Effies 2014: FCB declared most effective agency of the year, Saatchi stages a comeback

Last night, at a sold out event hosted at the Langham, FCB was crowned New Zealand’s most effective agency at the 2014 Effie Awards. And it wasn’t even a close race.

With its tally of 94 points, FCB was convincingly ahead of Saatchi & Saatchi in second place on 54 points and Colenso BBDO/Proximity New Zealand in third on 52 points.

As has been the case in previous years, agencies earned points for the number of awards and finalist spots secured. Agencies get 12 points for the Grand Effie, eight for a gold, six for a silver, four a bronze and two for a finalist spot.  

This year’s major gong, the Grand Effie, was awarded to Saatchi & Saatchi (in collaboration with ApolloNation and Spark PHD) for its ‘Tui Catch a Million’ campaign, which transformed Kiwi cricket crowds into a sea of orange. In addition to this, the widely publicised campaign also picked up golds in the ‘Fast Moving Consumer Goods’ and ‘Most Effective PR/Experiential Campaign’ categories. 

There was also more success for Saatchi, as the ‘Getting to the answer faster’ campaign for the New Zealand Defence Force picked up a pair of silvers and the  ‘ASB ‘Like Loan’ campaign picked up a pair of bronzes and a silver.        

“What an incredible night for the agency and our client partners ASB, NZDF and of course the Grand Effie winner: DB Breweries,” said Saatchi’s chief executive Nicky Bell in a statement. “I’m so proud of our collective teams for the enormous hard work that went into making these campaigns not only effective but also creatively strong and shareable. As always, strong partnerships drive strong results for all. We’re thrilled.”

Saatchi & Saatchi will be particularly pleased by this haul, given that the Effies haven’t been kind to the agency in recent years. Last year, Saatchi finished ninth on the Effies table and didn’t collect any gold or silver metal on the night. And in 2012, the agency only picked up a single bronze.    

For playing its part in Saatchi’s revival and for making the Kiwi communications space more interesting, DB Breweries walked away with ‘Most Effective Client’ gong on the night.

“This is another outstanding achievement for Tui,” said the beer brand’s marketing manager William Papesch, who recently took up a new role within the DB Breweries group across the ditch. “These awards are a fitting reward for a great deal of hard work that went into the campaign. I am enormously proud of the creative and strategic thinking that went into the promotion and what it has gone on to achieve. It’s been a huge year and we have picked up some amazing accolades for ‘Catch a Million,’ however last night’s haul at the Effies was really a stand out for me. It was a clear reminder of how a simple creative idea can deliver significant tangible results. This was definitely a collaborative effort, and I would like to thank everyone involved in making ‘Tui Catch a Million’ a success.”

The key characteristic that differentiates the Effie Awards from other creative advertising awards events is that it aims to celebrate creative work that overcomes a business problem and delivers a commercial result. As explained on the CAANZ website: “Winning an Effie Award is about meeting a challenge and succeeding … It is the only award that honours creative achievement in meeting and exceeding advertising objectives.”

In this sense, one of the most important awards handed out on the night is the ‘Hardest Challenge’ gong, which is given to an agency that has successfully managed to deliver a communications solution to a challenge that was particularly challenging. 

This year, the award went to FCB for its oft-quoted ‘Say Yeah, Nah’ campaign that was created for the Health Promotion Agency to encourage moderate drinking to counter the growing problem of binge drinking. And in further validation of its effectiveness, the campaign aslo picked up gold in the ‘Best Strategic Thinking’ category.

“Our business is all about creating behaviour change and winning most effective agency is fantastic recognition for this,” says FCB’s managing director Brian van den Hurk. “We’re particularly proud of the ‘Say Yeah, Nah’ campaign, which was recognised as the hardest challenge and best strategic thinking. The results clearly show that New Zealanders are embracing the idea of saying ‘Yeah Nah’ to binge drinking. We’re also thankful to all our clients who allow us to create effective campaigns for them each year.”

In addition to this, FCB also won: a trio of bronzes in the ‘Social Marketing – Public Services’ category; a silver in the ‘Retail/Etail’ category; a bronze in the ‘Consumer Durables’ category; a bronze in the ‘New Product or Service’ category; a silver and a bronze in the Limited Budget category; a bronze in the ‘Most Progressive Campaign’ category; a silver in the ‘Sustained Success’ category; a silver in the ‘Most Effective Integrated Campaign’ category; and a silver in the ‘Most Effective Digital/Social Media Campaign’ category.  

In addition to those won by FCB and Saatchi, there were only three more gold awards handed out over the course of the night, and these went to Clemenger BBDO, DDB and Barnes Catmur & Friends.

Clemenger won in the “Best Strategic Thinking’ category for its ‘Mistakes’ TVC, which was created the New Zealand Transport Agency; DDB picked up its yellow metal in the ‘Most Effective PR/Experiential Campaign’ category for its Aotea Square-based ‘Bring Down the King’ campaign for Sky TV; and Barnes, Catmur & Friends illustrated that you don’t need to spend excessivley to get noticed by picking up its gold in the Limited Budget category for Hell Pizza’s controversial ‘Rabbit Pizza Billboard’.  


But the night didn’t turn out as hoped for everyone. New Zealand’s perennial awards winner and recent recipient of the Smartest Creative Agency in the World Award, Colenso BBDO, did not win any gold awards, despite being shortlisted 18 times (only FCB had more shortlisted entries with 23).

Colenso did however pick up a pair of silvers in the ‘Most Effective PR/Experiential Campaign’ and ‘Most Progressive Campaign’ categories for its Motel Burger King activation, as well as a trio of bronze awards for its ‘Share for Dogs’ campaign for Mars.  

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