It’s no secret that Colenso BBDO/Proximity had a fantastic 2013. The agency on College Hill won eight out nine pitches and picked up enough local and international awards to fill at least a few shelves. And given that it has now been listed as the runner-up on Ad Age’s prestigious ‘International Agency of the Year’ list, it seems that 2014 will start in the same way that last year ended: with more awards and a consequent barrage of dismissive comments on StopPress.
Ad Age is regarded as the premier advertising industry publication in the US, and being included on the annual rundown of the year’s best agencies is an enviable position to be in. Not only does this inclusion equate to recognition from a respected publication, it also gives agencies international exposure to brands (and potential clients) that lie beyond national boundaries.
According to an article published on the Ad Age website, Colenso shared the runner-up position with London-based We are Social and placed behind Brazilian agency Africa.
In addition to commending Colenso’s growth from 80 to 130 employees, the article was also complimentary of the agency’s work on BNZ’s ‘Be Good with Money’ campaign.
“The campaign boosted the bank’s image, brought new customers, and inspired one out of four people in New Zealand to do something about their money.”
“It’s a huge honour,” says Colenso’s managing director Nick Garret. “I know it sounds like a cliché, but international recognition like this really opens the doors for New Zealand’s agencies to work with international clients. It’s good for the industry as a whole.”
In spite of Garrett’s belief that Colenso’s achievements are good for all agencies in New Zealand, comments posted on articles about the agency’s successes often seem to indicate that the sentiment isn’t shared across the board.
While Garrett admits that many barbs are aimed Colenso’s way, he argues that this may have more to do with the history of the agency than its current structure.
“In the past, there was a time when Colenso as an agency wasn’t as focused on the commercial element of the business,” he concedes. “But this has changed, and these days we work bloody hard for our clients. Our work is good, and our best work is for our big clients. Everything we do today is in our clients’ interests.”