Nominees: John Campbell (RNZ), Jesse Mulligan (The Project, RNZ), Samantha Hayes (Newshub), Jack Tame (Breakfast, Newstalk ZB)
From Squirt to The Project, Kanoa Lloyd has become a familiar name to audiences across the country and she hasn’t been afraid to have her voice heard in the process. She’s been criticised and praised for standing up for what she believes in, like her Maori heritage, and now she fills us in on that journey.
When and where did your TV career start?
In 2004, when I was at Queens High School in Dunedin and I got a role on a kids show called Squirt. It was famous for its cartoon penguin, Spike, and I remember Dom Bowden hosted it once. Matt Gibb took over from him and he would borrow the boss’s flash car to pick me up from my all girls’ high school each week. So exciting!
Did you ever picture that one day you’d be hosting a current affairs programme?
Not in my wildest dreams! I’ve always watched current affairs and often found myself in awe of the incredible people in the industry and the creative ways that they spoke about important issues.
The landscape has changed a bit and I feel really lucky that my experience fits into this new, energetic, entertaining model.
You’ve been a host of kids show Sticky TV, a host on Mai FM and a weather presenter. How have those diverse roles prepared you for The Project?
You learn that everyone deserves to be informed, listened to and taken seriously. News and current affairs isn’t just for the middle class in Auckland. No matter where you are in the country, how old you are or what you care about: it’s meaningful. Oh yeah, and it’s okay to have a laugh along the way!
Which has been your favourite role and why?
That’s like trying to choose a favourite child (I think? I don’t have kids). I wouldn’t trade any of those experiences for anything because I wouldn’t be doing this job without all of them.
What do you think makes a good news anchor?
My favourite news anchors are honest, kind and they’re team players. No one does this job without a huge group of smart people helping them every step of the way.
How do you balance being both funny and informative when presenting topics on The Project?
I always try to remember that we’re talking to real live people… I’ve yet to come across a person who is 100 percent serious or 100 percent silly. There’s no magic formula and we’re always working on getting the balance just right.
We’ve seen you involved in a number of conversations about the use of Te Reo, most recently with David Seymour. Do you see your position as one that could help you promote issues you believe in or your culture?
Personally, I would love to see the number of Māori women working in media increase, but I also think it’s important to identify that my experience of being a Māori woman is not the same as anyone else’s. I feel really lucky to be in a privileged place where I am given a loudspeaker to shout about things which I think are important. It’s not my intention to abuse that. I’m just trying to talk about things I think people care about.
You faced a lot of backlash on social media for your use of Te Reo when presenting the news, has that given you any concern about standing up for what you believe in?
There’s a difference between criticism and backlash. I think criticism is valid, even if it can be tricky to stomach. But I will always call out backlash when it isn’t backed by fact. That sort of thing doesn’t hold me back from telling a story or speaking out about things I believe are important.
How do you feel being the only woman on The Project alongside Jesse Mulligan and Josh Thomson?
Jesse and Josh are two of the most thoughtful, supportive, hard-working guys I have ever met – it’s fair to say we give each other plenty of stick. They’re encouraging and respectful and never make me feel like I’m playing an old fashioned sidekick, I really appreciate this about them both and I love working with them.
So now that you beat Jesse in the NZ Marketing’s definitive Hottest News Anchor category, will you be asking him to give you centre seat on the show?
Not a chance! But thank you guys, I really appreciate the honour.
People’s Choice Award
Nominees: Curious, Ruckus, Fish, The Sweet Shop, The Down Low Concept
We may be a small nation at the bottom of the world, but our production companies aren’t letting that define them. For Augusto, that’s visible in its recent expansion with its New York office, its Everest Rescue series on the Discovery Network and a win of work for Adidas Rugby out of Germany. We caught up with general manager Oliver Sealy to get an insight on how Augusto works.
How did you guys move into the documentary space?
Augusto is full of documentary makers. Many of our shooters, producers and editors have backgrounds in factual television and docos, and I don’t think we’ve ever not had some kind documentary-type idea on the development slate. It’s actually very complementary to a lot of the work we do with brands, which often involves working with real people such as athletes, CEOs or their customers. We’re experts at dragging stories out of people and finding the hidden angle.
How challenging is it to balance your advertising work with the documentary projects you’re working on?
It’s not that hard. Augusto was started nine years ago with the aim of using branded content production to fund long-form entertainment development. We now run a full-time entertainment division developing docos and comedies. There’s even a musical being worked on at the moment. The variety helps us attract great talent and keep them in full-time work.
