After taking out last year's best ad at the Fair Go Ad Awards for 'Tight on Tour', MasterCard backed it up last night for the follow-up, 'Wedding'. And, at the other end of the spectrum, ASB and Saatchi & Saatchi's bearded bellower Brian Blessed took the booby prize for 'No biggy. Yes Biggy!'
MasterCard's 30-second TVC to launch its PayPass technology, which allows purchases of under $80 with a swipe and was used at stadia during the RWC, was shot at the Anglican Church at Pokeno by McCann Australia and Robber's Dog and shows All Blacks Captain Richie McCaw, Ali Williams and Ma'a Nonu rushing to buy a cheap present for over-excited All Blacks' supporter Tim and 'his missus'.
"How do you follow up New Zealand's favourite ad of 2012?", said John Mescall, executive creative director of McCann Australia when the ad was launched. "Well, you dash the hopes of tens of thousands of Kiwi women everywhere by marrying-off the loveable little hero of the campaign: Tim. Sorry, ladies."
Head of marketing for MasterCard, Michelle Pilot, accepted the award at the live show and told Fair Go that people know the ad is for MasterCard.
"Our brand attribution is up around 80 percent which is phenomenal actually, phenomenal, especially with an All Black ad because there are so many. So we're very pleased."
Just like last year, this ad was similarly polarising and was again nominated in both the best and worst categories. And, as per usual, there's plenty of debate about the winners and losers on Fair Go's Facebook page.
"Neutrality is death," she said. "So if you noticed either way, it's a good thing in advertising. Mind you, I'm very happy to walk away with this one and not the [worst ad]."
As for ASB, they say success has many fathers. But failure is an orphan, and last night that orphan was Saatchi & Saatchi's Philip O'Neill, who took a bullet for the team and collected the prize for 'No Biggy. Yes Biggy!'. ASB's Shane Evans and Anna Curzon were also in attendance, but O'Neill did all the talking and, like many of the worst ad recipients before him, was a bloody good sport about it, telling Fair Go there's very little doubt the ad has had an impact.
"And it's obviously not the ideal reason to be invited tonight but we're pleased to be here anyway," he said. "If you've seen the ad, the whole premise is we're about acknowledging and celebrating success. So we appreciate the irony. But nonetheless we can offer congratulations on everyone else's success."
Blessed was quietly put out to pasture a while ago now, although the Succeed On positioning is still going strong. And while there was plenty of confidence from ASB when the campaign was launched—and plenty of research to inspire that confidence—it's thought the shouty thespian was particularly disliked by the older folk.
At the time, we wrote that it seemed like an attempt to create a new version of Goldstein, but as someone pointed out soon after, there was one subtle but very important difference between the two characters: Goldstein was a foreigner who blew smoke up New Zealand's ass, whereas Blessed was a foreigner who told us what we were doing wrong. And New Zealanders don't like seem to take too well to that kind of constructive criticism.
Once again, The Fair Go team got involved with the obligatory spoofs (a rehash of AMP and Running with Scissor's chocolate fish experiment) and homages (a nod to Holden and Ogilvy's boganic orchestra).
This year's show dropped to a 13.8 share from last year's 18.3, but it was still the second most-watched show of the night across the networks (once again proving that New Zealanders have a love/hate relationship with advertising) and the season ratings were strong.
The Ad Awards ratings are overnight (ratings for live viewing or playback viewing on same day as live) and consolidated ratings (includes ratings for all playback viewed within seven days) will be available next Wednesday.
Best ad finalists
Mastercard and McCann - 'Wedding'
Tasti Bar and Contagion 'Kiwi As'
Specsavers 'Should've gone to'
AMP and Running with Scissors 'Sweet Surprise'
NZI and DraftFCB 'Evil Chair'
Worst Ad finalists (check them all out here).
ASB and Saatchi & Saatchi 'No Biggy? Yes Biggy!'
Cigna 'Funeral Plan'
Mastercard and McCann 'Wedding'
State Insurance and Colenso BBDO 'Break my stride'
Kleenex Cottonelle and JWT Australia 'Flushable wipes'