In recent years this work has been handled by Assignment Group and Sydney-based Amnesia Razorfish (which was appointed under slightly curious circumstances last year) and Mindshare. Local outfit Contagion, which is for all intents and purposes the New Zealand arm of Razorfish, is also under review. But the PR account with Hill & Knowlton is not.
“Now that we are a year into our new marketing strategy, it’s time to look at reviewing and consolidating our partners to get greater coordination and integration of activity," says Justin Watson, TNZ's general manager marketing communications. “We are therefore evaluating the services to ensure correct alignment of delivery with Tourism New Zealand’s strategic goals, particularly maintenance of the ‘100% Pure You’ campaign and our focus on digital marketing."
Watson says TNZ will appoint an independent third-party to maintain a balance during the agency selection process, which is being advertised from today as an open RFP on GETS. And, after the brouhaha following the very onerous and rather controversial Auckland Council pitch, agencies will be pleased to know they're trying to make the process, which Watson hopes will conclude by the end of October, as simple as possible.
It isn't a creative pitch because they're happy with where they are with the 100% Pure You messaging. So he says it will be focused more on integration, channel planning and bringing together offline and online brand work and digital marketing.
TNZ's marketing team has recently been decentralised and he admits having different agencies in different countries leads to inefficiencies (he points to the frustrations of someone in Australia who has to work with an agency based in New Zealand). So he says the winning agency will also require a footprint in Australia.
When asked what that would mean for Assignment Group, he says they're definitely still in with a shot (they're part of the JWT/WPP network and would presumably be able to resource the Australian business). And Publicis Groupe's Razorfish was chosen because they were the deemed to be the best in the digital field. But, even so, Watson's comments make it seem like it could be shifting to a globally aligned network model.
TNZ had a budget of $64.8 million for advertising, PR and market research requirements in 2010/2011, so it's a big, attractive account and there shouldn't be any shortage of interest. But Watson would not say how much of that goes to the creative agencies because it was commercially sensitive.
Almost 100 percent of the budget for the UK and the US is spent on digital media while around 80 percent is spent on digital in Germany, Japan and China. And, with the latest campaigns, that looks set to increase.
Speaking of TNZ, it has partnered with Qantas to back a 22-part comedy series based around a camper tour of New Zealand for Qantas Wallabies supporters called The Great Crusade and is based on the exploits of a fictional TV presenter and journalist who covers the six-week tour. And already Invercargill is the butt of jokes.