It’s safe to say that direct marketing is no longer the awkward cousin of above-the-line advertising. As digital has continued to blur the lines between disciplines, the principles that have always underpinned direct marketing have been flung into the mainstream.
In this context, the New Zealand Direct Marketing Awards have become an opportunity for agencies to showcase how good they actually are at converting customer data into something meaningful.
Over the last few years, one of the most consistent performers at the NZDM Awards has been JustOne. And at a packed Langham last night, that streak continued with the agency picking up the Nexus Supreme Award along with an ominous trinity of six golds, six silvers and six bronzes.
“Wow,” JustOne managing director Ben Goodale exclaimed this morning. “What a big night for our clients particularly Foodstuffs, Warehouse Money and AMP. We had a lot of finalists last night and it was great we were able to convert so many to recognise the amazing work our clients are doing.”
While Goodale is no stranger to heading to the stage on the Direct Marketing Awards night, this year was the first time that his agency has won the Nexus Supreme gong.
“Like a lot of the best work it was a huge team effort and principally the commitment of the Foodstuffs team across IT, operations and marketing to bring it to life and make Clubcard the roaring success that it is,” he says.
The most-coveted gong of the night was this claimed by not one but two agencies as FCB and True’s collaborative effort on the ‘Great Mates’ campaign for Air New Zealand was declared the best work of the night.
The judges applauded Air New Zealand’s game engagement, strong connection to sales, social metrics and evidence of results in the campaign. They said it was a relentlessly on-brand programme that leveraged assets from across the business to deliver an effective cut-price competitive response without devaluing the brand. And it delivered a great return on investment.
According to data from FCB, this campaign generated the most engagement Air New Zealand has achieved with any competition microsite, tallying up over a million game plays and over 200,000 entries.
Over the course of the evening, FCB pulled in the biggest haul, winning a total of 20 awards (seven gold, six silver and seven bronze) in addition to the Grand Prix.
“As an integrated agency it is particularly rewarding to be awarded across multiple disciplines for seven clients," says Matt Scott, the head of client service at FCB. "The Grand Prix for Air NZ was obviously a highlight, and a great example where collaboration works, in this case with True.”
Hot on the heels of FCB was Colenso BBDO, which matched JustOne’s tally of 18 gongs, landing six gold, eight silver and four bronze.
Further back was Chemistry Interaction, which won a total of 16 awards (seven gold, four silver and five bronze) over the course of the night.
The NZDM Awards would not exist without the willingness of clients to invest in the campaigns and bring them to fruition. So, it is only fitting that they are also given an opportunity to bask in the glory for a few minutes on stage.
This year, major individual gong, the Direct Marketer of the Year Award, went to Michael Summers-Gervai, the head of customer analytics at Genesis Energy.
Of Summers-Gervai, the judges said: “Michael is a self-confessed 'entrepreneur evangelist' who is extremely passionate about enabling a genuine customer-centric view. He has delivered through a real commitment to the principle of data-driven marketing and applying customer insights across the whole business and has taken both management and the staff on this journey while leading and influencing the required changes within the organisation to create tangible value.”
The retail category was also represented in the announcement of Keith Norris Direct Marketing Organisation of the Year Award, with Countdown winning the accolade this year.
“What is really impressive,” the judges said, “is the value data insights have had in not just driving communication but better business decisions that further deliver results.”
This victory will taste particularly sweet for Countdown, given that award was last year won by Foodstuffs.
“We’ve worked extremely hard to use data to start the right conversations with new customers, and deepen conversations with those who already shop with Countdown," says Countdown general manager of marketing Bridget Lamont.
"No matter who the customer is, every communication has to, first and foremost, respect that person and be relevant to his or her life. Everything we do is supported by insight and data, and that enables us to develop a programme of direct marketing communications that generates high levels of engagement and reach alongside tangible business outcomes. Countdown embraced personalisation back in 2009 with mySpecials and took it to the next level with myCountdown in 2014, the past year has seen us focus on growth and engagement and still every day there are so many new ideas and opportunities to pursue to make things easy for our customers. To be at the forefront of the digital transformation taking place in the direct marketing industry and our market is so exciting.”
And in confirmation of the fact that future of the industry is in safe hands, Sophia Cooper and Malcolm Hayes walked away with the Student Marketer of the Year Award. No doubt they’ll be getting a few phone calls in the near future.
And as ad folk across the industry today recover from sore heads and bad decisions made in celebratory excitement, the cycle starts again, rolling deadline by deadline to next year’s big blowout.
Here’s a full list of the winners from last night: