Carat gets on the property ladder with Barfoot & Thompson, but Dick Smith disappears—UPDATED

Following a competitive pitch involving two other agencies, Carat has been awarded the media planning and buying business for Barfoot & Thompson. But that silver lining comes with a fairly big cloud, because Dick Smith has left the Carat building. 

Barfoot & Thompson, a family owned and run business and the biggest real estate company in Auckland (it sells one in three Auckland homes every day), had been doing most of its media buying and planning in-house and dealt direct with the media owners. Dentsu Aegis agency iProspect was in charge of search and performance and digital media planing and placement. And Rob Harvey, chief executive of Dentsu Aegis Network New Zealand, says Barfoot & Thompson did a great job on its own. But he says it was looking for a bit more rigour and audience analysis and Carat’s proprietary research tool CCS, which surveys 3000 people on their media behaviour, was appealling. 

“They’re growing and they thought it was time to evolve their model and add a bit some expertise,” he says. 

Jennifer Lucie-Smith, Barfoot & Thompson’s marketing manager, says Carat impressed it with the strong response to the brief, the level of brand and audience understanding it was able to provide. 

According to Nielsen AIS figures, which are based on ratecard spend, Barfoot & Thompson spent $4.1 million in 2013. The creative remains with Big.  

As for Dick Smith, which Carat has had in New Zealand for less than a year, Harvey wouldn’t comment on that. But according to AdNews, Carat in Australia was informed that it had lost the account last week, so it seems like one of those occasions where being part of a global network has its drawbacks. 

Dick Smith recently closed its head office in New Zealand, with Stuff reporting that most staff at the distribution centre lost their jobs, as well as those in sales and marketing.

It’s thought it the marketing team in Australia will now take care of this market (at least for a while, because if history is any guide, it will probably figure out that it was a bad idea to leave and come back eventually).  

According to Nielsen AIS figures, Dick Smith, which sponsored the recent NRL Nines and embraced content marketing, spent $16,162,903 in New Zealand between January 2012 and December 2012. 


In a statement from Dick Smith’s PR agency, it said “Dick Smith is currently reviewing options regarding its media agency, looking after NZ and Australia. Following a recent review of the business, Dick Smith Electronics in New Zealand has made structural changes to its support office division. The changes have been designed to ensure Dick Smith has the most sustainable and successful operations model to support the future direction of the business. Dick Smith is fully committed to the continual growth and success of the New Zealand business.”  

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