After a successful inaugural event in 2017, this time around we decided to kick off the year with a reflection on 2018… and hopefully make it into the books as the first big party of 2019.

Set to occur on 14 February, the event will see winners in each of our categories announced and presented with a finely crafted doorstop trophy. Winners will be selected by the editorial team while you’ll cast votes to select the People’s Choice in each category.

Buy tickets here.

But this is not your standard awards night. You can leave your tuxedo in the mouldy region of your closet and come in whatever robes you’re wearing on the day. It’ll be a casual event with a twinkle in the eye. The Stoppies is really about bringing the industry together for a drink and to salute the moments that defined the past year.

A big thanks to our inaugural naming rights sponsor oOh! for kicking off the year with us.

Without further ado, it’s time to get voting.

The Campaign of the Year Award

‘The Dance’
Speight’s by DDB

Last year, Speight’s brought back its tagline ‘Good on Ya Mate’ like never before. Together with DDB, Speight’s put a contemporary take on its classic ads with dancing men front and centre. For two minutes the audience watches a group of mates teach each other moves and offer up critique, with the story encapsulating the values Speight’s stands for including friendship and generosity.

‘The Great Escape’
Mercury by FCB

What do a car and an energy company have in common? Following up on its award-winning e-bike campaign, 2018 saw Mercury progress from two-wheels to four. The campaign transformed a 57 Ford Fairlane into an electric vehicle, dubbed ‘Evie’ that transported the delightful Malcolm and Ron on a city adventure. Following the 90-second spot’s release Evie became a driving advertisement for Mercury as it travelled the country.

‘Armoured Truck’
Lotto by DDB

Lotto got hearts racing for its third installment of the ‘Imagine Series’, when two armoured truck drivers looked set for prison when they drove off with a van full of cash.

However, not all is as it seems as the driver pulls out a Lotto ticket to show his friend, and potential partner in crime, that the cash in the truck is actually theirs.

Tourism New Zealand by Augusto

Last year, Rhys Darby went on a mission to get New Zealand back on world maps. In the entertaining campaign for Tourism New Zealand, Darby gets in touch with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to express his frustration and ask for her help.

Later in the year, Sir Peter Jackson and Ed Sheeran were brought into the drama, with Darby proposing Sheeran as the reason for New Zealand’s disappearance and Jackson offering up a solution

‘The 72 Club’
Lifeline by DDB

The 27 Club is a well-known macabre union, with members including Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Amy Winehouse and Kurt Cobain. Last year, Lifeline and DDB flipped it on its head by launching The 72 Club, to demonstrate how worthwhile life is after 27.

Acting as a reminder of a full, well-lived life, the campaign features a group of Kiwi musicians including Suzanne Lynch and Larry Morris recreating Joplin’s iconic 1970 song ‘Piece of My Heart’. The single was available on iTunes and Spotify and t-shirts were available to buy with all proceeds going to Lifeline.

‘Ko Tātou This Is Us’
Biosecurity 2025 by Clemenger BBDO

Bisoecurity 2025 got emotional last year, with a campaign about the importance and fragility of the world. Narrated by a kuia reading her letter to Aotearoa, she tells of New Zealand’s, and her own, connection to the land but how vulnerable it is to pests and diseases. Adding to the ad’s impact, the woman cast in the role of the kuia is a regular person, not an actor, and her real memories are woven into the story.

‘Road Commander’

Even battlewagons require a warrant of fitness according to VTNZ. This message is learned through an entertaining ad that watches as Road Commander, a Mad Max-inspired character, takes his weapon-laden vehicle in for its WoF. However, it quickly loses some of its grunt as the flamethrowers and harpoons have to go.

‘Communication is Second Nature’
2degrees by DDB

With five years passing since 2degrees launched any major brand work, last year it rolled out a new brand campaign exploring ways in which people, animals and even colours communicate. At the core of the campaign is the idea that communication is second nature and that is translated in a 60-second brand spot as well as shorter business category and retail spots.

Bird of the Year
Forest and Bird

Forest and Bird’s Bird of the Year poll returned for 2018 with 59 of New Zealand’s 168 bird species on the ballot for the coveted top spot. The annual poll raises awareness for the plight, and importance, of native birds as bird-lovers manage campaigns for their favourite bird. The resulting social media campaigns are often hilarious and sometimes even resort to smear campaigns to get the point across.

‘In My Shoes’
New Zealand Transport Agency by Clemenger BBDO

The New Zealand Transport Agency’s chilling ‘In My Shoes’ campaign captures the morbid scenes of a speed-related crash and a police officer’s account of visiting crash sites and tracking down victims’ families. The heart-breaking images leave a lasting impact.

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Client-Agency Partnership of the Year

Mercury and FCB

After working with Mercury to launch its new brand following the conflation of Mighty River Power and Mercury Energy, FCB has been consistent in its brand work, and pushing of, Mercury’s ‘Energy made Wonderful’ message. What started with e-bikes last year turned into electric vehicles with ‘Evie’ — a 57 Ford Fairlane with an electric motor under the hood. FCB was put in charge of Mercury’s media, creative, digital and direct business in July 2014.

