“When you look at what was done five years ago, compared to what we’re doing now, it’s really quite amazing,” agrees Davies.
But Childerhouse is also quick to point out that the aim isn’t to offend people.
“We’ve been very mindful with Public Trust not to be deliberately disrespectful or confrontational,” Childerhouse says. “We just want ads that are thought provoking. It’s about talking to a segment of the audience that doesn’t have wills and giving them a reason to get one.”
And Mossaidis says that the new creative campaign has resulted in a significant lift in sales. And while she stopped short of quoting any exact figures, she suggested that the campaign would be entered into the next edition of the Effies, an awards ceremony focused entirely on commercial results.
With the new campaign, Public Trust will again be breaking new ground because this will be the company’s first foray into the treacherous social media space.
“We’ve shied away from social media to a large degree, because the nature of our business is quite negative,” Davies says. “We’re dealing with people at a really emotional and fragile time. So this will be our first big move into this space.”
He says that campaign is ideal for entering the social media space because it focuses on the more positive side of the business.
Account director Lewis, who put many long nights into writing the award entry, agrees with Davies on this point: “We’re not going out with a story that’s offensive. We’re going out with a campaign that’s about stories.”
And she says that this will hopefully encourage Kiwis—especially those in the younger demographic groups—to start talking about important subjects that are traditionally considered taboo.
“There’s a fairly big social norm that we’re trying to break down in terms of the stoic Kiwi culture. We don’t talk about death, depression or drinking problems. It’s about cracking that nut and getting to the core of what is an emotional connection with someone.”
Davies admits that challenging these perceptions might lead to complaints from some members of the community, but he doesn’t necessarily see this as a bad thing.
“Complaints are a good thing, because it means people are sitting up and paying attention to what we’re doing,” he says.
And this is certainly true of a brand that was previously getting very little cut-through with pictures of familial picnic scenes.
Not just a gong
While there’s no shortage of advertising competitions in the industry, Joyce says that this win means much more than just another gong on the mantelpiece.
“This one comes alive for us and the client,” she says.
Other competitions award creative ideas that already exist, but this competition allows them to come to fruition for the client—and in doing so showcases how creativity (and the right budget of course) can help to lift a brand’s reach and effectiveness.
“I hope [the NZME Advertising Challenge] continues for many years,” says Joyce.
Asked whether it would return next year, King says that it definitely will and that she expects it to be even bigger.
And Mossaidis says Ogilvy’s Wellington branch will certainly consider putting forward new ideas by the time the NZME calls for entries next year.
- Disclosure of interest: NZME covered Damien Venuto's flights to Wellington.