Just as New Zealand’s advertising industry is world renowned, so too is the local market research industry, routinely succeeding in the face of tight budgets, big tasks and an ever-increasing need to do more with less. And the people and companies behind some of the industry's recent achievements were acknowledged at the 7th biennial Market Research Effectiveness Awards at the Hilton last week, with Ipsos coming out on top as the supreme winner for the third time in a row.
Hosted by the NZ Market Research Society, the competition was especially tight this year, with almost 40 entries and a quality level that saw the judges commenting on just how hard it was to pick a winner in some categories. But it was Ipsos that came through on top of The Infotools-sponsored Supreme Award for its work into middle-aged blokes and their underwhelming levels of lifejacket usage for its client Maritime NZ. The research resulted in the ‘Don’t be a Clown’ campaign, and was cited by the judges as “a world class case study in demonstrating what great qualitative research and teamwork can deliver.”
While the names on the trophies from past awards may be different, it's the same team, with the Ipsos team winning the Supreme Award under the Synovate moniker in 2010 and in 2008 as Research Solutions. Who says only ad agencies get to change their names through sales and buy-outs?
The 'Don't be a clown' project also won the Social and Community Category, a win shared with Colmar Brunton for its work into ASB Showground's Royal Easter Show. It was an Ipsos sandwich for Colmar, with another Ipsos project winning the category’s Gold-award for a project supporting the NZ Blood Service’s ‘Save the Day’ campaign.
Ipsos also won the category close to many StopPress readers’ hearts, with the Nine Rewards Media and Advertising Platinum Award going to Ipsos’ work in redefining the design and content of the Herald on Sunday insert magazines. The judges said this project “broke the mould for newspaper research, using a combination of techniques and out-of-the-box thinking…and showed how research can be insightful, accessible and interesting to use”.
Also keeping up with a winning tradition was Frucor, winning (with Futurescape Global) the Lion Consumer Products Platinum Award for the V Blue launch research. Frucor also had a win with its Colmar Brunton project into route customers, winning the Research Now Business To Business Platinum Award with the judges saying that “this project epitomises how an effective partnership between research company and client can make a significant difference, not just to the client’s business, but also their way of doing business”.
Colmar Brunton was hot on the heels of Ipsos, managing to wrestle the Rookie of the Year award from Ipsos at last, with Marcus Wallace winning the award for being that “extra special” rookie and standing out from the other nine entrants, including finalists Alexandra Francis of Colmar Brunton and Philippa Gilbert and Steven Gaston both of Ipsos.
Interestingly, the judges decided that none of the entries for the Research Now Consumer Services Category were worthy of the Platinum Award, but there were two golds handed out, one to The Research Agency and ASB for Save the Change and the other to Nielsen and FMG for a renewed focus on customer satisfaction and retention.
The last two categories were perhaps the most hotly contested, considering how all entries were eligible. Firstly, the Auckland Council Innovation Award went to the partnership of US-based Sensory Logic with New Zealand’s TrueMotives and the in-house ANZ research team, for its neuroscience-based advertising pre-testing work conducted with facial coding analysis.
And lastly, the AMRO Effective Partnerships Award went to Ipsos and AMI Insurance for the work done by Ipsos through the worst of the Christchurch earthquake crises, work that had to be conducted in a situation one will never find in a research or marketing textbook.