Freshly squeezed news slakes powerful information thirsts

As carrots are to stew, news is to the internet.

Banner wars

An interesting semi-e-debate has arisen about the worthiness of banner ads after David McGregor, writing in the latest edition of Idealog, opined that “online promotional activity is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch of the advertising business. Banners, buttons and ‘skyscrapers’ pollute content sites with their insistent flickering”. Josh Borthwick, from AdHub, however, thinks it’s not so much about the medium, the space or the delivery. It’s about the creative execution, something that is still lacking in New Zealand. ‘Tis worth a read.

An Aussie Olive Branch

As part of its Visa Wellington On a Plate festival in August, Positively Wellington Tourism (PWT) is offering a free lunch to Australians who come for a visit as part of ‘The There Is Such Thing as a Free Lunch promotion’. It’s part of the $2 million There’s No Place Like Wellington campaign currently running in Australia, which is a joint venture between central government and the regions to boost Australian awareness of and visitation to New Zealand for short holidays.

PWT’s general manager of marketing, Sarah Meikle, says the regional tourism organisation wanted to complement its brand campaign (which includes this pretty damn cool TVC) and she reckons there’s no other city that would offer a whole country a free lunch.

The second installment of Visa Wellington On a Plate 2010 will feature 82 events and 88 cafes/restaurants in the DINE Wellington programme, which sees participants offering two courses, a glass of wine and a tea or coffee for $25 and $35. $15 menus (mostly excluding wine) are also available at some establishments.

To secure their free lunch, the Aussie visitors need to show their passport and flight e-ticket that shows they’ve come during festival time (August 14-29) at the Wellington i-SITE Visitor Centre in Civic Square. They’ll then receive a $25 voucher for use in the DINE Wellington scheme.

“The beauty of the concept is that it only costs us if it works, and that money goes directly back into the Wellington economy rather than in buying more media space across the ditch,” Meikle says. “Australian visitors to Wellington spend on average $1500 per visit. By diverting some of our media buy to buying them lunch, we can gain exposure for Wellington and track the success.”

Conversing through song

The second installment of Converse’s “Three Artists, One Song” series, which includes Rostam Batmanglij from Vampire Weekend, Kid Cudi and Bethany Cosentino, is now available for free download from www.converse.co.nz. And the Converse gang are hoping the song ‘All Summer’ will be as popular as the first effort. Keep an eye out for the soon to be released music video too.

Instant Magic

Fans of the Polaroid brand worldwide shed a tear when the death of its instant film was annouced in 2008. But those fans can rejoice, because Polaroid instant photography is back. Apparently, “a worldwide group of creative voices has joined together because of their love of instant film photography and sharing” as part of the ‘Polaroid Movement’. Awwww. Even Lady Gaga’s involved, after she was appointed as the creative director for the Polaroid brand. She recently presided over a series of product design and development sessions in Tokyo for co-branded Polaroid products and unveiled her creative vision, style and passion for Polaroid products.

The Polaroid 300 camera was launched in New Zealand recently to mark the return of instant film photography. And ten-packs of Polaroid 300 instant film retail for $29.95. There are also a few new products on offer to add to the fun, including the Polaroid PoGo instant Mobile Printer and Instant Digital Camera, which both use ZINK ink-free printing technology to print photos instantly (New ZINK-enabled products will be unveiled in late 2010).

And if you’re a fan of instant film, check out the story of The Impossible Project, a gang of aficionados who successfully resurrected the dying Polaroid film back in 2008.

The children, our future

The Luerzer’s archive is inviting votes from global ad professionals to select the most promising new and up-and-coming talent. And a few young things from AUT School of Communications are in the running. So get in there and help the brothers and sisters out.

Awe Struck

Speaking of votes, although this time of the fictional variety, Courtney Lambert and her non-existent panel of experts have announced the winners of the inaugural ‘Awesomest Awards‘, with a range of accolades being dished out to the country’s best and worst exponents of marketing, advertising and social media.

Celebrating the bespectacled

UK celebrity stylist Gok Wan has been roped in as head judge of the inaugural Specsavers Spectacle Wearer of the Year (SWOTY) Awards.

“It’s not about models in glasses; this is about everyday Kiwis showing personality and confidence in their look. Glasses are a great way to express your personal sense of style, and that’s exactly what the Specsavers SWOTY Awards are all about.”

