Tourism New Zealand put out a call for entries for a new agency in early September and, while TNZ's Justin Watson made a commitment not to disclose the pitch list as "some of them might have conflicts", it's thought to have been whittled down to four: Clemenger Group, Droga5, Publicis Mojo and TBWA\.
The retention of the 100% Pure positioning means it's not a full-blown creative pitch and while it's thought there are some creative elements to it, it's more about flexing their strategic, account servicing muscles, as evidenced by the fact that one of the major criteria was the agencies needed to have capability in Australia, our biggest tourist market.
Still, given TNZ had a budget of $64.8 million for advertising, PR and market research requirements in 2010/2011, it's a lucrative—and high-profile—account.
It's thought there were over 250 downloads of the RFP document, which, while not a particularly scientific measure, goes some way to showing how sought after the account is (the incumbent Assignment Group decided not to go back for seconds).
The winner is expected to be announced any day now and it should be an interesting battle to see who gets to sell New Zealand. Publicis Mojo is hungry for work at the moment after a tough time of late in New Zealand and also has great destination marketing credentials with Tourism Victoria; TBWA\ has Scott Whybin's in-form, ANZ-winning silver tongue on its side; Droga5 has a reputation for creativity but doesn't have quite the scale of the other networks; and Clemenger is pretty strong on both fronts—and on both sides of the Tassie.