Speight’s and DDB

It would be hard to find a better example of trust than Speight’s relationship with DDB after the two created a campaign with men partner dancing front-and-centre. Speight’s has long been known for its ‘Good On Ya Mate’ tagline and to give it a contemporary feel, DDB’s creative featured men teaching each other to dance. It’s a modern interpretation of Speight’s traditional values of mateship and willingness to go above and beyond.

BNZ and Colenso BBDO

In March 2012 BNZ appointed Colenso BBDO as its creative agency and it’s a relationship that continues today after the agency was taken off retainer in December 2016 and a new chief marketing officer was appointed in June 2017. The agency remains the lead creative agency on the bank’s creative account. Over the years, the partnership has resulted in work including the ‘Be Good With Money’ campaign, and more recently the ‘Bank of You’ campaign.

The New Zealand Police and Ogilvy

Over the last few years, Ogilvy has worked to shift the tone of the New Zealand Police’s recruitment videos to one that is quintessentially Kiwi. In 2016, it tugged on the heartstrings to see who cared enough to be a cop and in the last two years has taken a more humorous approach. There’s been ‘Freeze’, which won the agency the Grand Axis, a Grand Prix and six golds at the 2018 Axis Awards, plus two golds and two silvers at the 2018 Effies, and most recently the agency and client worked together on the ‘Breaking News’ campaign that encourages diversity.

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Whoopsie of the year

Clare Curran’s failure to record meetings

What started as a failure to disclose a breakfast meeting with then-RNZ head of news Carol Hirschfield resulted in Hirschfield’s resignation and later broadcasting minister Clare Curran’ own. She was caught out a second time when she failed to declare a meeting with Derek Handley about his interest in the vacant chief technology officer role.

Facebook and Cambridge Analytica

When Cambridge Analytica used the app ‘thisisyourdigitallife’ to collect personal data from Facebook for political ad targeting, the risk of sharing personal data online became apparent.

Around the world, 87 million individuals are believed to have had their personal data harvested by the UK-based political data company, including 63,714 New Zealanders. The information collected was used to target voters in the US election and Brexit vote.

Name suppression laws

New Zealand’s name suppression laws were labelled nonsense at the end of last year after Google sent a mass email naming the man accused of murdering British backpacker Grace Millane. The generic email was sent to anyone who signed up to the service’s “what’s trending in New Zealand” email and the one in question featured the accused’s name in the subject line. The trend alerts are automatically generated by algorithms and Google didn’t receive a suppression order from the court order to take action.

Air New Zealand’s Antarctica Safety video

Air New Zealand experienced some turbulence when its ‘World’s coolest safety video’ launched last year. The spot was described as high gloss cultural cringe safety video’, ‘grossly insensitive’ and ‘distasteful’ by some as it highlighted the airline’s role in environmental and scientific research in Antarctica — the location of the 1979 Mt Erebus disaster which killed 257 onboard Air New Zealand flight 901. The video made no mention of the crash and some also questioned the ad for presenting a possible misconception of Antarctica in that it is a viable place for tourists to visit, which is not recommended given the fragile environment.

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Stoush of the Year

The Farmers Auckland Christmas parade vs Santa (Neville Baker)

The Farmers Auckland Christmas parade ditched its Santa in the lead up to the big day after Neville Baker, who plays Santa, made comments about the role needing to be a male one. The chairman of the Children’s Christmas Parade Trust said the comments were inappropriate and unnecessary, however, a change of heart saw Baker reinstated as Santa.

Todd Scott vs media agencies

Todd Scott ruffled feathers when NBR publicly stated it would no longer pay any media agency commission, tweeting “the gravy train reign is over”. While Scott also reported agencies were boycotting the publication as a result of the decision, it did not seem to concern him as his focus was on the “mission not the commission”. That mission is increasing subscribers, which he sees as the only way to ethically fund journalism.

Ed Kindred vs The Spinoff TV

Following StopPress’ interview with The Spinoff founder and managing editor Duncan Greive about The Spinoff TV, TVNZ programmer Ed Kindred was quick to take to twitter and question Greive’s claim the first week saw The Spinoff TV rated “incredibly well”.

Who owns Cultural Codes

Can you own cultural codes? In the 2018 Media issue of NZ Marketing magazine, FCB tapped into New Zealand’s traditional modesty with a display of some “okay-ish ads”. The insight that New Zealanders don’t like to brag comes from the agency’s Cultural Codes, which were created over ten years ago.

FCB’s ad lays claim to the original ‘New Zealand Cultural Codes’ and says “a lot of agencies are banging on about culture these days”. But it’s an impossible area to own. Just a few pages along, True took a look at what it means to be a New Zealander, working with TRA to create its own set of Cultural Codes.