How long does it take to produce and shoot a project like Chasing Great? What are some of the challenges you face that you wouldn’t necessarily have with an ad?
Chasing Great was about a year and a half of solid production, but every job we do is different in size and scale. We can turn around a hype reel for NZ Rugby in 48 hours, while a web series for Mitre 10 can take a year to complete. One difference is that entertainment work takes much longer than branded content. It took us half a year to finance Chasing Great, and Everest Rescue was shopped around for several years before it found a home with Discovery. That’s one of the things we love about client funded work. No messing about.
Where do ideas for these projects come from?
Mostly from weird conversations next to the coffee machine with Leon (Augusto co-founder).
What does your team find most rewarding? The bigger projects or the ads?
I think the team find the branded work for clients most rewarding. It requires more collaboration and is usually more innovative. We make very few ‘ads’ in the traditional sense of the word, and more often find ourselves producing for new channels and technologies. That work is just as exciting as a film or TV concept.
How important is it for modern production companies to diversify what they do?
For us, it has been vital. Being a production company is just one component of the wider Augusto business. There aren’t many production companies with creatives, designers, strategists and technologists at their disposal. And having our own client service team has allowed us to develop direct-to- client relationships, which in turn allows us to retain talent and a sense of team.
What will the production company of the future look like?
Everyone at Augusto works really hard to foster a culture of innovation which keeps us at the top of the curve. We don’t really like the idea of a ‘comfort zone’. In the last quarter we delivered over a thousand still images for retail, six one-hour comedy scripts for a US broadcaster, a jingle sung by Wayne Anderson, a branded web series starring George Clark, and we made the opening titles for the America’s Cup global broadcast. Whatever the production company of the future ends up looking like, our aim is to be three steps ahead of them.
People’s Choice Award
Nominees: Allbirds, Hell Pizza, Karma Cola, Air New Zealand, Garage Project
Having recently branched out into the USA, BurgerFuel is continuing its mission to take over the world one burger at a time. Aiding the company’s growth and expansion is its strong social presence by its in-house marketing team. We ask global communications manager Kate McGahan to give us the lowdown on what makes them tick.
What’s the secret behind a strong social presence? How do you use the channel effectively to reach your audience?
For us, having a strong social presence is about being authentic, creating great, genuine content that people enjoy viewing and making sure we’re total ninjas when it comes to targeting and re-marketing. Accessibility is key too – social is a great place to talk with our customers, so being there to respond quickly and personally when someone reaches out is non-negotiable for us.
As a brand that offers a lot of different food options for a lot of different lifestyles, targeting is not a luxury; it’s essential. We work hard to ensure that our audience only sees content that is relevant to them – and that the content is always delicious!
What are some of the channels and methods you use to create a strong social presence?
Gourmet burgers are at the centre of everything we do, so #burgerporn leads our strategy, but the BurgerFuel experience extends far beyond this. We run an arts programme called ‘Creative, Sweet’ with in-house BurgerFuel artists who paint custom murals in our stores and communities, run our very own global radio station (Radio BurgerFuel) and are heavily involved in the car scene.
Social media allows us to connect the loop with how we’re activating these cultural pillars in our stores, on the streets and at events. Through video content on YouTube, live stories on Instagram and Facebook, and awesome images posted on both channels in real time, we can invite everyone into the unique BurgerFuel experience.
How does BurgerFuel’s in-house marketing work?
We run our marketing department like an in-house agency. Almost everything you see comes from inside the walls of BurgerFuel HQ. The burger pictures we post on Facebook and Instagram are un- retouched and taken by members of our team or customers in our stores. Our staff also star in our videos and copywriting is a crowd- sourced gig within the marketing department.
You guys seem to spend quite a lot on crafting your social campaigns. Do you think brands sometimes go too cheap when developing stuff for social?
You don’t need to spend huge money on content creation, but you do need to be creative, nimble and authentic. Look at Instagram stories, for example. It doesn’t cost a thing to create or post, but at the tap of a button we’re instantly able to invite people inside the world of BurgerFuel from NZ to the USA, to Dubai, Australia and beyond.
Having fun and not talking ourselves too seriously is a BurgerFuel essential for producing great, high-quality work – how can we expect a customer to enjoy viewing our content if we didn’t have fun making it?
People’s Choice Award