Movings/Shakings: 22 May

Mark Richardson and Shannon Ryan get themselves on The Block, Haystac reaches double figures, ACP’s Kia Ora is voted world’s third best inflight mag, Frucor quenches its thirst with Gatorade, The Sweet Shop adds Wellingtonian animation director done good to its stable, and TVNZ teams up with Xpo for the upcoming MyBiz expo.

Block layers

Cricketer turned broadcaster Mark Richardson is to host the first local version of The Block, which is set to screen on TV3 sometime this winter (the launch date is still confidential). And he will be joined by Shannon Ryan, best-known as host on Four Live, who will be the challenge presenter.

MediaWorks TV head of factual production Sue Woodfield says they looked extensively to find the right host and it was clear from his first audition that Richardson “ticked all the boxes”.

“He’s a real Kiwi bloke, is genuinely warm and good with people, and has great presenter skills,” she says. “Having renovated a house of his own in Dunedin, he’s pretty handy at DIY too. We are very happy to have him onboard for such a great TV3 project. And Shannon is one of the network’s bright young stars and did an amazing job presenting the first ever live final of New Zealand’s Next Top Model last year.”

Richardson will continue as a co-host of The Crowd Goes Wild on Sky and as a commentator during the cricket season, but he says it is a great opportunity for him to do something outside of sport.

“It will be incredibly interesting to work on a big budget primetime show, with some of the best in the business … Dealing with contestants who have ‘lost it’ could be a challenge. I am a bit conflict averse.”

Ryan’s experience in DIY consists of building huts, forts and a pen for her calf when she was a kid, so she says witnessing how they progress and deal with what is ahead will be a huge highlight, but saying no to the others during challenges will be the hard part.

The Block NZ sees four couples from throughout New Zealand compete to renovate four dilapidated houses in one of Auckland’s most desirable suburbs (we’re picking Glen Innes) and sell them at auction for the highest price. All four couples will receive profits from the sale of their house at the live TV auction and the winners will take home an additional cash prize of $80,000.

The New Zealand series is produced by Eyeworks Television for TV3 and foundation partners are Bunnings Warehouse, Kiwibank, Mazda and Wild Bean Cafe.

Double figures

The Haystac New Zealand office was formed just under three years ago with the appointment of Fleur Postill as general manager. And after recently moving in to swanky new Parnell offices with sister Aegis agencies Carat, MPG, Catch!, Synergy and Apollo, the agency has made a couple of new hires and cracked double figures.

Anna Skerten has been appointed as a new account director, following a role in-house at Telecom as a senior media and communications consultant and more than nine years in PR, including senior roles at Weber Shandwick in Sydney and Ketchum in London. She will lead new client Panasonic and the SEEK account, continuing a campaign that was crowned New Zealand’s ‘best sustained PR’ at the PRINZ awards last week.

Senior account executive Hannah Laird has also joined from communications agency Platform 29 where she worked on consumer technology and travel accounts. Her background encompasses strong marketing and media experience, including a stint as a feature writer for magazines.

Flying off the shelves

Air New Zealand is accustomed to winning awards. And it’s received another accolade after its inflight magazine Kia Ora, which is published by ACP, was chosen as the third best inflight magazine in the world by CNN Go. 

Here’s what it said about our national carrier’s airborne publication:

Basics: Fun, energetic, colorful with an element of cheek.

Perfect reader: The kind of passenger a lesser in-flight would be tempted to describe as a “culture vulture.”

Words: The story selection is essentially an up-market lifestyle catalog. Nothing meaty, but cheerful and breezy.

Look: Too many stale stock photos. The more original shots, however, can be witty and striking.

Gold star: KiaOra hits its stride in its deep sections about fashion, culture, design and food.

Black mark: The magazine’s design doesn’t live up to its own go-go aspirations. Stuck between generations, it’s sometimes cool, sometimes clunky.

Final verdict: Like NZ itself, KiaOra is small, but fun and, often as not, very impressive.

Frucor nets a Gator

Frucor has taken over distribution and marketing rights for the Gatorade brand in New Zealand, which was introduced to the local market by PepsiCo-owned Bluebird Foods in October 2011 with the launch of Gatorade Perform drinks and powder.

