The Great StopPress ‘Year in the Rear’: our take on 2016—and the final week to vote for your favourites

The Ricky Baker ‘Skuxx’ Campaign of the Year Award

Tokyo dry

In what feels like an epic campaign for a big international brand, Steinlager launched its Tokyo Dry Beer with DDB. The 90-second spot sees Kiwi hip-hop dance crew The Bradas transform into origami, bonsai trees, robots, lanterns and sumo wrestlers. The Japanese vibe was then continued into a series of stories in a branded content campaign with Vice Media.


The New Zealand Transport Agency and Clemenger BBDO with OMD used a bit of awkward intimacy earlier this year in a bid to stop teenagers using their phones while driving. Set to Lionel Richie’s Hello, the ad sees passengers intercept drivers’ hands as they reach for their phones—a clever idea that saw the ad gain plenty of traction on social media.


To raise awareness for the need of O and A-type blood, The New Zealand Blood Service took part in a global donor recruitment campaign in which the letters A and O were removed from logos, brand names and social media accounts. In the first 48 hours of its launch, it reached the top three trending topics on Twitter with more than 80 companies joining the call, including Pak’n Save, Anchor, L&P, Mainland and the Vodafone Warriors.


With True and Gladeye, ANZ developed an app that allowed users to send olympians messages through the stars. Using augmented reality, olympians could hold their phones to the sky to see if a New Zealander had left a message, while New Zealanders could use it to see if the olympians had responded. It was supported by ANZ’s wider ‘Dream Big’ campaign.


Although it’s not the showiest campaign we’ve seen, ‘It’s ours, is it yours?’, via Assignment Group, sets Kiwibank apart from the rest with the idea of being local. Head of marketing communications and content Regan Savage told StopPress: “It was about using this moment in time to remind them of the importance of backing the local player, whether they are current customers of ours who could do more business with us, or whether they are prospective customers who haven’t yet engaged with Kiwibank.” That message was then carried through into Kiwibank’s ‘The New Economy’ section on The Spinoff.


It may have faced some criticism and raised the eyebrows of health and safety conscious folk, but it’s hard not to love Big Tony. It was the first big brand campaign Spark rolled out with Colenso BBDO, setting it up for what we hope will be a brilliant agency/partner relationship.

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The ‘jandals and speedos’ Client-agency Partnership of the Year Award

Lotto NZ and DDB

On the one hand you have a client that still believes in large-scale storytelling, and on the other hand you have an agency adept at delivering just that. This symbiosis last year delivered the acclaimed ‘Pop’s Gift’, which was more recently followed up with the equally epic ‘Mum’s Wish‘. DDB chief creative officer Damon Stapleton has spoken about the importance of shifting focus from the picture frames to what’s actually inside them, and the quality work the agency does for Lotto is clearly testament of this.


ASB and Saatchi & Saatchi

In the lead up to this year, there were a number of criticisms from observers who questioned whether the Clever Kash prototype would ever manifest as an actual product. Both ASB and Saatchi ignored the noise and continued tinkering behind the scenes, developing something they would be happy to distribute to clients of the bank. Sometimes it pays to play the long game.   

2degrees and Special Group

According to most estimates, accounts up for pitch only stay with the incumbent in five to ten percent of instances. So, when the 2degrees account went up for pitch earlier this year, most expected it to depart from Special Group. Quite the opposite happened. 2degrees chief marketing officer Roy Ong stuck with the agency, confirming emphatically that there simply wasn’t a better match for the telco.     

True and Air New Zealand

In terms of degree of difficulty, there are few clients that have standards quite as high as Air New Zealand. The brand needs a consistent stream of clever creative thinking, and True has again proven that it’s equal to the task. And while this year wasn’t quite as busy for the pairing as last year, every time Air New Zealand releases a new campaign, the country pays attention.     

My Food Bag and Pead PR

A slightly left-field entry, but it’s difficult to look past the impact Pead has had on My Food Bag since the company was founded. From the first clever campaign featuring New Zealand influencers to the decision this year to kick the Chiefs rugby team to the kerb, My Food Bag has consistently played a very smart PR game—which certainly contributed to the company’s massive pay day in October.  