And beyond the pages of NZ Marketing magazine, True and FCB are just two of the agencies to conduct research of this nature.

Kapiti vs Nice Blocks

Nice Blocks and Kapiti (a Fonterra brand) got into a social media battle last year when the latter promoted its new ice block as ‘a Nicer Bock’. Nice Block recreated the post and removed the ‘R’ to read ‘a Nice Block’ while also encouraging its fans to comment on Kapiti’s post with suggestions of how it could be a nicer brand. The stoush drew attention to both companies values and the work they are doing.

Burger King vs McDonald’s

McDonald’s and Burger King took their competition to the streets last year, with both taking over billboards to prove they are either the king or the biggest. While McDonald’s shared a billboard reading ‘Long live the King’ alongside a picture of a Big Mac, Burger King had shared an ad reading ‘Size Matters’ featuring a Big Mac and Whopper (bigger than the Big Mac) side by side.

Stuff + NZME vs Commerce Commission

2018 saw Stuff and NZME draw a line in the sand on their proposed merger. It was 2015 when the application to amalgamate was made and in September the Court of Appeal’s rejection marked the final blow for the plan. In October, NZME called it quits on its attempts to merge with Stuff and would not be appealing the Court of Appeal’s decision.

Huawei vs western countries

Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei has been blocked by a number of countries, including New Zealand, after concerns were raised about its 5G equipment posing a significant national security risk as it could be used to spy for the Chinese government.

Derek Handley vs the Government

Entrepreneur Derek Handley had his offer to be appointed the country’s first chief technology officer withdrawn last year and was paid out more than $107,500 compensation. The Government decided to stop the recruitment process and “rethink the role” after Handley was offered the role and accepted it. He later released text and email exchanges he’d had with Clare Curran and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Curran’s failure to record a meeting she’d had with Handley about his interest in the role cost her her seat at the cabinet table.

Auckland Pride Parade vs police uniforms

After police uniforms were banned from 2019’s Auckland Pride Parade, sponsors and participants pulled their support, including Vodafone, BNZ, ANZ, and Westpac. While many of those who pulled out said it would continue to support the festival in other ways, they would not participate in the parade as they see the ban of police uniforms going against the value of inclusion.

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The 2018 Bravery Award

Spark and TVNZ’s Rugby World Cup winning bid

Spark’s evolution from a telco into an entertainment and service provider took a big step in 2018 as it joined forces with TVNZ for a successful bid to secure the rights to broadcast the Rugby World Cup 2019. Also included in the package is coverage of the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2021, as was the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 and World Rugby U20 Championships 2018 and 2019. It means New Zealanders will be able to stream Rugby World Cup 2019 matches and related content live or on-demand over their home broadband or mobile connection. Eyes will now be on the infrastructure and if it’s up to the task.

Shortland Street the Musical

After 26 years on the screen, 2018 was the year that Shortland Street finally hit the stage with an injection of song and dance. Written by Guy Langford and directed by Simon Bennett, Shortland Street the Musical received positive reviews including “a hilarious must-see” and “just what the doctor ordered”. However, after low ticket sales and the high cost of touring, the nationwide tour was cancelled.

The Spinoff TV

Two years after writing a story titled ‘Good news: TV is dead’, last year Spinoff founder and managing editor Duncan Greive reconsidered the idea by taking The Spinoff’s content to the airwaves with The Spinoff TV. It premiered on 22 June with $700,000 funding from NZ On Air as well as contributions from The Spinoff and Three. Lasting 16 episodes, The Spinoff TV was originally broadcast at 9.45pm on a Friday but was pushed back to the 10.45pm slot.

‘The Dance’
Speight’s by DDB

Blokes partnering up to ballroom dance might not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about beer, but it’s the direction Speight’s chose to take when it brought back the ‘Good on Ya Mate’ tagline last year. The tagline has a long history with the brand stretching back to the 90s and its new story is a modern interpretation of Speight’s traditional values of mateship and willingness to go above and beyond.

Paul Manning and Helius Therapeutics

Back in February, Paul Manning announced he would be swapping ads for medicinal marijuana as he departed 99 to work with Helius Therapeutics – a company he co-founded with Gavin Pook (the former general manager of Red Bull New Zealand) and JP Schmidt (who has worked extensively in the private equity and property investment space). The company is focused on the cultivation, research and manufacturing of medical-grade cannabis products within New Zealand, and is one of several companies awaiting a license from Medsafe to begin its operations.

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Idea of the Year

Spark, Te Aka, Colenso BBDO and Google

To mark Te wiki o te reo Māori, Spark and Te Aka Māori Dictionary launched Kupu (which directly translates to ‘word’), a free interactive mobile app that helps people learn te reo Māori translations by exploring objects around them.

