There has been a fair amount of activity behind the scenes at the nation's institutes of higher education over the last few months.
This started in May with the announcement that AUT had ended its decade-long creative partnership wth Consortium, a move that played a part in the indy agency closing it doors.
AUT has since appointed Shine on project basis to develop its mid-year marketing campaign, and the university's group director of brand and marketing Luke Patterson says there are no plans to appoint a full-time agency at this stage.
"We don't have any desire at the moment to limit ourselves with who we might work with and we may well do a discovery project with Assignment in the next month or so, tackling a specific business challenge," Patterson says. "We also have good relationships with Contagion and String Theory plus we use MBM for media and Baseline (Murray Campbell) around our brand and reputation measures."
Otago University has taken a different approach by tendering its creative account. The Dunedin-based uni has until now worked with independent agency Zephyr, and it is unclear whether the agency will be involved in the pitching process (Zephyr partner Robert Coulter could not be reached).
Otago University procurement manager Stephen Hall would not comment on which agencies were involved with the pitch, saying that potential candidates will still be able to put their names forward until 21 August at which point a shortlist of agencies will be invited to submit pitches for the business.
"At this stage of the process, it would be inappropriate to comment this procurement activity," Hall says. "Happy to discuss once the process has been completed."
In other university news, Alistair Kirk, Unitec director of Customer Journey marketing and communications, has confirmed that Unitec is very close to finalising a creative partnership with Republik.
"We're just waiting for it to be signed, sealed and delivered," Kirk says.
Special Group, which previously held the account and has won various awards for its work on it, refused to take part in the review process. And managing partner Michael Redwood pointed out that the agency last worked with Unitec in 2013.
It's anticipated that the deal between Republik and Unitec will be finalised next week.