FCB and Vodafone

Piggy Sue trotted out of 2015 and into 2016, continuing to charm audiences. And while she did that, Vodafone released a number of campaigns by FCB showcasing the reliability of its network and reminding Kiwis why they should choose the red telco. And along the way we’ve also had a dose of excitement with Mad Mike putting his life in the network’s hands.   

Rebel Sport and Ogilvy & Mather

Adding a dose of creativity to the retail category is no easy task, but Ogilvy consistently manages to do this for Rebel Sport. Every season, the brand couples a good dose of hard selling with a clever emotional brand message that leaves Kiwis in little doubt as to where to get their sports gear. This year was no different, and Malakai Fekitoa’s inspirational story will ring in the memory for quite some time.        

Clemenger BBDO and NZTA

Over the last few years, this combination has delivered some of the most memorable Kiwi campaigns. And this consistency extended into 2016, with NZTA making us cringe in the ‘Hello’ campaign and then cracking us up with comedians’ drugged up ‘Thoughts’.

The Russell Brand Award for Best Brand

My Food Bag

Healthy and convenient food services have taken the grocery world by storm and My Food Bag has added to that hype, going from strength to strength this year. Not only has it built up its original offering, it called in Julian Dennison to launch a new ‘bargain box’.


It’s been a big year for the dairy brand as it kicked off with an epic ‘Go Strong’ international rebrand, via Colenso BBDO. Who would’ve thought a stuntwoman, a drag queen and trampolinists would fit a dairy brand? It then went on to create a buzz over its ‘X-Ray Cast’ campaign and supported Kiwi Olympians with its ‘Go Strong’ message. We look forward to seeing what else is to come of the current campaign slogan.

All Birds

Former All Whites skipper Tim Brown has taken New Zealand and US sneaker fans by storm this year with his woolen sneakers. Launching the first pair in March and following it up with a new range of colours and brand work three months later, we’re sure Santa will be delivering some Allbird’s shoes this year.

All Blacks

It’s been a big year for the boys in black both on and off the field as they’ve kept the fans cheering. Although Kiwis seem to be born with a love of the team, there’s still a brand to uphold on top of bugging and toilet scandals.


The container manufacturer ended the year being snapped up by a US Fortune 500 company for $660 million. But that doesn’t mean it will be heading overseas, as 90 percent owner Brendan Lindsay’s conditions included keeping the manufacturing and 700 staff based in New Zealand. Lindsay told Stuff: “A lot of New Zealanders get a lot of money and then bugger off. We’re staying put because we love our country. It’s not all about the money, it’s also about time, and we have that now to give back to our country and our community.”

Eat My lunch

The lunch delivery service is taking on both poverty and obesity with its ‘buy one, give one’ approach, that sees a Kiwi kid given a free lunch for every paid-for lunch. In its first 15 months, it provided 250,000 lunches to Kiwi kids, and built up a roster of over 1200 volunteers across Auckland, Hamilton and Wellington. It’s also set to expand into dinners.


The telco rolling out its first major brand ad since both the Spark launch and the switch to Shine and Colenso BBDO. General manager marketing Clive Ormerod told StopPress, Spark is about helping New Zealand to be a better place and it hopes the new campaign will portray that ambition.

The Russian athlete award for biggest whoopsie​

NZTE appointment misjudgment

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise awarded the redesign of its website to Australian agency DT, choosing it over local teams involved in the pitch process. Considering NZTE’s role to help and promote local businesses, the decision came as a surprise. StopPress commenters showed their disapproval, calling the decision a “mega-fail”, “incredible” and “a joke” and asking for NZTE to give its reasons. At the time, StopPress contacted NZTE but it has yet to comment.

Kevin Roberts

In what he later described as a “miscommunication” (in an interview with Sunday) former Saatchi & Saatchi CEO Kevin Roberts landed himself in hot water for saying the debate is over and there is no gender bias in the advertising industry. For the comments, he was called out for being ‘sexist’ and he stepped away from Saatchis.