‘Testimatic Auto Ball Checker’
Testicular Cancer NZ by FCB

Testicular Cancer New Zealand and FCB took the awkwardness out of testicle checks with the ‘Testimatic‘, a device that allows men to have their testicles checked for irregularities and lumps without being face-to-face with a doctor. It launched at the Big Boys Toys expo in Auckland, alongside exhibits for fast cars, barbeques and speed-boats.

‘Oat the Goat’
The Ministry of Education by FCB

Last year, the Ministry of Education tackled bullying with a goat called Oat. The protagonist of the interactive web story, Oat embarks on an adventure to make friends but not without a few challenging situations arising. He becomes a bystander to bullying and the child reading or viewing it has to decide how he should respond. The hope is the interactivity helps cement the moral of the story in readers’ minds so they are empowered to support the targets of bullying if they face it in real life.

Squawk’s Journey
Squawk Squad with
Department of Conservation, the Christchurch City Council, Ngai Tahu, Genesis Energy, WhioForever and AR and VR studio M Theory

Social enterprise Squawk Squad aims to connect and engage people in the protection and growth of New Zealand’s native bird life and last year saw it partner with with the Department of Conservation, the Christchurch City Council, Ngāi Tahu, Genesis Energy, WhioForever and AR and VR studio M Theory to create a VR experience that details the adventures of a young robin bird who interacts with friends (a tui and kiwi) and foes (a stoat) in the forest.

The experience can be viewed through VR or YouTube and to get kids involved, Squawk Squad distributed 800 cardboard VR headsets to over 25,000 Kiwi kids from more than 400 schools.

Helius Therapeutics

In early 2018, former managing director of 99 Paul Manning made headlines when he announced his departure from the agency. His new role? To be one-third of the trio behind Helius Therapeutics, a company he co-founded with Gavin Pook (the former general manager of Red Bull New Zealand) and JP Schmidt (who has worked extensively in the private equity and property investment space). The company is focused on the cultivation, research and manufacturing of medical-grade cannabis products within New Zealand, and is one of several companies awaiting a license from Medsafe to begin its operations.

‘The Impossible Burger’
Air New Zealand with Impossible Foods

Air New Zealand made headlines last year when it took a meat-free burger to the skies. Promoted in a video by True, the burger is shown to be plant-based with no traces of meat, or metal, when examined by airport security. The move by Air New Zealand to incorporate the burger into its menu is about offering not only a meat-free option, but also to be serving up a fresh and innovative approach to food.

‘The 72 CLub’
Lifeline by DDB

DDB and Lifeline flipped the 27 Club, a well-known macabre union, to create The 72 Club and celebrate a full, well-lived life. The campaign features a group of Kiwi musicians including Suzanne Lynch and Larry Morris recreating Joplin’s iconic 1970 song ‘Piece of My Heart’ as well as a t-shirt with all proceeds going to Lifeline.

‘Sweet As’
The Warehouse by DDB

Arguments be gone, New Zealand lingo is now an acceptable Scrabble gameplay in the Kiwi Scrabble edition. The game is a collaboration between The Warehouse and Mattel and features 300 Kiwi words. Its October launch followed a nationwide word search earlier in 2018 when The Warehouse asked people to share their favourite New Zealand words on Facebook.

‘Get the Skinny’
Skinny by Colenso BBDO

Skinny launched its ‘Get the Skinny’ brand platform with Colenso BBDO last year featuring Ben Affleck, Julia Roberts, Michael Jordan, Clint Eastwood, Sarah Jessica Parker, Anthony Hopkins, and Michael J. Fox professing their love for Skinny. However, all is not as it first appears as the seemingly big-budget A-list production, in fact, stars real Kiwis with famous names. The use of real-Kiwis without slick acting, polished smiles and ball skills is a clever display of Skinny’s low-cost roots as its avoiding the multimillion-dollar endorsement deals.

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Dan Martin

Not quite a year into his time as chief executive of FCB New Zealand, Dan Martin left the agency last July.

John Campbell

John Campbell fans would have been excited to learn last year he was returning to TV with TVNZ. The new role has him working across 1 News programmes and platforms in both the studio and field.

Paul Manning

Back in February, Paul Manning announced he would be swapping ads for medicinal marijuana as he departed 99 to work with Helius Therapeutics.

James Mok

After 14 years at FCB, chief creative officer James Mok hung up his hat to pursue consultancy opportunities.

Josh Moore

Josh Moore resigned from his role as CEO/CCO of Y&R New Zealand to pursue a new opportunity. He’d been with the agency since 2011, joining the agency as ECD and soon assuming the roles of CEO and CCO. In 2016 his CCO duties expanded to include Y&R Australia.

Rufus Chuter

In March 2018 managing director of FCB’s media division Rufus Chuter announced he would be leaving, ending a six-year tenure at the agency. In October, he and former OMD chief digital officer Kris Hadley announced they’d launched a new strategy technology and media management agency, Together.

