At the end of last year, StopPress collated some of the standout moments of 2015 in our annual ‘Year in the Rear’ article. This was, of course, not based on an exact science and, as was the case with the yesterday’s announcement of Oscar nominees, there was some debate about what did and didn’t make the final rundown.
The odd grievance set aside, readers started casting votes for their favourites shortly after the final newsletter of last year was sent out and they’ve been steadily trickling in ever since.
Certain voting trends formed early during the process, with readers clearly favouring some finalists over others, and these were only consolidated by further votes as the days went by.
At the time of publication of this piece, there were a total of 2,667 votes cast across the various categories, and what follows are the overall winners*.
The Brangelina award for Best Client-Agency Partnership
Best Partnership of the year: Air New Zealand and True
If there were an award for sheer number of campaigns, the partnership between True and Air New Zealand would be close. With new competition on local and international routes, Air New Zealand ramped up its marketing this year and released a flurry of ads to show just how Kiwi it is. And True delivered the goods.
The Russell Brand Award for Best Brand
Best Brand of the year: The Spinoff
Big media had a tough year, with rolling restructures across the board. And while it’s still small in comparison—and while the commercial model based around sponsored sections is still unproven—media nerds around the country were all talking about The Spinoff this year. Duncan Greive and his team of talented writers have been keeping readers engaged all year, with some of the highlights being a brilliantly researched piece on the Scout debacle, Alex Casey’s takedown of Dom Harvey’s gross tweets and a range of quality stunt journalism.
The Len Brown award for Biggest Whoopsie
Biggest whoopsie of the year: VW emissions scandal
While it wasn’t the fault of the local arm of VW, the scandal also had local repercussions, affecting not only sales but also the integrity of a brand that had taken decades to develop. As Volkswagen New Zealand general manager recently told NZ Marketing: “I was just gutted by what was going on and I think I said that in one of the interviews. We’ve worked our guts out here and I’m really disappointed. I’m willing to work through it, but I’m really disappointed for customers. As opposed to trying to put some gloss on it and saying that everything’s good and rosy, I said it’s not good and rosy. It’s like a mate cheating on you.”
The Donald Trump award for Best Stoush
The best stoush of the year: MediaWorks vs. journalists
MediaWorks’ decision to pull Campbell Live and then 3D has led to online petitions, boycotts, salacious articles and a consistent stream of outrage. It certainly hasn’t been the best year in the popularity department for the media company.
The Martin Shkreli Idea of the Year award
What was the idea of the year: McWhopper
Y&R NZ did the unthinkable and developed an initiative that would see the fast food factions of McDonald’s and Burger King set aside their differences and collaborate on World Peace Day to produce a hybrid burger. McDonald’s rejected the plan, but it was a win-win for Burger King and the campaign drew impressions in the billions. Plus, they eventually found support from Denny’s, Wayback Burgers, Krystal and Giraffas.
The Buck Shelford Ripped Scrotum award for Bravery
The bravest move of the year: Y&R NZ
With McWhopper, Breast Milk, the Land Rover restoration and Jaguar’s Actual Reality stunt, there was a bit of a trend to Y&R’s work this year and it received a fair bit of kudos. We wait for the rebrand to Y&R Surprise!
The Peter Fatialofa (RIP) award for Big Moves
The biggest move of the year: Stolen Spirits
Stolen Spirits was sold earlier this year to US company Liquid Asset Brands and Spirits Investment Partners for a hefty $21 million. Not bad for a company founded as recently as 2010.
The Jeff Jefferson Pitch of the Year
The pitch of the year: VW
It was fairly surprising when VW left DDB for Colenso BBDO a few years ago. And it was also slightly surprising that the new relationship was reasonably short-lived. Just before the emissions scandal took hold, FCB finally got itself a replacement auto brand and drove off with the prize.
The Ches and Dale Award for Best Mascot
The mascot of the year: Richie McCaw
He went out on a massive high with another World Cup victory, and McCawesome was also among the winners of the Great Rugby World Cup Marketing Wars of 2015 with his bravura performance for Beats.
The Man Bun Award for Naff Trend of the Year
The naffest trend of the year: Adult colouring books
It’s meant to be about relaxation, but it seems to be more about infantalisation. We blame Harry Potter. What’s next? At-work bouncinets?
*There was no limit to the number of times a person could vote, so there was certainly a fair amount of gaming the results.