The government has an eye on changing the way it markets the country as a whole and in a recent StopPress column, Courtney Lambert argued that a mixed agency model was the way to go.
Now according to the Herald, the contract for the first phase of the project has been awarded to a design agency based in Australia. Principals has been chosen to carry out research, conduct interviews, and prepare a framework for development of the New Zealand Story campaign.
Principals registered with the New Zealand Companies office earlier this year and has set up an Auckland office run by Kiwi Tess Shaw. And while its founder is a Kiwi expat, Wayde Bull, who according to the company website started out with Kodak as a market researcher on this side of the Tasman, the local design industry isn't impressed with the choice.
Designers Institute of New Zealand chief executive Cathy Veninga says it's an "offence to the studios from our own country" and asked how Australians could possibly appreciate New Zealand culture, particularly from an indigenous perspective.
And industry long-timer Brian Richards, who was a finalist for the contract, told the Herald it was the equivalent of "asking an Englishman to brand Ireland andexpect the locals to lie down and accept it".
"The Prime Minister is in Hollywood is wooing storytellers with tax incentives to operate here quoting, 'It's about jobs for New Zealanders' and his minister [Steven] Joyce, at the same moment, is giving work to Australians."