Last year in June, Auckland Council split its previously consolidated account into three segments: lead for brand and integrated communications; digital communications; and arts and culture communications. Each of these segments were then placed through a request for approval (RFP) process, and the Council has now completed its appointments for each of these arms.
In September, DDB and Spark were named as the lead creative and media agencies, beating out competition from .99 and the incumbent Ogilvy & Mather during the pitch process.
Following on from this, Goodfolk has been appointed the digital communications agency and Alt Group will be responsible for arts and culture communications. This announcement brings the process to an end, and gives the agencies until the next mandatory RFP process to work with the Council.
"We are pleased to have completed our procurement and have three of the best agencies on board as our partners in engaging and communicating with Aucklanders," says Sophie Bostwick, Auckland Council's head of brand and channel. "Council is pushing hard to engage with the communities of Auckland in ever more accessible and relevant ways through the channels that they prefer, and together DDB, ALT Group and Goodfolk provide the broad mix of skills that we need to do this."
Goodfolk general manager Benn Winlove says that it was a relatively quick pitching process, during which the agencies had to share ideas on they planned to engage with the public and further the Council's plans to make Auckland the world's most liveable city.
It's thought that Y&R NZ and Young & Shand had expressed interest in the digital account.
Auckland Council's decision to split the account into three different accounts was initially criticised by some members of the industry, because it makes it logistically difficult to deliver a uniform brand message across the government body's entire offering.
Winlove disagrees, and says he is ready to collaborate with both DDB and Alt Group to ensure that the Council's requirements are met.
In explaining the reasons for Auckland Council's decision to divide the account into three segments, Council spokesperson Mark Hanson said that it was about giving the organisation more choice.
"Council's ... aims to secure the optimal mix of vendors to support council's communication and engagement with Aucklanders," he said at the time. "There is an ever greater focus on engaging in a two-way dialogue with our customers, citizens, residents and visitors in support of good decision-making as we create the world's most liveable city. Likewise, digital channels continue to grow in importance as an effective and accessible means for engaging with our diverse communities."
Given that digital is now pervades every channel and also plays an role in most campaigns, it is likely that the responsibilities of Goodfolk and DDB might overlap in some campaigns.
"It is possible," says Winlove, "but we don't see this as disadvantage. We see it as an opportunity to become involved in bigger projects on the account."
Having three agencies on the account will also give Auckland Council bargaining power, in that it could, at least in theory, brief all three agencies and then run with the idea that it deems most affordable or effective.
The Auckland Council win also comes with further good news for Goodfolk, as the agency recently picked up the Fletcher Building account, after a pitch involving True (in combination with Spur) and one other agency.
This win makes Goodfolk responsible for the global internal engagement campaign that will be rolled out to the company's roughly 19,000 employees—a process that should involve around three years of work.
Creative director Mark Easterbrook said that building the agency’s digital and creative firepower has helped fuel the winning streak.
“We get very excited about what our clients do, and they appreciate that," Easterbrook said in a release. "We’re often looking beyond the traditional remit of a communications agency and finding new areas where creative and digitally led thinking can help their business.”