and Fan Pass.
The people overwhelmingly voted for chocolate, and we agreed, giving the Gone but Not Forgotten Award to Cadbury.
For those interested in this story, we performed a seance and had JH Whittaker pen an ode in memory of his dear friend Cadbury and we will publish that poem at a later date.
Human of the year
One of the things we love about this industry is the number of smart people we get to talk to on a daily basis. It might sound as though we're sucking up, and we probably are, but there’s a lot to admire in the leaders of the industry and finalists Rob Harvey, Josh Moore, Rufus Chuter and Nadia Lim are among them.
The people chose Dentsu Aegis’s Rob Harvey as their pick, in recognition of the hard work he’s done in acquiring agencies like Barnes Catmur and Little Giant, pulling the strings of his team together and winning some huge accounts.
After some heated debate, we have, however, chosen Josh Moore as the winner of Human of the Year.
Countdown, TAB, Go Healthy and Goodman Fielder are just some of the clients Y&R has picked up under Josh Moore’s leadership over the last year—all while still developing bold creative work for the likes of Arnott’s and Heinz Wattie’s. Moore may not have been present at any of the awards events this year due to a high-quality stoush with the CCC, but that doesn’t mean his agency wasn’t noticed. And he now has this great doorstop in acknowledgement of his efforts.
The Buck Shelford ripped scrotum award for Bravery
As Buck Shelford can attest, there’s a fine line between bravery and foolishness. But as many have said the riskiest thing in marketing is being dull. And the brands that attempt new, potentially difficult things to try and gain attention, change a business or shake-up an entire industry are worth celebrating.
Spark’s Father’s Day ad, which featured a single mother and her son, was the pick of the people in The Buck Shelford ripped scrotum award for Bravery. But it wouldn’t be a proper awards show if the much-loved national carrier didn’t win something. So our winner is Air New Zealand, which has set a very high bar for other businesses with its transparent sustainability report. It’s easy to talk about the things that are going well, but it takes a brave business to put all its challenges – from its struggles with the gender pay gap to its impact on the environment – into the public realm.
The Catfish Award for Best Ad that’s not an Ad
If there’s one thing that’s clear from this evening so far it’s that things are changing. If you asked the team at Stuff even five years ago whether they would be selling fibre, operating in the energy market, running events and facilitating a social network, they would’ve called you mad. But a little madness is exactly what separates those who thrive from those who sink into irrelevance in the modern media environment. And looking at the finalists in the category, it’s clear that brands are also embracing the necessary madness.
For its degree of difficulty, bravery and excellent execution, the winner for 2017 has to be Kiwibank’s Mind over Money.
'Jim Jones Kool-Aid preparer' Sage of the Year
In an industry that sells its expertise – and an industry that some may argue is fuelled by ego – it’s not surprising that we have a range of clever people who regularly contribute their views to our media channels and attempt to bend the world to their will.
Among them are our finalists Damon Stapleton, Paul Catmur and David Thomason.
Now, some wonder whether he does anything else aside from trawl through quotes websites and write about the creative process, but DDB’s chief creative officer – and Damien Venuto’s first industry crush – Damon Stapleton’s flowing prose took both the people’s choice award and our prize in the 'Jim Jones Kool-Aid preparer' Sage of the Year award. Every time he pens something, it’s clear he cares deeply about his craft and wants to nudge the industry in a more creative direction.
Fittingly, Stapleton accepted the award with a cuddle from Venuto and the words "chrysanthemum" and "disestablishmentarianism". Strong message, wrong crowd.
‘Stockholm Syndrome’ Agency-client Partnership of the Year
A couple of years ago, we put a wedding ring being flushed down the toilet on the cover of one of our magazines in recognition of the fact that monogamy no longer existed between clients and agency. But true love can still exist, and you see it in these finalists for the Stockholm Syndrome Client-Agency Partnership of the Year Award: AA Insurance and DDB, Colenso and Mars, FCB and Mercury, and MBM and Whittaker's,
The people voted for DDB and AA Insurance, and it certainly requires a solid relationship and a lot of self-awareness to admit that no-one really cares about the product you’re selling. But our winner was Colenso BBDO and Mars Pedigree. The Child Replacement Programme and Selfie Stix this year built on a partnership that has delivered a wide array of brave creative work in recent years, not only here but also abroad. It’s a partnership that exports locally bred creativity across the world. Long may it continue.
The client used his five-word acceptance speech in the best way possible, telling his agency partner: "Get back to fucking work".
‘The Russell Brand’ Brand of the Year
It’s no secret that the world is changing, and the way we communicate with people has to evolve accordingly. We think the smartest brands operating in New Zealand today are acutely aware of this. And it’s exactly what separated the top four finalists—KFC, Mercury, Steinlager and Spark— from the rest of the pack.
There wasn’t much separating these brands, and there may have been some loud noises during the discussion as to which one should win. But in tying together heart-warming ads, clever sponsorship, smart commercial partnerships and, quite incredibly, basketball courts, there is no brand that better fits into the modern context than Spark.
Free chicken nuggets for life’ Campaign of the Year
Rebel Sport’s ‘What’s your why’, featuring Sophie Pascoe’s engrossing tale of struggle and success, was the pick of the people. But when it came to choosing our winner, each member of the StopPress team had a different favourite, and for very different reasons.
At a time when there are various discussions about the future of advertising – and when the world seems increasingly divided – we decided that doing something brave, doing something that normal people talk about and being a brand that actually stands for something – remains crucial. And for this reason, our winner is Vogel’s ‘What do you bring to the Table’.
It was viewed millions of times, inspired parodies, inspired warm fuzzies, inspired discussions and became a major talking point in the mainstream media.
As we all know, feelings trump facts, so when choosing the finalists for the Group of Humans of the year category we based our decision solely on that; on the agencies, media owners, production companies, marketing teams that we think had stand-out years. This strategy delivered a number of strong finalists across a wide range of businesses operating in the marcomms industry, including FCB, Dentsu Aegis Network and Y&R NZ.
The people felt the winner should be FCB. And they may have been onto something.
The Beacons, the Effies and the TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards all belonged to one agency this year for its stellar work on Mercury, Fire and Emergency New Zealand, Testicular Cancer New Zealand, Water Safety NZ and many others. It won a range of new business across its advertising and media divisions. Its senior people fought against too much short-term thinking and fought for a return to long-term brand building. And it also welcomed a new CEO in Dan Martin. Now FCB can add the most prestigious doorstop in advertising to its collection.