Farmers Mother’s Day mishap

During what is intended to be a day of celebrations, Farmers left a bad taste in the mouths of many on its shopper database after an email was sent out with the subject line, “Your Mum sent us her wish list”. It was intended to advertise gifts and the store’s 30 percent off sale, but it went awry with customers who are without mothers. Several customers took to Farmer’s Facebook page to voice complaints. Two hours after the first email was sent, it sent out a second to apologise for any offence caused.


It wasn’t a great start to the year for Volkswagen. After coming off the back of an emissions scandal, it had one of its ads complained about and pulled. The video featured Kiwi sailors Peter Burling and Blair Tuke loading a boat onto the back of a car at a boat ramp when one of them slip over. A complainant said the ad “promoted bad and unsafe practices which could have led to serious injury or death”. Volkswagen then released a statement apologizing for any offence and removed the ad. It was the first local campaign for the brand since the scandal broke and was also the first piece of work FCB had done for the company.

Book blunder

Alongside the celebrations at CAANZ, there was scandal as James Hurman’s book ‘The Case for Creativity’ was distributed without the inclusion of any female perspectives. A twitter debate quickly ensued, spilling over into StopPress’ comment section. Advertising consultant and champion of women’s rights Cindy Gallop pointed out the lack of women on Twitter to which Hurman responded with: “You’re right. Should have been women interviewed. I never thought about it until I looked at your tweet and my heart sank.”

The ‘#KimexposedTaylor’ Stoush of the Year Award

Lewis Road Creamery vs Fonterra

Following on from its tussle with Goodman Fielder last year, Lewis Road Creamery this year turned its attention to Fonterra, which also released a premium range of milk products, looking strikingly familiar. Lewis Road founder Peter Cullinane wasn’t having it and responded by publishing a scathing open letter to Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings in The Herald. Suffice to say, Kiwis supported the small guy and expressed their support on social media.    


Kevin Roberts vs Women

Saatchi & Saatchi global chief executive Kevin Roberts provoked ire across the industry this year when he told the Business Insider he felt women in the industry lacked vertical ambition. It didn’t go down well. A number prominent voices laid into was seen as an antiquated opinion, leading to Roberts stepping down from his lofty position.  

Cindy Gallop vs James Hurman

Another battle involving sexism in the industry. This one was focused on James Hurman’s book a ‘Case for Creativity’, which landed on Cindy Gallop’s lap at Cannes, only for her to realise that no women contributed to the final product. Hurman did, however, respond with humility and willingness to work on what he admitted was his unconscious bias. 

Old flag vs new flag

There was a period at the beginning of this year when it seemed as though New Zealand might break out in a civil war between those who wanted the new flag and those who wanted to stick with the banner we already had. But the social media furore and news media excitement eventually frizzled out in the most anti-climactic way as we stuck with the flag we’ve had since 1902. 

The Buck Shelford Ripped Scrotum Award for Bravery

Chloe Swarbrick

Not only was the 22-year-old mayoral candidate in Auckland’s local body election taking on the age and political experience of her fellow candidates, she was doing it with next-to-no funding. When she first announced her candidacy, she spent less than $500 on social media to generate traction and received a few donated posters from Phantom Billstickers, but all reach after that was organic.

Special K

Earlier this year the cereal brand launched a new ‘Own It’ campaign that saw it change its tune on women’s bodies, after previous campaigns focused on weight loss. While a message encouraging women to embrace their bodies, whatever the size, shape or form sounds like a positive campaign to support, FABIK (Fucking Awesome Bulimics I Know) founder Angela Barnett called it out for the move. Kellogg New Zealand’s commercial director Will Brockbank responded by saying, “It’s important the brand moves with the times just as society does and audiences should embrace a campaign that reassures women their body image is fine – rather than dwell on the past”.


The telco got emotive this year with Shine and Colenso BBDO. And while many criticized its ‘Big Tony’ hero video, the campaign kept coming in the form of shorter, bitesize pieces.


Vice Media’s 24-hour television channel on Sky promises to access the younger viewers integral to the future of the pay TV company. But given that millennials have become used to watching what they want, when they want it, will Viceland be enough to lure them back to linear TV?