Shane Bradnick

Former DDB executive creative director Shane Bradnick made a new home for himself at TBWA\New Zealand last year. He’s now the chief creative officer across TBWA, Digital Arts Network (DAN) and Eleven PR. News of his appointment came after an announcement that TBWA\NZ executive creative director Christy Peacock had resigned from his position and would be departing the agency after three years.

Ben Goodale

Managing director of JustOne Ben Goodale left the agency at the end of the year to take a career break. The change also saw JustOne relocate to Richmond Road and co-locate offices with 99 and Raydar. Troy Fuller, managing director of 99 and Raydar, will take on oversight of the company providing synergies for clients in the building.

John Fellet

In what was already a big year for Sky as its numbers dropped and some services got a shake-up, CEO John Fellet announced in early 2018 he would be retiring after 27 years at the company. In November it was announced Martin Stewart would be Sky’s new CEO.

Regan Savage

Former Kiwibank general manager of marketing communications Regan Savage moved from one Kiwi brand to another last year when he joined Trade Me as marketing director.

Jason Paris

Jason Paris stepped into the CEO role at Vodafone last year after Russell Stanners stepped down. In taking on the role, Paris announced he’d been tasked with getting the company in shape for an initial public offering in 2020.

Ben Fahy

After nine years with ICG Media, former editorial director/publisher of the business network left the company for Bauer Media Group NZ. In September he stepped into the role of editorial director – current affairs, working with teams across existing titles as well as managing the publication of OurAuckland, a custom publication for Auckland Council.

Andrew Berglund

The Warehouse Group stepped up its in-house talent last year with the appointment of Andrew Berglund to the role of executive creative director. He leads the group’s internal and external creative teams and agency relationships. Prior to the role, Berglund was chief creative officer and founder of Human.International, based out of Amsterdam and Seoul.

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Account Move of the Year


The automotive industry played a game of musical chairs last year, with Volkswagen’s creative account moving to DDB meaning the agency had to let go of BMW and Mini. Making this story particularly interesting is the fact DDB is set to move into the Giltrap HQ on Great North Road.

The Warehouse Group

With chief marketing officer Jonathan Waecker stepping into the company in November 2017, 2018 saw him make his mark with a move to appoint a single media partner to work across all The Warehouse Group’s brands. The search kicked off in January and in May, Omnicom Media Group was appointed as the single media strategy and buying partner for its family of brands: The Warehouse, Warehouse Stationery, Noel Leeming and Torpedo7.


As the year came to an end, Vodafone announced it was moving its creative account from FCB to DDB. It was a big account win for DDB but meant it had to part ways with existing telco client 2degrees. It was later announced 2degrees had appointed TBWA.


FCB won the Samsung account in a six-way pitch, ousting the incumbent Colenso BBDO. Colenso had formalised its relationship as Samsung’s agency of record in 2013.

DB Breweries

DB Breweries ended its 18-year partnership with PHD Group last year to appoint Red Star at Dentsu Aegis Network as its media agency of record. The move was part of a global agency review and alignment by parent company Heineken.

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Disruption of the Year

The OOH industry

The evolution of the media landscape has not left the OOH industry behind and 2018 was a year of movement in the market.

In June, Ooh Media won a bidding war to acquire Adshel from Here, There & Everywhere (HT&E) for $570 million. Later, JCDecaux completed the Acquisition of APN Outdoor in October for $1.119 billion.

Meanwhile, other media companies decided to get in on the action, with NZME and Go Media entering a sales partnership to see the out-of-home company’s media solutions be included in the media company’s multi-platform offering. Later, MediaWorks and QMS ended proposed a merger of QMS Media’s New Zealand out-of-home, production and digital media business (QMS NZ) and MediaWorks’ radio, TV and digital business.


In April, the chief executives of the three major television networks — Kevin Kenrick (TVNZ) Michael Anderson (MediaWorks) and John Fellet (Sky TV) — united on stage together for the launch of the initiative ThinkTV New Zealand. It will give insights into viewing behaviour and the impact of advertising across free-to-air, subscription and digital television, with industry bodies Nielsen and the Comms Council endorsing the launch.


After kicking off the year with a rebrand from Fairfax Media New Zealand to Stuff, the announcements kept coming from the company. First came the closure of 25 titles before its appeal to merge with NZME was rejected by the Court of Appeal. As well as losing staff due to closing titles, a further 19 jobs were axed from Auckland and Northland community papers. Meanwhile, Stuff partnered up with other media companies by entering content sharing partnerships with Bauer Media Group, Māori Television and SkyKiwi. Those partnerships add to the existing partnerships with Radio Tarana, TVNZ and Newsroom.co.nz.

Voice technology

First there was Siri, now there’s Alexa and many more AI assistants able to help without clicking a button. It’s thrown up a new question for brands, which after establishing a colour scheme, style and name, will not have to ask: what do we sound like?

