Last night the Great Room at Cordis in Auckland housed the cream of the direct marketing crop in an evening of fierce competition, stiff hand-shakes and dubious dance moves.
Hosted by the Marketing Association and sponsored by Orangebox, the chemistry-themed New Zealand Direct Marketing Awards celebrated and recognized the clients, agencies, consultancies and suppliers who exhibit excellence in insight-driven direct marketing projects and campaigns.
The night was facilitated by MC Brooke Howard-Smith with the assistance of Tony Mitchell, chief executive officer of the Marketing Association, as the 550 guests piled into the venue in a concoction of data, strategy, creativity and results.
The top prize of the night, the Grand Prix, was awarded to Air New Zealand and agency partner Track New Zealand for Air New Zealand's Airpoints campaign. It’s the second year in a row the airline has brought home the gong - last year for its ‘Great Mates’ campaign created by FCB and True.
The judges applauded Track New Zealand and Air New Zealand on their ambition and execution, claiming “the strength of the entry is in the overarching strategy; it's a big thought that has produced big results”. Track New Zealand went home with 13 additional awards, capping off a successful evening.
SpeakData also spent plenty of time on stage, earning this year’s Nexus Supreme Award, with no less than eight awards - including five golds for its work on the World Masters Games 2017 campaign.
Judges said it was “an extraordinary achievement to create an organisation from scratch and successfully confronted the complex marketing challenge of generating nearly 30,000 participants in a national event from a global market of 28 different sporting interests.”
Furthermore, FCB continued its winning ways boasting 18 awards including eight golds for its campaigns with Fire and Emergency New Zealand, Vodafone NZ and Google, and Water Safety New Zealand. It’s becoming an annual haul for FCB who snagged 20 awards last year.
Subsequently, Colenso BBDO remained a ubiquitous figure in the awards, again appearing heavily on the finalists' list, with nine wins. Colenso was recognised for its work with New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation, Foodstuffs, MARS and others.
JustOne reaped the benefits of its successful ITM collaboration, as well as its work with Foodstuffs and Stuff, also pocketing nine respective awards.
Other notable agencies were Affinity ID who took home 10 awards for its work with Countdown, while Chemistry Interaction celebrated nine wins of its own, reaping the benefits of its successful campaign with Contiki.
In light of its innovative customer loyalty programmes, the Keith Norris Direct Marketing Organisation of the Year award went to Loyalty NZ.
The award changed tact from previous years, which fell into the hands of supermarket outfits: Countdown in 2017 and Foodstuffs in 2016.
The judges remarked on why Loyalty NZ was this year’s accolade, saying it was hard for a 21-year old brand to change its ways yet Loyalty NZ had done just that, “...confronted a loyalty programme marketplace characterised by immense change and new competition with a fresh focus on partner and cardholder value.”
The highly coveted individual gong went to Annabelle Fowler, general manager - market development and retail sales, at Air New Zealand. It was one of the few moments the jovial mood of the room fell to a hush.
Regarding her win, Fowler says she would have to credit it to a combination of working with great people and leaders, "who have inspired me and provided me with the opportunities and support needed to succeed”.
According to the judges, Fowler earnt the individual award due to her passionate energy and the respect gained by her team and the wider judges.
“Annabelle and her Air New Zealand team are at the forefront of direct marketing innovation, competently using all the digital technologies, channels and consumer data available to them to deliver programmes of work that are designed around sound direct marketing strategic thinking”.