The ‘build a wall and make them pay for it’ Idea of the Year Award

Amnesty Unblocker

An unlikely collaboration saw Amnesty International and Adblock Plus band together to make a stand against cyber censorship. During a 24-hour period, AdBlock’s 50 million users were served messages from Amnesty International where ads would usually appear. Clicking on the messages led users to further content from people who governments tried to silence including Edward Snowden, Ai Weiwei and Pussy Riot.

Harvesting tears for breast cancer

To raise awareness for breast cancer, Rialto ran a quirky activation that had scientists collect the tears of moviegoers watching sad films. The idea came about after a DDB copywriter read about an American research firm, which has discovered that tears can be used to detect breast cancer with up to 90 percent accuracy.   

2degrees Data Hunt

In the year of Pokemon Go, 2degrees capitalised on the AR trend by launching an app that lets users hunt for data pinned in the real world. The campaign has already attracted over 100,000 data hunters, and what makes this campaign particularly interesting is that non-2degrees customers can also play along (customers on other networks can redeem their data if they switch to 2degrees).

Kiwibank money ticker

Kiwibank launched a major campaign, drawing the nation’s attention to the fact that foreign-owned banks send a significant sum of their profits abroad. And to show just how much money is leaving Kiwi shores, the bank created a money ticker, hosted on The Spinoff, indicating the steady flow of dollars. It’s difficult to argue when the numbers tell such a clear story.

Vodafone’s Mad Mike challenge

Saying something is reliable and proving it are quite different challenges. And in a bid to prove the reliability of its network, Vodafone and FCB called on Red Bull stunt driver Mad Mike Whiddett to participate in a high-octane experiment. Whiddett was seated in a car, with the windows completely blacked out and his only vision of the outside world comes through four tablets fixed to the inside of the windscreen. Further upping the stakes is the fact that the stream fed to the tablet comes from four smartphones attached to the roof of the car. Suffice to say that Vodafone really has faith in its network.  


The ‘melting iceberg’ Move of the Year Award

Nicky Bell leaves Saatchi

After six years at the helm of Saatchi & Saatchi, chief executive Nicky Bell announced her resignation. In that time she had been integral in steering the business out of a difficult patch, which led to media dubbing her ‘The Fixer’. But nothing is permanent in this industry, and by the end of 2015, Saatchi had again entered a more difficult patch, losing the Spark and Tui accounts, and having a Toyota Hilux ad pulled. Bell has since resurfaced at R/GA in the United States, where she leads the Los Angeles office of the agency.      

Independent Liquor heads to Whybin\TBWA

After several years with Barnes Catmur & Friends, Independent Liquor somewhat unexpectedly took its business to TBWA. In a year when pitches have been few and far between, this one came as a welcome gift for the winners but would’ve also irked the folks at Barnes Catmur, given the sheer number of Effies they had helped the client win over the years.       

Tim Murphy and Mark Jennings announce news site

It’s been a tough few years for news media, with shows being canned and stalwarts leaving their jobs. But two of the juggernauts of the industry, Mark Jennings and Tim Murphy, decided they weren’t giving up just yet, and announced plans to launch their own news site. Journalists across the industry rejoiced, and now the wait is on to see what comes of it.

BNZ takes Colenso off retainer

While Colenso remains the lead creative agency on the BNZ account, this move took a sizeable slice out of the agency’s annual revenue. It will be interesting to see how this story evolves in the coming year.  

Media mergers

With Vodafone courting Sky and Fairfax and NZME setting their differences apart, this was undoubtedly the year of the mergers. Nothing is set in stone yet and there are no guarantees that either of these moves will come to fruition, but we may well be looking at a very different media landscape by the middle of 2017. 

Bauer launches two new magazines

At a time when doomsday prophets are proclaiming the death of print, Bauer took the plunge and launched two new print titles: Paperboy and Nadia magazine. It’s still early days, but the titles seem to be tracking well, showing there’s still demand for something that’s curated and well crafted, regardless of the format it’s delivered in. 

The Jeff Jefferson Pitch of the Year


Following Roy Ong’s appointment as chief marketing officer, the telco put its creative account up for pitch in July, which saw incumbent agency Special Group placed in a pool alongside Saatchi & Saatchi and the Dentsu Aegis Network. While most estimates suggest a company only stays with the incumbent five to 10 percent of the time, Special Group proved it had the sticking power and won.