New Zealand Post’s price increase

Since 1 July 2018, New Zealand Post’s had a new pricing model in response to the declining number of letters being sent. The increase in price saw the Magazine Publishers Association (MPA) enter into negotiations with New Zealand Post with the knowledge that the new price of post could be a hard pill for some publishers to swallow.


GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) was an acronym that hit the digital world in 2018, to protect personal data and privacy of EU citizens. The new legislation and its potentially severe penalties made organisations around the world stop and take stock of who they are in contact with and what permissions they have.

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Mascot of the Year

Evie for Mercury

Though not a character that speaks, Evie, the electricity-powered 57 Ford Fairlane painted in Mercury’s yellow, is a four-wheeled display of the brand tagline ‘Energy Made Wonderful’. And being a real vehicle, unlike some mascots that only live on the screen, Evie has travelled the country.

Russell the Brussels Sprout for My Food Bag

Last year My Food Bag launched a new brand campaign with Russell the Brussels Sprout at the centre of it. The adorable sprout tells of how family dinner has taken a more energetic turn since My Food Bag and for existing customers, Russell’s story continues each week through an AR-enabled sticker.

Kong for Mitre 10

An escaping donkey called Kong made its way onto screens this year as Mitre 10 unveiled a new brand mission ‘Get it done Right’. While Kong’s owner Roy attempts to keep him fenced in, Mitre 10 proves to be the answer with supplies to build a donkey friend for Kong. Kong’s cheeky, and slightly scary, nature made him a great character we hope will return.

Simon the Sloth (RIP) for LifeDirect by TradeMe

A special shoutout goes to LifeDirect’s Simon the Sloth for raising awareness of the importance of insurance. Simon was killed last year when he fell off the edge of a cliff. Fortunately, he was insured and ready to look after his family according to Trade Me. Shortly after Simon’s death, LifeDirect rolled out a new brand campaign featuring sharks and lightning.

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Synergy of the Year

TVNZ + Spark

Spark’s evolution from a telco into an entertainment and service provider took a big step in 2018 as it joined forces with TVNZ for a successful bid to secure the rights to bring New Zealanders the Rugby World Cup 2019. Also included in the package is coverage of the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2021 as was the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 and World Rugby U20 Championships 2018 and 2019. It means New Zealanders will be able to stream Rugby World Cup 2019 matches and related content live or on-demand over their home broadband or mobile connection. Eyes will now be on the infrastructure and if it’s up to the task.

Radio New Zealand + New Zealand’s media outlets

Without budget to advertise itself, Radio New Zealand’s content sharing agreements with New Zealand media outlets give it promotion while also maintaining RNZ’s policy of sharing content. Media partners including Scoop Publishing, Stuff, The Spinoff, TVNZ.

On top of this, it also worked with other media partners to co-produce, including Two Cents’ Worth — a weekly business podcast available on RNZ, Newsroom and iTunes.

Radio New Zealand + Te Papa

To mark its 20th anniversary, Te Papa collaborated with RNZ to create a podcast series showcasing a collection of national treasures. Called Ours: Treasures from Te Papa, the new RNZ podcast features 20 episodes, each featuring an object from the Te Papa collection, a chat with its museum curator, and a conversation with New Zealanders who have a personal connection to the object. Features New Zealanders include Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Top Twin, Linda Topp.

Lewis Road Creamery + Pic’s Peanut Butter

Lewis Road Creamery and Pic’s Peanut Butter is a match born in food heaven and is responsible for the creation of Peanut Butter ice cream and Peanut Butter & Jelly ice cream. Need we say more?

Blunt + Wellington Museum + Auckland Museum

To celebrate 125 years of women’s suffrage in New Zealand Blunt Umbrella teamed up with Wellington Museum and Auckland Museum to create a Suffrage 125 Umbrella. It features Kate Sheppard’s signature from the successful 1893 petition presented to Parliament and a special breed of white camellia flower called the ‘Kate Sheppard’.

Starship Children’s Emergency Department + ASB + Rush Digital + The Starship Foundation

Starship Children’s Emergency Department waiting room got a new, interactive look this year thanks to a collaboration between ASB, Rush Digital and The Starship Foundation. More than $1 million was raised by ASB and its customers to fund the project that saw Rush Digital design two distinct spaces. There’s the “Starship Animal Check-ups” — a wall of frames featuring different characters to take children through check-up experiences, familiarising them with the processes they will soon undertake with the clinical team — and the “Magic Forest” — a spectacular Avatar-like scene which creates a calming space to relax and enjoy quiet time.

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Best Ad that’s not an Ad

‘Testimatic Auto Ball Checker’
Testicular Cancer NZ by FCB

In an effort to start a conversation about testicular cancer, Testicular Cancer New Zealand and FCB created the Testimatic, an auto ball checker that allows men to be checked without being face to face with a doctor. The Testimatic sees men drop their pants behind a curtain before a hand reaches through a small opening to check they testicles. The approach to testing gained media attention locally and internationally.

