Two for ZO
It's been a difficult few months for ZenithOptimedia following the closure of its creative stablemate Publicis Mojo late last year, but it has some good news to announce, with Yvonne Barry and Alex Lawson both joining as business directors and completing the senior management team.
Barry returns to Auckland, and Zenith Optimedia, after time at MediaCom Melbourne running Pacific Brands and Nutricia. Prior to that she headed up the L’Oreal account at ZenithOptimedia having spent five years at Mitchells working with Tourism New Zealand and AMP.
Lawson returns to the agency scene after spells at APN, both in Auckland and Whangarei, and most recently RedYeti Films. He has previously held roles at both MediaCom London and MediaEdge:CIA Auckland. He’s most recently been producing TVCs, music clips and the award winning surf documentary; Waverider.
ZenithOptimedia general manager, Sophia Quilian says the agency is "committed to having a strong leadership group and both Alex and Yvonne bring the right blend of skills and experience to help us grow the business".
Barry takes responsibility for the team on Reckitt Benckiser with Lawson heading up the team on Lion.
As for the office, we had heard Starcom might be moving in, but Quilian says ZO is staying in the Textile Centre and it's working with the landlord and architect to rejig the office space "to better reflect our size".
She says the Starcom move was investigated but ultimately Publicis Groupe decided against it.
Boutique rum company Stolen Rum has made its first executive level hire, with Kyle Melnyk leaving the Clemenger Group and his role at Colenso BBDO, Auckland after ten years to join the team as chief financial officer in April.
He joins Stolen Rum as the company prepares to enter the US market with a new product in May this year, and with significant growth expected in both the Australian and New Zealand markets.
From 2011-2012, Stolen Rum grew 150 percent and with the company personnel set to double in size and 35,000 cases forecast to sell globally this year, Stolen Rum co-founder and chief executive Jamie Duff says the company now requires a higher level of governance and financial acumen.
"We felt it was time to bring in a top level CFO, particularly so given our US launch in April and predicted high-growth in both New Zealand and Australia," he says. "Kyle will be instrumental in financial management, funding, and managing the operations side of the business. He brings a creative head too which we think is important in this industry.
After 15 years of working in the advertising game, Melnyk says the time is right for him "to help build something that could be really big".
"It's an exciting opportunity that I can't wait to get stuck into. I've been a fan and shareholder of Stolen Rum from its humble beginnings. Right from the start founders Jamie and Roger felt like good old friends to me, and I have always been impressed by how they've not followed the path similar companies have charted - they've done it their way, and they're bloody smart. Leaving Colenso, currently awarded the #1 creatively awarded agency in the world, at this time feels amazing - there's no other agency I could imagine working for. They really are the very best, and I'm going to miss them like family. But joining the world of entrepreneurialism is a goal I've always had, so the change feels natural. I can't wait to see where the journey takes us."
Melnyk began a career with Price Waterhouse in Calgary, Canada before leaving his homeland to join its Auckland office in 1995. After a number of years in public service, he embarked on 15 years as a CFO in ad land.
"He is bloody awesome, a Colenso legend, a cultural leader, a brilliant CFO and of course an amazing partner to Nick Worthington and I, so naturally he is going to be missed," says managing director Nick Garrett. "To be honest we are gutted to see him go professionally, but we are also over the moon for him personally because this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and after ten years at Colenso and the Clemenger Group he is ready for a dynamic change. Our loss is Stolen's gain and good on the cheeky bastards because Kyle will do an amazing job for them and the business, and Nick and I as his friends couldn't be happier for him."
Bruce Murray has been appointed to the newly created role of executive digital producer at Y&R Digital.
Murray comes from a background in digital strategy and production across agencies and his own digital consultancy business, and has worked with Pernod Ricard, Auckland Council, Life Pharmacy, Honda, L'Oreal, Energy Online and Maybelline.
He joins from Ogilvy where he has spent the past two years as senior interactive producer, focusing on Countdown and Kiwibank.
"Bruce's appointment is a big part of our plan for Y&R Digital to deliver our clients world class digital thinking and execution," says Y&R executive creative director Josh Moore.