For the last few months, FCB Media has been able to call itself Wespac’s media agency partner after the bank moved from incumbent Starcom. The pitch involved OMD, FCB Media and MEC. Westpac wanted a partner that could combine brilliant strategy with market leading digital analytics and data tools to provide a competitive advantage. 

Independent liquor

Barnes, Catmur & Friends Dentsu parted ways with Independent Liquor’s media and creative accounts after a number of year working together. The media account since moved to OMD, while the creative shifted to Whybin\TBWA.


Tui ended its creative partnership with Saatchi & Saatchi early this year following several well-awarded campaigns coming from the partnership. However, it was time for a new agency to take the reins, and Colenso won project work for the beer brand.

Air New Zealand

Ending 2016 with one of the biggest media pitches of the year is our local airline, which has the choice of OMD, PHD and Carat. Air New Zealand has been with OMD since 2007 and since then, there have intermittently been rumours of the client doing due diligence on the account.

The ‘crying Michael Jordan’ Best Mascot of the Year Award

Richie McCaw for Fonterra

Fonterra was looking to show its Kiwi side and connect with the people, and who better to help the co-op do that than the son every New Zealander wished they had. For the campaign, McCaw has been waking up early and sharing some real talk with farmers in a bid to remind consumers that those working for the organisation are regular people.      

Dave the Goose for Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand made a major push into the Australian market this year, and did so with a little help from a delightfully haughty goose named Dave. The whole campaign was a little weird, but Dave certainly found his way into the viewer’s memory bank.   

‘How to Dad’ guy for Air New Zealand

The ‘How to Dad’ guy, Jordan Watson, had Kiwis in hysterics all year with his unconventional approach to parenting. And it was only a matter of time before brands took notice. Air New Zealand was among those that saw an opportunity and commissioned the likeable bloke to show Kiwis how easy it is to travel with a baby.     

Claude Manheart for Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency (WREDA)

Earlier this year, WREDA unleashed a “minstrel and messenger of love” in a bid to convince travellers to take a trip to the nation’s capital.  Online users could make personalised videos, featuring the smooth poetic ways of Manhart, in a bid to coax loved ones into booking a trip. 

Clever Kash for ASB

On the surface it was just a smart piece of tech, looking to bring the money box into the digital age. But over the last few months, we’ve seen Clever Kash appear across a wide array of the bank’s communication channels. Not only has Clever Kash become a major talking point for ASB, it has also become something of a quirky symbol for the bank. 

Julian Dennison for everyone

Following his appearance in Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Julian Dennison has leant his big personality to a number of brands, most notably Air New Zealand and My Food Bag. He’s a natural in front of the camera, has razor sharp wit well ahead of years and we can expect to see a lot more of him in the future.  

Nadia Lim for Nadia Magazine

Like Dennison, Nadia Lim is no stranger to acting as a brand ambassador, with her face already leant to My Food Bag. However, not many ambassadors can say that they have a magazine based on their lives.

The Man Bun Award for Naff Trend of the Year 

Unboxing videos

As exciting as it is to get a parcel or present, unboxing it is one of those ‘you had to be there’ moments, as we are yet to find one of these videos that gives us the tingly, excited feeling of a new thing from the other side of a screen.

Branded selfies

There are two types of people in the world: those who run from big branded frames at sponsored events and those who run toward them, desperate to get a picture. To the latter, please stop filling our social feeds with your endorsed selfies. To brands, please to asking people to take a #selfie, its originality has been and gone.

Mannequin challenge

Okay, we get it: People can stand still. So far the viral video trend has resulted in YouTube delivering 3,970,000 results when ‘mannequin challenge’ is searched. There’s even an official ‘Mannequin Challenge Song’.


At first the movement back to handmade was a nice change from today’s mass-produced world, but with that has come a flurry of hipster-driven, paper wrapped products, dubbed ‘artisan’ or ‘artisinal’. A lot of products these days are being made in a traditional or non-mechanised way, but we find it hard to see how ice, pickles and firewood can be ‘artisanal’.

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