“Gatorade is an iconic global brand, and we are very excited about the opportunity to grow it in our part of the world,” says Mark Callaghan, chief executive of Frucor New Zealand. “Frucor has well-established networks and a proven understanding of the impulse beverage channel, which is an important area of future growth for Gatorade. Our people bring first-class expertise in beverage marketing and distribution, and as a business we have a strong reputation and long-term commitment to the beverage market in New Zealand.”

Gerard Smith, managing director of Bluebird Foods, says Gatorade has quickly established its position as a strong local player and proven it has a clear role in the New Zealand sports drink market.

Frucor currently manufactures, sells and distributes a range of PepsiCo brands and “a strong relationship has already built between the two companies”, as evidenced by the recent joint promotion ‘Cool the Burn’, which featured Frucor-marketed and distributed Pepsi Max ‘Ceasefire’ Lime and Bluebird’s Doritos ‘Burn’ corn chips.

On the Circuitt

The Sweet Shop has added award-winning animation director Pete Circuitt to its global roster.

Youtube VideoHe brings with him an impressive reel of work including the ground-breaking, ‘Yes, Virginia’, a CGI animated Christmas special for Macy’s and JWT New York. The film reached more than 3.7 million television viewers and garnered critical acclaim around the world, collecting Gold and Silver Pencils and a Silver and Bronze Lion. His work ‘Monster’ for Microsoft Zune, which he wrote, directed and animated in its entirety, won an AICP award for animation.

Circuitt, a Wellington lad who graduated with honours from the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, has worked with numerous global brands such as Carlsberg, Nestle and Budweiser, as well as critically-acclaimed musicians such as Laura Marling. And he has also just completed a new spot for the 2012 Australian Year of Reading.

Youtube Video

“Joining The Sweet Shop is an exciting prospect simply because of the calibre of work produced and the quality of the directors involved,” he says. “Meeting everyone that works in the company has raised my optimism even further. I am hugely excited about the type of work we can craft together.”

“Animation is a such a wonderful medium for telling stories, says George Mackenzie, The Sweet Shop’s managing director for Asia Pacific/MENA. “Pete’s directing skills open up a whole new realm of possibilities for our clients. He and his studio is a welcome addition to the office.”

Putting on the Biz 

TVNZ and XPO Exhibitions have partnered in a major new national business event aimed at small and medium enterprises called MyBiz Expo, which will take place in October in Auckland and is designed to give the country’s SMEs a platform to compare their current business service suppliers and learn about new tools for success.

“The TVNZ media partnership demonstrates a strong level of confidence in the format of the MyBiz Expo event,” says XPO exhibitions director Brent Spillane. “It gives TVNZ a chance to reach thousands of Kiwi SMEs face-to-face over three days and educate them on the success stories of SMEs using TV to market their products.”

Tony Waite, general manager of media sales at TVNZ, says television is a powerful advertising medium that needn’t be cost prohibitive.

“Through MyBiz Expo we will showcase at the event the power of TV, the benefits in advertising with TVNZ and good reasons to consider TV for their business,” he says.

Many other business service segments will be exhibiting, including but not limited to power companies, telcos, banks, insurers, e-commerce providers, I, freight and print industry companies, all looking to reach the thousands of SME owners and managers comparing suppliers or looking at additional products/services.

“We know that the country’s 500,000-plus business owners don’t have the time or resources to research whether their existing providers are ‘best in market’ for price and service,” says Spillane. “To help them out, this New Zealand-first initiative was launched. More than 120,000 business operators have attended our many business sector events and we’ll be making sure that they all know about MyBiz Expo and how they can register for free entry. TVNZ will help us gain even wider national SME awareness of the event.”

Ford New Zealand, which is also partnering and exhibiting at MyBiz, has offered up a brand-new Ford Falcon and TVNZ will be giving it away to one lucky visitor live on air.

MyBiz Expo runs from 14-16 October 2012 at Auckland’s ASB Showgrounds in Greenlane. Entry is free to registered business owners, managers and representatives.

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