Responsible Camping Film
Tourism New Zealand and MBIE by Contagion

In an effort to educate campers about how best to look after New Zealand, Tourism New Zealand and MBIE created a video with advice on how to be a responsible camper. To make sure it’s seen by those who need to hear it, the video must be viewed before campers can connect to free WiFi at selected i-Site Visitor Information Centres around the country. There are also instructional key tags and kete available at the centres and campervan rental businesses.

Mercury by FCB

Following ‘The Great Escape’ spot by FCB, Mercury took character Evie on the road across New Zealand. Evie, a 57 Ford Fairlane with an electric motor under the hood, is a tangible demonstration of Mercury’s tagline, ‘Energy Made Wonderful’ having visited events like the Repco Beach hop in Whangamata.

‘Find Your Fit’
Got a Trade by Ogilvy NZ

To attract young Kiwis into trades and services, Got A Trade and Ogilvy NZ created a music video. New Zealand band The Hype Men — made up of Elroy Finn and Jimmy Metherell, as well as Eliza-Jane Barnes— featured in the three-minute video, singing ‘If You Want Me’, while contorting themselves through unusually shaped holes in moving walls. All the sets – ranging from electrical to plumbing – were built with the help of real apprentices and trainees. The video launched on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram stories, and was supported by an interactive microsite where viewers could learn more about the various trades and services. Every time a different wall approaches the band, a link pops up enabling viewers to click through and learn more about the career represented on screen.

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Graham Medcalf

Having once been editor of NZ Marketing magazine, Red Advertising director Graham Medcalf continues to contribute to both the magazine and StopPress and in 2018 made it more regular with a weekly column: Gray Matters. A rundown of the week that was, Medcalf keeps tabs on New Zealand and global marcomms industry going on with some opinion and advice thrown in.

Colleen Ryan

TRA’s Colleen Ryan once again kept the StopPress newsfeed well fed last year with a series of thought-provoking pieces. She tackled five of the six Cultural Codes developed with True, including individuality and self-determination, a holistic connection to nature, social equivalence, Kiwis taking an outward world view and humour. She even commentated the Ritson versus Sharp theory of marketing debate with a piece about how emotionally-charged experiences are more likely to be remembered than dry cognitive message-based stimulus.

Paul Catmur

In 2018, Paul Catmur’s ‘And Another thing’ series told marketers ‘How not to choose a creative agency’ with points from philosophy to car. Later in the year, he compared to the battle between TV and digital to a war in ‘The death of Stalin’.

Michael Goldthorpe

Another agency insider who’s shared some advice on what not to do is Hunch managing partner Michael Goldthorpe. Throughout the year, he’s looked at “Five easy ways to get bad advice” and delved into topics including a robotic future of customer service; digital litterbugs; big data; metrics versus magic; and the future of marketing automation.

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Justin Mowday

Looking at DDB’s achievements over the past year, it would be hard to ignore chief executive Justin Mowday for a spot on this list. With clients wins including Vodafone, Seat, KiwiRail, Warehouse Stationery, New Zealand Steel and Volkswagen alongside award-winning creative, he’s leading an agency with momentum.

Kate Roydhouse

In March, Kate Roydhouse returned from London to take on the managing director and executive producer role at Curious Film. She’s now putting into practice international experience gained as head of production as SJR & Colloquial (WPP) throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Alongside her role at Curious she is passionate about the wider industry and at Spikes Asia 2018 spoke about how gender equality is not a fad.

Kevin Kenrick

It’s a turbulent time for media companies and steering the TVNZ ship is Kevin Kenrick. Alongside its TV offering, he’s overseen its expansions including Re:, Heihei (with NZ On Air) and its continued investment in TVNZ OnDemand that in October reported 1,092 available shows and 102 million streams in the past year. And it’s paying off, with TVNZ reporting its finances were on the rise in 2018, including a net profit after tax up 265 percent.

Alison Mau

Launched #MeTooNZ, an investigation with Stuff into sexual harassment in New Zealand workplaces. She launched the investigation in February and in the following days had upwards of 200 people contact her to tell their story. In September, Mau reported the campaign had brought about complaints covering a wide cross-section of the private and public sectors.

Michael Redwood

The managing partner of Special Group not only celebrated the agency turning 10, he’s also seen be named Campaign Brief New Zealand Agency of the Year, alongside a number of other industry awards. The award-winning work is for a growing list of clients that in the past year has been joined by Uber, Fonterra, Tip Top, Delmaine Fine Foods, The Alternative Meat Co, Taylor Pass Honey Co and Johnnie Walker.

Louise Bond

After nearly 20 years at the helm of PHD, Louise Bond announced she would be stepping down from chief executive to chairperson at the end of 2018 and she did so with the group in as best shape as it could be. In July there was a suite of changes to the PHD and Spark PR & Activate that following PHD Media’s Media Agency of the Year win at the 2018 Beacons.

