When we found out Sky and TVNZ were building an Igloo together, we heard Barnes, Catmur & Friends and Sugar were the two agencies in the hunt for the account. And Sugar has come out victorious.
It's thought Sky, which will control 51 percent of the new digital TV product aimed at the 50-ish percent of New Zealanders that haven't shelled out for the grown-up version of Sky due to value, price or commitment, wanted to divorce itself from the new company, which is being led by 31-year-old ex-Sky marketing man Chaz Savage, and give the account to a different agency.
A few eyebrows were raised when it was announced Interbrand Australia had done all the initial branding and design work, apparently because it has a long-standing relationship with Sky, but it seems the responsibility for the creative and launch campaign has now been handed over to Sugar (Interbrand Oz created Igloo's intro video below).
Sugar's managing director Jeremy Johnston got back to us, but, given no specific launch date has been given (the rather general 'first half of this year' is still being used), he was obviously keeping his powder dry and couldn't tell us too much about the creative strategy.
"It's great to be contributing to what is a significant change in the media landscape in New Zealand. From my perspective, it's a genuinely innovative product and we're one of the first markets in the world to bring this kind of offering. We're really pleased to be entrusted to handle the launch. And we've been really impressed with the Igloo team. Chaz [Savage] has been given a pretty exciting role."
Given the complexity and flexibility of the Igloo offering compared to free-to-air TV, Johnston says the major comms challenge is getting across how the viewer can benefit through the use of these new technologies.
As the countdown to the Digital Switchover begins, Johnston says the campaign will certainly be aimed at the many thousands Kiwis who haven't done anything about it yet and hopes to give them a reason to fork out a bit more.
"There's no doubt this product is coming along at the perfect time for anyone who's in the DSO dilemma. There's really no point in going out and buying a Freeview box because this is better."
According to the NZ Herald, the new broadcasting frenemies are hoping for 50,000 subscribers to sign up within two years and aiming to get around $10 million in one-off revenue from sales of the set-top box (much to some commentators' chagrin, the first $200 iteration doesn't feature a hard-drive capable of recording but does have a USB drive to enable live-pause) and $15 million from monthly fees, ondemand movies and pay-per-view sports matches.
A six month market research project was undertaken to see if this product woud fly and, on the surface, it looks a hell of a lot more appealing—and less confusing—than TVNZ's last effort in the pay TV space. Still, with the ghost of the $18 million TiVo failure lurking in the background, everyone will be watching very closely to see how Igloo fares when Sugar's campaign hits the streets.