From the moment Vodafone’s Piggy Sue stepped in to replace James Rolleston for Vodafone, there was a sense that the ad would be popular. It did, after all, feature an adorable piglet that was remarkably puppy-like in its behaviour. And so it has proven, with the ad racking up over 300,000 views online and also taking out the People’s Choice award in this year’s MediaWorks/StopPress TVC of the Year competition.
Of course, the results in the People’s Choice section are dependent on public votes, which means that bigger brands and agencies are able to augment their clicks (and Vodafone added to the numbers by promoting the TVC of the Year survey on Facebook and asking its fans to vote for Piggy Sue). But the response to the ad from consumers and the number of votes it attracted seems to suggest that it was legitimately popular, something re-enforced by its recent ranking in Colmar Brunton's Ad Impact Award (even though it lost to a different lost animal brand campaign).
Of the 1,100 people who completed the survey by selecting their five favourite ads, 485 included the ‘Piggy Sue’ spot, which was conceived by FCB and shot by Revolver (on a related note, this year marks the 20 year anniversary of Babe. Coincidence? We think not).
“We’re absolutely thrilled Kiwis have picked Piggy-Sue as their top People’s Choice TVC," says Matt Williams, Vodafone New Zealand consumer director. "Our ambition with Piggy-Sue was to make New Zealand’s most-loved ad to celebrate the country’s favourite network, and this is a fantastic way of demonstrating we’re heading in the right direction to achieve this. This has also been reflected by the great reactions we’ve had from adults and kids alike coming into our stores and telling our teams how much they love Piggy-Sue. We’ve also seen unprecedented levels of positive sentiment on our social media channels.”
FCB executive creative director for the Asia Pacific region mirrored these sentiments: “A huge thank you to everyone who voted for Piggy-Sue. We knew the script was a winner when it was conceived and the response it’s had since it launched has consistently confirmed this. New Zealand punches above its weight for great creativity so to win People’s Choice TVC of the Year is fantastic for Vodafone.”
The ad was released in May (and Piggy Sue has just returned in a new ad) and signalled a significant change in direction for Vodafone from its previous brand ads featuring actor James Rolleston.
Speaking to Vodafone’s head of brand and insights Bart De Beucker at the time of the launch of the Piggy Sue spot, he said Vodafone’s partnership with Rolleston had run its course.
"James has done a great job for us for two years, because he enabled us to reconnect with Kiwis," said De Beucker at the time. "But we as a company have evolved into a fully converged business with a network from north to south, which covers 97.5 percent of the country and has a 4G reach of 80 percent of the country. And James has also grown up in the last few years. He has gone from being a teenager to being a man and he now has own acting career."
While Rolleston’s tenure at Vodafone has come to an end, the voting public still showed him some love with 250 votes for his final heartfelt effort for the brand, last year’s ‘dinner for two’ Christmas spot via FCB and 8com, which also recently won the Colmar Brunton Ad Impact ad of the year award.
Attracting 185 votes, Mitre 10’s ‘Bring on the Weekend’ by FCB and Thick as Thieves finished in third place.
This completes the first half of the TVC of the Year competition. An esteemed panel of judges will gather next week for some robust discussion to decide on the winner of the TVC of the Year.
Credits for Piggy Sue:
Consumer Director: Matt Williams
Head of Brand and Insights: Bart De Beucker
Manager Brand and Communications: Nileema Allerston
Network Programme and Communications Specialist: Rose Scott
Agency: FCB New Zealand
Regional Executive Creative Director: James Mok
Executive Creative Director: Regan Grafton
Senior Writer: Matt Williams
Senior Art Director: Freddie Coltart
Head of Integration: Fleur Head
Creative Services Director: Jenni Doubleday
Planning Director: Simon Bird
Senior Planner: Hilary Dobson
Head of Content: Pip Mayne
Producer: Amanda Langkilde
Group Account Director: Karla Fisher
Account Director: Dave Munn
General Manager of PR: Angela Spain
PR Senior Account Director: Joanna James
Production Company Director: Steve Rogers
Production Company MD/EP: Michael Ritchie
Production Company EP/Producer: Pip Smart
Editor/s: Bernard Garry
Director of Photography: Nicolas Karakatsanis
Sound Recordist: Hammond Peak
Production Designer: Margot Wilson
Animal trainer: Hero Animals, Caroline Girdlestone
Post Production: Blockhead
Colourist: Ben Eagleton
Online Editor: Nigel Mortimer
Sound: The Coopers
Sound Engineer: Jon Cooper
Sound Producer: Pen Cooper
Music: Liquid Studios
Composer: Peter van der Fluit
Music Producer: Sarah Yetton
*And possibly some other normal humans too.