Jonathan Waeker

Fair to say Jonathan Waeker hit the ground running when he joined The Warehouse Group as chief marketing officer in late 2017. Only two months later he entered a pitch process to appoint a single media strategy and buying partner for its family of brands: The Warehouse, Warehouse Stationery, Noel Leeming and Torpedo7. Omnicom Media was the winner.

While the group continues to work with multiple creative agencies, Andrew Berglund joined the team in April as executive creative director, leading the group’s internal and external creative teams and agency relationships.

In early 2018, Waeker told StopPress he was excited by the potential to take a look at what each brand means to New Zealand and bring that culture into the creative.

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Group of Humans


Vodafone, Seat, KiwiRail, Warehouse Stationery, New Zealand Steel and Volkswagen are a few of the accounts the DDB team has picked up in the past year. It also held onto Lotto when the account was put up for pitch. Alongside the accounts, it’s 2018 awards win list — including golds at Campaign Agency of the Year, the 2018 Grand Effie and Most Effective Agency of the Year title, as well as a haul of Axis and Spikes Asia New Zealand Agency of the Year title — make 2018 one for the agency.

Special Group

After started the year being named Campaign Brief New Zealand Agency of the Year, that momentum continued for Special Group. 2018 saw it win a collection of Axis Awards, five silver at the Campaign Agency of the Year 2018 Awards, three Effie, two APAC Effies and earn the rank of Most Effective Independent Agency in Asia-Pacific as well as the title of Sixth Most Effective Independent Agency in the World in the Effie Effectiveness Index.

Alongside the award wins, it’s also seen account wins including Uber, Fonterra, Tip Top, Delmaine Fine Foods, The Alternative Meat Co, Taylor Pass Honey Co and Johnnie Walker. The agency will also be stamping its mark on Tourism New Zealand’s ‘100% Pure New Zealand’ campaign after it’s New Zealand and Australian offices worked together on the pitch.

Beyond the agency’s doors, in early 2018 Special Group reported its Sydney arm had become larger than the New Zealand arm both in terms of its size and monthly turnover. Last year also saw it open a new production company, Nimble. Led by executive producer Patrick McAteer, it’s described as “a talent aggregator” as it brings in the talent suited for each job.


2018 was a big one for the Spark team. It teamed up with TVNZ to win the Rugby World Cup Rights, and later carried out an internal restructure. That restructure was its move to an “agile model”, involving self-managed teams with clear accountability. Alongside the new model of working, it welcomed Matt Bain to the role of marketing director.


Named the Media Agency of the Year at 2018’s Beacons, PHD deserves a spot on the Group of Humans list. The award acknowledged the agency for its outstanding client and employee achievements, industry contribution and global award recognition. One of those clients is Sealord, that, like others, appointed the agency in 2018.

Tourism New Zealand

With Stephen England-Hall at the helm as chief executive since 2017, Tourism New Zealand is moving into the future with an evolution of its ‘100% Pure’ platform as well as embracing technology.

The 100% Pure New Zealand went live in 1999 and in the past year, Tourism New Zealand has been working to evolve it by dialling up the people aspect of it, as visitors get a good feeling from New Zealanders. The approach can be seen in its ‘A Welcoming Journey’ campaign by Augusto that features tourists chatting with friendly locals during their trip. England-Hall also told StopPress in 2018 it’s working to use technology to better understand and engage with its audience.

Alongside ‘100% Pure’s’ evolution, the organisation has also educated campers on looking after the environment, and put New Zealand on the map in clever campaigns.


Last year, Augusto blew out 10 candles and it did so as it made its mark on America as its New York office opened its doors. Back in New Zealand, its Auckland office relocated across City Works Depot from Shed 8 to 12A and welcomed new team members including Aimee McCammon as managing director, a new finance director, a new head of business development and two new creatives.

They’ve been kept busy with client work as asll as bigger projects, including a feature film about suicide, with the main character also the subject of a web series that will be released via NZME. Both are due out this year.

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Gone but not forgotten


Bauer kicked off 2018 with the announcement Auckland’s free, weekly magazine Paperboy would cease publication under its print model. After launching in late 2016 and testing the waters with special edition magazines in 2017 it was not able to draw enough advertising revenue to continue. At the time of the announcement, Bauer Media managing director Brendon Hill told StopPress it would like to see Paperboy make a comeback in the future.

Simon the sloth

LifeDirect killed off its own mascot this year to remind Kiwis of the importance of insurance. Simon fell to his death in a TVC, however, according to Trade Me it was fortunate he was insured and ready to look out for his family. A tongue-in-cheek memorial video with comments from the LifeDirect staff was also released alongside a competition to win $10,000 from Simon’s life insurance policy to the person who could create the best story of their relationship with the sloth.

Leighton Smith

After 33 years on radio, Leighton Smith retired in 2018 but his voice will still remain in New Zealand’s media mix. He’s set to start a weekly podcast and will be writing a weekly column for the NZ Herald.

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