Air New Zealand has appointed Calum Laming to the newly created role of general manager customer experience following a worldwide search.
Laming joins from Abu Dhabi where he was most recently head of guest experience for Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates. He joined Etihad initially to manage its first and business Class customer experience before taking on overall responsibility for the strategic development of the airline’s entire customer journey.
Laming has previously held senior customer experience and marketing roles at Virgin Atlantic and Procter and Gamble. He also has a strong operational background in airlines having held a number of in-flight and ground roles with British Airways’ low cost carrier, Go.
"Calum is a true industry leader and brings extremely valuable knowledge and experience to Air New Zealand," says Air New Zealand chief executive officer Christopher Luxon. "He will work closely with key partners across the business to further enhance our customer experience and ensure greater consistency across our on-the-ground and in-flight customer touch points."
Laming holds a Masters of Arts in Modern and Medieval Languages from St. Catharine’s College, University of Cambridge as well as a Masters of Science in Air Transport Management from the highly respected Air Transport Department of Cranfield University, which included a thesis focused on an analysis of customer experience within today’s aviation industry.
A growing client base and more demand for top-notch writing services has seen Wright Communications add ex-print and television reporter Dita De Boni to its team.
De Boni's former roles include editing co., Telecom’s internal magazine, and agri-business publication Primary magazine for Tangible Media, and prior to that, reporting and producing for TVNZ and writing for a range of sections at the NZ Herald.
Nikki Wright says Wright Communications is expanding into evolving areas such as content marketing and social media development and monitoring, which all require 24-hour reputation management. And she says having a devoted writer in this new environment frees up consultants to focus on what they are best at: top quality strategic advice.
The Pond has hired Marc van der Putten as a senior talent agent to stop what it sees as the rot in digital resourcing.
"Local advertising, design and digital agencies have until now been poorly served by recruiters dabbling in this sector with little or no hands-on digital experience," says director Leighton Howl. "Digital has many complex channels that demand various specialist skills. And clients deserve more than a recruiter who simply matches basic skills on a CV. So it’s bonus to have someone with Marc’s vast experience onboard."
Putten has enjoyed a 20-year career in digital design and managerial roles, as the lead designer at Xtra, an art director at an agency called Zibo, operations director at Webmedia, online operations manager at Flight Centre and the e-content manager at House of Travel.
"Marc’s arrival is part of our renewed commitment to providing clients with even more talent services and support. Once he’s across all of our clients we’ll be looking to add another junior talent manager who can learn the ropes under his guidance," says Howl.
According to van der Putten agencies are now fighting with corporates for the same digital people and skills.
"We are now seeing a greater number of digital creatives and developers who are looking for work and career advice. Many are returning expats, foreigners and corporate contractors or employees seeking new creative opportunities with agencies."
Consumer marketing and agency Commando has welcomed back Claire Pedersen-Croll as account director, who returns in a maternity cover role.
"Claire had spent four years in our business before leaving to develop her career in the UK. We are pleased to have her back; our clients will benefit from her great knowledge of this market, as well as fresh ideas from London," says Sonia McConnachie, director of Commando. "I threw her off a building last time she resigned so the pull of Commando must be strong."
Queenstown-based public relations company Southern PR has welcomed a new team on board.
New account manager Naomi Lindsay started at Southern PR last month, bringing experience in the media industry gained over the past 15 years in London and Queenstown.
With a degree in marketing communications and diploma in journalism, she started her career working with global brands Unilever, Calvin Klein and Johnson & Johnson before becoming a writer and section editor for two business-to-business magazines in London.
She worked with a number of Queenstown companies on their national communication, PR and marketing strategies before joining Southern PR. She has vast international experience in media planning and buying, marketing communications, journalism, marketing strategy, social media planning and implementation, and writing website copy for search engine optimisation.
Account manager Frederique Gulcher-Ingram, who also joined Southern PR last month, has more than ten years’ media experience in public relations, journalism and as a freelancer.
She cut her PR teeth managing high profile IT brands in Johannesburg and London, before coming to New Zealand nine years ago and moving up the editorial ranks from reporter to editor, becoming a specialist in travel trade and architecture.
