.99’s ‘Dear Listener’ named ad of the month. But does the competition promote the medium?

The newspapers were the real winners of the May edition of the Newspaper Advertising Bureau’s (NAB) Ad of the Month competition after Air New Zealand’s chief executive Rob Fyfe, with the help of its agency .99, decided to take his grievances with the Listener public by producing a video and running a few full page print ads. And it just kept getting better for the papers when the Listener decided to follow suit, continuing the stoush with a few full-pagers of its own.

In the end, guest judge Josh Lancaster from Josh & Jamie chose .99’s ‘Dear Listener’ print ad as the May winner, with the Listener’s cheeky wee retaliatory number named as the losing finalist (given the most recent ASA advertising spend figures, the NAB might be hoping that more Kiwi chief executives start taking out print ads whenever they receive any negative media coverage).


“The work that stood out in a sea of ordinary stuff would have to be the recent dialogue between Air New Zealand and the Listener. On one side Air New Zealand and boss man Rob Fyfe respond publicly to a pretty damning Listener editorial about a proposed trans-Tasman buddy-up with Virgin Blue. On the other side is the Listener’s quick and clever rebuttal to Air New Zealand’s suggestion that they don’t listen. The result was an entertaining exchange between two advertisers within mainstream media that broke away from the realm of traditional press wallpaper and drew people in. This is what newspaper advertising should be about: powerful, topical and fast-moving answers that start people talking.”

This was the last month in the 2009/2010 Ad of the Month rotation and chief executive of the NAB, Robert Munro, says the quality of the entrants was pretty good this time round (at least as good as previous years, anyway), with similar numbers of entries received.

“It’s going from strength to strength and it’s becoming quite a well regarded creative competition. And it’s still the biggest cash prize in Australasia. There are plenty of prestigious awards around, but they don’t have the money to back it up [the prize is funded by the Newspaper Publisher’s Association and its shareholders and the money goes straight to the creative team, not the agency].”

Colenso leads the charge this year with three finalists (you can check out all the contenders here), but Munro expects the call for entries sweep in mid June to flush a few more finalists out of the woodwork. So, if you think your ad is still deserving of a place in the final, there’s a couple of weeks to email it in here and get it in front of the ad of the year judges.

Even though Munro is happy with the quality of the entrants, some have wondered aloud to StopPress about whether the awards are doing as intended and actually promoting the newspaper medium, as many of the finalists are outdoor posters that have also featured in print, like last year’s winner, the DDB NZ ‘Find your Voice’ campaign for Throaties.

He says it’s the creative community themselves who judge the awards, and he leaves it to the judges to decide on the definition of a good newspaper ad. And, provided it has run in a New Zealand newspaper, it’s eligible, even if it’s not from a New Zealand agency (there are two Aussie efforts in the finals).

“If it works well in print and it can transfer across to other media, then that’s great.”

In keeping with previous years, the NAB has roped in an international advertising juggernaut to be chairman of judges and this time round Chuck Porter, co-chairman of Crispin Porter + Bogusky USA , will be in the hotseat.

He’ll also be hoping to inspire more entries into the newly established Client of the Year award.

Credits for the winning ad are:

Agency: 99

Client: Air New Zealand

Brand/product: Dear Listener

Client contact: Rob Fyfe, Mike Tod, Mark Street, Jules Lloyd, Tom Bates

Executive creative director: Craig Whitehead

Creative director: Craig Pethybridge

Account director: Matt Dickinson

Account manager: Kate Gilmour

Media strategist: Jarrod Hunt

Writers: Jon Coles, Craig Pethybridge

Art director: Dom Antelme

Designer: Jon Tricklebank

Agency producers: Hannah Alderson, Ross McWhirter

To view all the Finalists in the current Newspaper Ad of the Year series visit the NAB website  www.nabs.co.nz/Inspiration/AdofMonth.

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