One of the great ironies of the advertising industry is the fact that advertising agencies, despite dispensing plenty of advice to their clients about the need to continue spending up large (especially during a recession), rarely advertise themselves. But DraftFCB has been the exception to that rule in New Zealand in recent years and it caught our attention with a campaign that showed off some of its remarkable powers of persuasion in Air New Zealand’s Koru lounges.
Back in 2009, we talked with then managing director Justin Mowday about the agency’s unusual decision to sponsor Mad Men, which it continued for a couple of seasons. Last year it ramped up the activity with a DM campaign and a range of TVCs that used its clients’ ads, including those of Pak ‘n’ Save and Greggs, as case studies.
Paul Irwin, DraftFCB’s managing director in Wellington, arrived after the self-promotional campaign had kicked off, but he was the brains behind the soundless campaign that ran on the Koru lounge screens in New Zealand and Australia.
He’s always been amazed at how little marketing agencies do, and while he admits business is often won through existing networks and word of mouth, he says they’re often hesitant about coming out and putting a stake in the ground.
In the past he says many focused on trumpeting ‘creativity’, which is now a very difficult space to claim, or integration, which is too woolly and technical. But DraftFCB found a niche and decided to try and claim change. And judging by its recent successes, Irwin’s not exaggerating when he says the B2B campaign has “worked beautifully” for ‘The Change Agency’.
He says it’s basic marketing: taking a position and reinforcing they key messages. He can’t say whether the most recent work had any effect on the decisions of Air New Zealand or Vodafone to choose DraftFCB, but he has certainly received plenty of positive anecdotal feedback from existing clients about it. It’s also some good positive reinforcement for staff members. And he says he’s heard plenty of rather satisfying stories about competing agency and media folk waiting for their flights with the country’s business high-rollers and cursing the DraftFCB name for thinking of doing it before they did.