In Queenstown for three years, she has just gained her Bachelor of Arts (with distinction) in addition to two previous diplomas, one in media studies and the other in marketing account management.
Office manager Raquelle Bergsma alsojoined Southern PR late last year. She has worked in marketing and PR-related positions at multinational companies in a range of different industries in the Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand.
Her experience in the tourism and promotion industry goes back to 2005, and over the years she has developed extensive knowledge of office support systems, website development, marketing, PR and communications.
"They bring with them a wealth of experience across the media spectrum and know the local tourism and business scene well," says company director Fiona Woodham, who has been at the helm of Southern PR for 19 years.
Woodham, who arrived in New Zealand two decades ago, leads the team with a strong journalism background including many years as a Fleet Street national newspaper journalist and feature writer.
Grill takes biscuit
On The Grill, a six-episode series that followed The Grill restaurant owner and executive chef Sean Connolly around New Zealand in his search for the nation’s best quality produce, has been judged Best International Production at the World Food & Wine TV Festival in Paris.
"On The Grill is a showcase for New Zealand produce and all that’s good about living and cooking and eating here in Godzone," says Connolly. "We had a fantastic time shooting the series and to have it recognised at such an influential international food event is really special."
The World Food & Wine TV Festival is an annual event which takes place in different locations in the world each year. A judging panel selects and evaluates international food and wine TV shows and awards are made in a range of categories.
On The Grill producer Paul Sullivan and director Giovanni Pacialeo from Benchmark Films in Australia are ecstatic with the win and say they loved shooting in New Zealand.
"We’ve shot productions all over the world but we’ve had some of our very best times on location in New Zealand. People in New Zealand are so hospitable which made shooting On The Grill such an enjoyable experience," they say. "Everywhere we went to shoot was absolutely beautiful - stand outs include the episodes we shot in Lake Hawea and the Coromandel."
This is the second international award from only the second collaboration between Connolly and Benchmark Films, with series My Family Feast also being awarded Best International Production at the same event in 2011.
On The Grill aired on TV3 in November 2012 and is still airing on TV3 On Demand.
Competitive current affairs
TV3 has announced broadcaster and lawyer Linda Clark will referee for The Vote, a monthly series of entertaining and informative national debates on the big issues facing New Zealanders.
One of the country’s most respected journalists, Clark is charged with keeping two teams led by hosts Duncan Garner and Guyon Espiner in line as they go head-to-head each month in the new TV3 programme. As referee, Clark has the power to interject, and a mandate to keep things moving—and keep the potentially unruly teams in line.
Clark says she is looking forward to working with co-hosts Garner and Espiner and producer Tim Watkin on a programme that is different to anything else on New Zealand television.
"Duncan Garner and I worked together for many years in the Press Gallery and I have always admired Guyon’s work. So when I was asked to join the two of them it was too tempting to resist," she says. "The programme offers something very different—a whole hour devoted to debating one issue. Plus, of course there is the added dimension of the live audience. I think it will be lively and informed. New Zealand faces some very crunchy issues and this programme is going to give viewers a chance to debate them – intelligently but entertainingly. I’m looking forward to it."
Presented by 3rd Degree, The Vote is competitive current affairs, designed to inform and entertain. Each team—one affirmative, one negative—is given the opportunity to make its case and be cross-examined by the other in a distilled debate, all recorded ‘as live’ in theatres in front of an audience.
At the end of the debate, the audience will vote on the issue, and throughout New Zealand viewers at home will be invited to have their say via text, Facebook, Twitter and online, giving a snapshot of the nation’s opinion.
Director of news and current affairs Mark Jennings says The Vote is a chance to hear what the country thinks.
"I believe there is a large chunk of the population that currently doesn’t feel it has a voice,” he says. "Yes, people can organise referenda but they are extremely time consuming and difficult. The Vote shortcuts that process and has the potential to deliver an instant message to politicians and other decision makers."
The Vote, which premieres at 8.30pm, Wednesday 27 March, is part of new current affairs programme 3rd Degree and will screen once every four weeks in the8.30pm Wednesday timeslot. It is funded by NZ On Air.