It's the night the magazine industry comes together to, as ACP head honcho Paul Dykzeul might say, indulge in a bit of gratuitous back patting. Or, as the MPA might say, reward the publications, publishers, editors, designers, sales folk and contributors who toil away on their various titles. And it was Good and Cuisine's Sarah Nicholson that reigned supreme on the night, winning the top magazine and editor of the year prizes respectively.
"Good is a well balanced magazine that is certainly helping its growing readership think differently about the world we live in," said the judges. "It maintains a consistent editorial tone and voice throughout. Evidence is given that following its change in editorial direction it is improving its market position."
Good, which made it two in a row for Tangible Media after last year's supreme award-winning NZ Rugby World, also took out the magazine of the year, cover of the year and editor of the year for Sarah Heeringa in the lifestyle category, just edging out Kate Coughlan of Fairfax Magazines' NZ Life & Leisure.
"This is a closely fought battle with both editors exhibiting high level of skill and vision. Heeringa is offering something new and topical. She does so using a completely appropriate format. She is philosophically consistent and has a clear feel for her readers and their interests. This editor is on target, very focused and the magazine does what it says on the label. Overall, a good read in a nicely designed magazine."
Adding to the accolades, Good's recently departed editor Sally Fulham once again took lifestyle designer of the year and Rebekah White took lifestyle journalist of the year, again edging out Coughlan.
"The editor presents a very polished product, and her professionalism stands out. Nicolson knows her market, her readers and her job. The magazine clearly reflects these strengths. In Cuisine Nicolson presents the complete package. A totally professional magazine which uses every page to good effect without a feeling of striving. Intelligent, clear, direct, informative easy to follow design and aesthetically pleasing."
Most effective use of magazines by an advertiser went to Daniel Le Brun in the Cuisine Masterclass series (Ecostore NZ, Naked, Special Group and ACP's Little Treasures received a highly commended) and the Masterclass series also took out best marketing campaign for "clearly showing Cuisine’s value and contribution to this successful integrated campaign".
"Great use of the medium and related properties (Ray McVinnie etc) to create interest. A strong exercise in brand building on a limited budget without resorting to price discounting. Great to see an advertiser so happy with the results, coming back the following year. You can’t get better then that. Shows innovative thinking in how to interact with readers, and bring the brand experience in the magazine to life."
NZ Magazines also came home with plenty of plaques, with a win for the best subscriptions promotion for its combined portfolio ("Well devised strategy to tackle both retention and acquistion goals—delivered unprecedented results. An opportunity like this comes up infrequently in a publisher's lifetime, and this publisher grabbed it and embellished it with remarkable results) and best relaunch honours for Woman's Weekly.
Following on from its Canon Media Awards success, the Listener won magazine of the year, best editor for Pamela Stirling, best deigner for Derek Ward, best consumer columnist for Jane Clifton, best journalist for Rebecca Macfie and best cover in the mass market category.
"Reflects a clear editorial vision presenting authoritative and stimulating editorial content focussed on current affairs appropriate for an intelligent, discerning and increasing readership. The Listener continues to hold its place as a highly respectable magazine with exceptional editorial integrity. [Stirling is] an experienced, hands-on editor providing authoritative, insightful and independent journalism, with a New Zealand focus, in an influential magazine The covers are always fabulous; magazine is appropriately designed and laid out. Leads a team of top flight writers and contributors; continues to lead the market."
NZ Mags also won best magazine for Girlfriend, best designer for Creme's Lisa Taylor and best editor for Alice O'Connell in the youth category.
We're not ones to brag (that's a lie) but in the trade/professional category, NZ Marketing won best magazine for the second year in a row, editor of the year for Ben Fahy and best designer for Aimee 'Aye Carumba' Carruthers, as well as the award for best integration with other media for StopPress.
"Clearly one of the leaders in new media integration, great work—a clear winner. Like the extension, good measures of success, great social aspect, these guys know what they are doing. Fahy’s approach is simple, clear and targeted. His use of language is clear and the slightly whimsical approach is attractive. Reflects comprehensively its targeted industry and with attitude. Delight to read. Fantastic use of type, very structured and clean for what is a visually light but content heavy magazine–a challenge that Aimee masters."
Kowhai Media's NZ Geographic took out the coveted best use of photography for 'Blue Water Islands', best cover, best editor for James Frankham, best designer for Mark Backwell and best journalist for Kennedy Warne in general interest and entertainment, as well as best magazine in special interest.
TPL Media's Chauncy Stark—"scriptwriter, reporter, journalist, columnist, editor, publisher and developer of people"—was given the lifetime achievement award for always believing that "readers provide the attention advertisers seek” and Beauty NZ's Diane Turgis won advertising sales achievement as a result of over 100 percent page yield, as well as increase in sales year on year and very little discounting of rate card prices.
MC Michelle A'Court was at her quick-witted matronly best, with her riff on the Alcohol Advisory Council ("I'm cooking lamb, should I have shiraz or pinot noir?") and the observation that making synthetic marijuana in New Zealand is the equivalent of "bussing sluts to Hamilton" getting a few guffaws. New MPA chair John Baker kicked proceedings off on an optimistic note by stating the industry's bold plans to add $30 million worth of ad spend to the sector's coffers in the next couple of years, something that might seem unrealistic to many given what's happening in some other markets, but, as this story in The Economist shows, certainly isn't outside the realms of possibility in a country that is still enamoured with magazines.
Once again, the ACP elephant wasn't in the room for the awards, but a complete overhaul is planned to take place this year and ACP is thought to be involved in that review.
For the full list of winners, click here.