.99 starts spreading Fairfax’s news—UPDATED

.99’s win of the Tower business was a much-needed fillip for the embattled agency. And the good news has continued after it was handed the reins for a range of through-the-line communications for Fairfax Media’s Sunday Star Times newspaper after winning a pitch against Y&R Auckland and Christchurch agency Simpatico. 

Incumbent agency Shine did not pitch, adding to its ‘DNP’ for the Freeview account (Ogilvy created the nice Origami campaign for SST in mid-2011). 


  • Y&R has Fairfax network account
  • Shine worked with Fairfax through launch of Auckland Now, Rugby Heaven with Stuff, and strategic work. Shine still has Stuff as an account. 
  • The Press in Christchurch is with Simpatico. 


“We worked on the agency selection process with a team of senior marketing executives from across Fairfax,” says Fairfax Sundays marketing and circulation director Clare O’Higgins. “We needed a flexible, pragmatic agency partner that could respond quickly and effectively to new challenges, whatever the communications channel. We chose .99 because they really proved to us that they could deliver what they promised. We also wanted to work with people who shared our love of the fastpaced newspaper world. With .99, we’ve found a smart, down-to-earth team with a reputation for getting great work to market, fast.”

“We’re very excited at the opportunity to work with the Sunday Star Times on making their newspaper an essential part of more people’s Sundays,” says .99 ECD/CEO Craig Whitehead. “The pitch was a great process to be a part of, and we’re pleased that the effort we put into understanding their business has been rewarded. It’s also another bit of great news for .99. Getting out there and hunting for new business has been an awesome opportunity to get ourselves in front of new people, share the .99 story, and let them see we offer something quite different to the traditional agency model.”

The newspaper business is very tough at present, and Fairfax’s parent company in Australia, like many other ‘traditional’ publishers, is currently at a cross-roads as it tries to adapt to a world gone digital, so it’ll certainly be a difficult task for .99.Although, as many have pointed out, Fairfax New Zealand has already made plenty of changes in the quest for efficiency (as an example of the difference between the two markets, before the recent job cuts were announced in Australia, the Melbourne Age, despite being about the same size as the Dom Post, was thought to have had more than three times the number of employees), so it appears to be insulated from some of the ructions. 

Still, it’s not all beer and skittles over here. According to the ABC, The Sunday Star Times’ average net circulation has gone down from 160,592 at the end of 2010 to 143,189 in March this year. 

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