2degrees chooses DDB to tell its brand story

2degrees chief marketing officer Roy Ong has confirmed the appointment of DDB as the telco’s new brand agency.  

The agency takes the place of Special Group, which lost the business in July despite winning a pitch only seven months earlier.

2degrees has been working with Young & Shand on the digital side over the last nine months and Ong says this relationship will continue in spite of DDB’s appointment.

“Young & Shand is fit for purpose when it comes to digital execution, and we will continue to work with the team. However, I want to get all our agency partners into a room in early October to make the dynamic work better.”

Ong says there was no pitch involved this time and that he chose instead to meet with agencies he saw as potential partners. He says there was one other agency it was particularly interested in working with.   

The 2degrees marketing boss wouldn’t be drawn into disclosing who the other agency was, but an industry source revealed it to be With Collective, the Dentsu Aegis-owned shop that recently won ASB’s digital and data business.

Ong says the quality of DDB’s work in over last decade played a major role in pushing him toward the agency.

“DDB has got strategic horsepower combined with really good creative muscle,” Ong says. “It is a big shop and we really want to utilise it as much as possible. We need someone who can manage the current complexity, but also the growth aspiration we have in coming years.”

In addition to seeing value in DDB’s full suite of services, Ong says he was also drawn to the agency because of its ability to tell strong stories that deliver brand growth.

“One of the main things we took into consideration was about which agency could tell the most compelling stories with an emotional hook,” Ong explains.  

He says that Lotto’s ‘Imagine’ platform and the recent launch of Steinlager’s Tokyo Dry product were two creative examples his team kept referring back to when making the decision.

“The Imagine platform for NZ Lottery is probably one of the most powerful brand platforms I’ve seen in the market, and the Steinlager work has just delivered so much talkability in the beer category. Those examples are exactly what we want for the 2degrees brand from an agency partner.”

Ong says one of the main responsibilities for DDB will be to reconnect the 2degrees brand with New Zealanders.

“There’s nothing we want more than to bring the 2degrees aura back into New Zealanders’ lives. 2degrees used to be the talk of the town because of how it stood out emotionally. The brand stood for something. And as we move into the second phase of the brand growth, we want to give DDB the opportunity to reinvigorate the brand.”

It’s a challenge that DDB chief executive Justin Mowday looks forward to taking on as his team takes charge of the account.

“I think almost everyone in New Zealand, but especially the advertising and marketing community, thinks incredibly fondly of the 2degrees brand, so what an amazing opportunity to help return it to being one of the most loved kiwi brands again,” Mowday says.

“Roy and the team at 2degrees believe in the power of emotional brand building and have seen first-hand the results this has on metrics like sales, share and profit. Creating fame and a distinct feeling for a brand is no longer ‘soft’ marketing, it’s proven to deliver hard business results, so, naturally, we’re looking forward to jumping in and kick-starting a new phase of growth for the business.”

With the arrival of 2degrees, there is, however, a potential of conflict of interest at the DDB Group given that DDB-owned Track currently works with Vocus Group (which includes broadband providers Slingshot, Switch and Flip).

Mowday said he did not feel comfortable commenting on the Vocus business because it was a Track client.

Track managing director Rob Limb similarly said he could not comment at this stage on account of the team still being in talks with the client.

The appointment of DDB to the 2degrees account is effective immediately.

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