Fairfax Group marketing and communications manager Sandra King has left the building. She couldn't be contacted to see if she would be returning, and Fairfax wasn't giving much away, as it doesn't comment on employment matters.
“She is on extended annual leave," said Allen Williams, Fairfax chief executive.
Sharpening the lance
Connan James returned to TBWA\ with his partner in crime Craig Farndale in 2010 to take up the creative director reins after a stint contracting at Saatchi & Saatchi, and he's going back to the world of freelance for a bit more.
Farndale is still there, and a replacement for James will be made in due course.
On the outdoor chair
Phil Clemas, general manager of APN Outdoor, has been re-elected as chair of OMANZ at the recent AGM.
“It’s reassuring to have the support of the OMANZ members as we look to the future of out-of-home advertising. Much of the Association’s focus has been on lifting the profile of outdoor media to agencies and advertisers and sharing examples of interesting campaigns, creative thinking and news about industry-related developments. While recent brand activity will continue, we expect the key drivers for sustainable growth over the longer term will come from new technologies, innovation and audience measurement—and these are areas to which OMANZ and its members are committed."
“We know the market would love to see a measurement system implemented for the OOH category, and this is an area which is being investigated as a priority. But it is complex and costly. We need to consider the measurement of multiple formats, in varying environments with mobile audiences and the imperative to deliver a return on investment for all stakeholders. However, we are determined, with an aim to have the first stage in market during 2014.”
Although disappointed with the shrinkage in outdoor ad spend during 2012, he says OMANZ is encouraged by global growth trends across all other markets and predictions of sustainable growth for years ahead.
“There are clear external factors that have made it difficult for advertisers to spend big on brands this year," he says. "But OOH is a very dynamic and exciting channel with a new chapter just around the corner. The development of Digital OOH networks is accelerating globally, and the rise in the use of smart phone technology coupled with the mobile consumer will provide future opportunities for brands to engage with their target markets using OOH as the gateway to engagement. I am excited about outdoor in New Zealand. New technologies and innovations will spark fresh growth and audience measurement will validate it, with less regard for those external factors. As other channels continue to fragment, outdoor is well-positioned to leverage its unique advantages and add real balance and cut-through to brand campaigns.”
“Hugh Mitton is a Kiwi who stepped out of university and fell straight into the lap of advertising; a bright, hopeful creative learning under some of the industry's finest and wisest," says head of production Yolande Dewey. "Any attempts to dampen his enthusiasm were blown after he was unable to stop winning international spec contests and going on fancy trips to festivals. They paid him to go on to Cannes 2012 for his winning Coca-Cola brand spot which he created himself from idea to delivery."
Michael Humphrey was born in England but grew up in New Zealand. His work includes commercials, short film, fashion films and music videos. He studied at the University of Auckland, gaining a Master of Arts in film, but learnt most of his craft working as director’s assistant with talented commercial and feature film directors in Auckland and London.
“His work with performance and strong photographic influences show he has a knack for content and the odd fashion film,” says Dewey. “With a great tone in performance and a strong visual aesthetic he also has a great understanding of how the advertising game works and how to make good work in the process."
B in their bonnets
Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson reckons business needs a Plan B – laying the groundwork for his latest initiative, The B Team, which boasts Kiwi entrepreneur Derek Handley as chief executive.
The B Team (the latest in a series of global ventures incubated by Virgin Unite, the not for profit foundation of the Virgin Group) will consist of international chief executives and business leaders across industry sectors with one common mission: championing concrete solutions to help make capitalism a driving force for social, environmental and economic benefit.
Those members will be announced early next year, along with a number of inaugural 'grand challenges', which may focus on things like creating a global standard to help businesses account for the environmental impacts of their operations (you can submit your own ideas here).
“We see The B Team as a catalyst, sparking a movement that will change the course of business so that the next generation of business leaders take it for granted that business must be a win-win for all stakeholders including nature and society,” said Handley.
Earlier this year Handley floated the far-out idea of offering a $1 billion prize to a bold and sustainable initiative to encourage innovation and risk-taking.
“Originally it was just an idea. But the more I’ve looked into it the more seriously I am taking it," he said. “The average response has been: that is such an amazingly simple, yet inspirational idea that makes total sense. Accompanied by: it will never happen. If it can’t happen in some form it’ll be solely due to a failure of my imagination, creativity and persistence.”
It looks as if he's found the right path in The B Team, hooking into the vast clutches of Virgin and the star power of its founder.
Branson says business has had many positive impacts on the world, but needs to move away from a focus on immediate profit to one where it invests and operates for the long term good of people and the planet.
"Using business and entrepreneurial skills to help solve critical social and environmental issues is one of the biggest opportunities of our lifetimes."