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DraftFCB snatches agency of the year shelf wobbler

After a stellar 2009 – so good, in fact, that it’s currently on a pitch ban – DraftFCB has taken the 2010 Fairfax AdMedia Agency of the Year award.

“DraftFCB’s business performance was outstanding,” the judges (recruiter Cindy Mitchener, former Colenso BBDO chairman Roger Macdonnell and writer/publisher Reg Birchfield) said. “This was a complete performance.”

The award recognises exceptional performance across a range of criteria including business performance, awarded work, staff management/development and vision and innovation.

DraftFCB says it beat out the other agencies by adopting the type of advice agencies regularly dish out to clients, but rarely apply to themselves: a clear brand positioning, marketing plan and advertising programme has seen DraftFCB set the standard in the advertising industry, leading both clients and agencies by example.

DraftFCB ran its own integrated campaign involving direct marketing, PR coverage, press, online and TV advertising, built around a positioning as ‘The Change Agency’ – the experts in changing consumers’ behaviour. It also instigated an innovative social campaign in the heart of the recession offering 1,000 hours of free advertising services to help create or retain jobs, resulting in a new campaign for Bartercard.

DraftFCB managing director Justin Mowday says businesses that increase their marketing efforts during a recession are proven to gain market share that is retained as the market conditions improve.

“Rather than just talk the talk we wanted to lead from the front. It certainly feels more credible recommending marketing and advertising strategies to our clients when we’re out there actually doing it ourselves.”

Special group nearly stole the show, with a strong finalist entry in the ‘big’ category and another in the Indie category, the first time an agency has been in the running for both awards.

“Special won [the best Indie]for its all-round performance, articulation of plans for the future, detail on people management, and new business,” the judges said.

In the Media category, the 2008 winner, OMD, had another good year and was ahead on financials and vision. It also presented one of the best-written applications across all categories.

Rapp was awarded the Direct & Interactive crown after growing profit sharply. It was also ahead on staff management and was No 10 in the global Gunn Report. Rapp’s success in winning new business and creative awards was the deciding factor.

RAPP executive creative director Wayne Pick says the award belongs to the entire team.

“It’s been a bloody hard year, and this is a lovely reward for everyone’s sustained passion. It’s also an accolade we share with our clients. We’ve enjoyed working in partnership with them and really value the opportunities they’ve given us.”

Bryan Crawford was best chief executive and the judges said his leadership skills were evident across the board.

ASA founding executive director (and current Director of the Foundation for Advertising Research) Glen Wiggs MNZM was present to pick up his Wildcard – an award bestowed as a result of becoming the first adman or woman this century to be recognised by the Crown.

The late, great Peter Spencer was the year’s only inductee into the NZ Post Targeted Communications AdMedia Advertising Hall of Fame. And his son Christophe and wife Michele were present to accept his citation.

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