We called it in late April, and now the official word is out: Westpac New Zealand has appointed DDB Group as its sole creative advertising agency.
DDB Group will partner with Westpac across all marcomms, including brand strategy, advertising, digital, CRM, PR and retail, bringing an end to the bank's relationship with Clemenger agencies .99 and Colenso.
Back in April, DDB's managing director Justin Mowday said: "ANZ is a very important client. And [DDB group's direct and digital arm] Rapp/Tribal will continue to work with them." Mowday is obviously be pleased to fill the hole in the roster that was left when ANZ went to TBWA\ but it comes at a cost because the list of tasks on the plate for Westpac means the ANZ and Rapp/Tribal relationship will be coming to an end, so ANZ will be looking for a new direct agency.
"Rapp/Tribal will continue to work with ANZ and see that through professionally for three months or so," Mowday says.
DDB will also take over the Westpac account around the same time (it's thought Colenso is currently working on a new TVC for the bank).
"It's important for us because banks are premier clients and they have scale," Mowday says. "And it's great to have it across the whole group so we can join everything up."
It's been a rather fluid period in New Zealand's financial marketing history, with three of the four big Aussie-owned banks shacking up with new agencies around the same time, so Mowday says it should make for an interesting year in the banking category and he expects some exciting work to be launched.
Westpac chief executive Peter Clare said in a release DDB is an award-winning agency with an outstanding track record in creating advertising that connects with New Zealanders.
"I am confident we have the agency that’s a best-fit for Westpac, and drawing on the expertise and experience of DDB will be invaluable as we develop and build on our excellent brand.”
Sandy Moore, DDB Group chief executive says it is "one of those once in a lifetime wins".
"Westpac is poised for growth and DDB is thrilled to be chosen as a crucial partner in delivering something fresh, bold and enduring to the marketplace. The pitch process really showed us why Westpac is the biggest and best in town. They have a fantastic leadership team, a motivated marketing team, and a genuine desire to do the best for Kiwi consumers. We can’t wait to get started.”
According to Interest.co.nz, Westpac New Zealand's first half-year cash earnings to 31 March was a record high, increasing by $64 million (24 percent) to $333 million from $269 million in the same period of the previous financial year.
The other three big boys also had record half year profits, with all four bringing home combined profits of $1.7 billion, up $392 million (30 percent) from $1.313 billion at the same time last year.
Mowday says Westpac is New Zealand's biggest single bank (when combined ANZ and National is bigger) and its strengths are in the personal banking and home loan space, but, like most of its competitors, one of its goals is to gain more of a foothold in the agricultural sector.