Local judges will join forces with Wan to select the overall national winner, who will be chosen from seven regional winners. A grand prize of a $5,000 shopping spree, a wardrobe of Specsavers eyewear and personal eyewear styling session with the man himself will be awarded to the ultimate winner and a Kiwi celebrity winner will also be selected by the judging panel. Surely Rhys Darby is frint runner. Brooke Howard Smith is disqualified for apparently wearing glassless frames.

Entries are now open via www.specsavers.co.nz/competition or at any Specsavers store nationwide.

Stick it in the diary

You’ve got until 23 July to enter the Spikes Asia competition, then the late entry fees kick in. The call for entries for the Caxton newspaper advertising awards has also gone out and you can download the entry form for the 24 different categories (including the new multi-media campaign award) here. While you’re at it, the Global Awards, which honours creative and marketing excellence in healthcare communications around the world has also announced its call for entries for the 2010 competition, the 16th year it’s been held.

Girl 11.0

To mark its 10 year anniversary and to celebrate surviving 2009, online magazine nzgirl.co.nz has been re-launched. And not just with a new look and feel, but with a new approach to content, advertising and audience interaction.

General manager and editor, Tee Twyford says the most notable change is the shift in focus to a content theme of ‘our favourite things’, which has come about because nzgirl’s most popular feature over the last 11 years has been the Hot 5.

“Without fail every Friday our audience demand to know where it is, and when it goes live our traffic spikes. This got us thinking about what it is that makes the Hot 5 work: recommendations, discovery, influence and adoption. Pretty basic psychology really. We all like to know what is hot, what is new and we want to be a part of it now. That single thought stemmed the challenge of ‘how do we extrapolate the Hot 5?'”

After a very challenging 2009, publisher and founder Jenene Freer says investment in a new site was a big call.

“We just got through it and it’s only thanks to the belief and passion of a couple of people that made it even possible,” she says. “Survival for us has meant ‘being the fittest’ – we’ve had to really dig deep and figure out what our point of difference is.”

And there are some changes to the advertising offering too: “The Five Way” ad (one ad spot, five different usages, including M-Rec, Super Rec, Ridiculous Rec, Sky Scraper, Mega Skyscraper, is one price and able to be used however you like); the introduction of the IAB ‘Super Rectangle’ (as seen on the NZ Herald); what’s slated as New Zealand’s biggest permanent online ad spot, the ‘Ridiculous Rectangle’; and the home Page take-over ad, aka ‘The Smack Down’.

A new nzgirl marketing campaign will launch late July with the aim to drive excitement about the new site to connect the 95,000 women on the membership base.

Star light, star bright

Who doesn’t love a good conference? No-one, that’s who doesn’t. And Bright*Star have a couple of good’uns coming up: 18 & 19 August 2010, The 10th Annual Marketing to the Rural Sector Conference in Auckland and 25th & 26th August 2010, The 3rd Annual Marketing Education Services in Wellington. To register, call Bright*Star Conferences and Training on (09) 9123616, email [email protected], or check the website www.brightstar.co.nz.

Wrapped up

Want to personalise your mobile phone, laptop, iPad, iPod or gaming consoles with your brand? You don’t? Neither. But if you do, then there’s a new product that might just have your name on it. And, like that particular kind of hairdresser called Snippz or Cutz, it’s called Wrappz — with two Ps and a Z.

You can create your own wrap by choosing the kind of device you want covered, uploading your image or choosing from the range of Wrappz designs that are ready to go on the site. Then waiting by the letterbox for branding/personalisation nirvana.

Rule e-Britannia

VisitBritain, the national tourism agency, has also had a rejig, with VisitBritain.com becoming VisitBritain’s main platform for communicating with its customers and focusing on serving up personalised content tailored to the country the visitor comes from (the New Zealand website is directed to the new site).

The site, which is available in 22 different languages, is a key part of VisitBritain’s digital strategy using social media, online content and mobile phones, has 95 percent user generated image content throughout (similar to the recent Australian tourism campaign). It also includes the latest social media whizzbangery, magazine-style travel features and Flickr photo galleries.

Obviously, social media has become crucial factor in deciding where to go, so syndication and aggregation are enabled within the site so that all content is available across a wide range of travel sites and blogs.

Laurence Bresh, director of marketing for VisitBritain says the new website is key to delivering its strategy to lure visitors to Britain before, during and after the Olympics.

“The site has been in development for a year and we have worked hard, along with our suppliers SapientNitro, to fully tie together the inspirational and functional aspects of planning a holiday which our customers have asked for. If you see a picture in the interactive gallery, it also shows you where it is located on a map of Britain along with what there is to do around the area, places to visit, places to stay and directs the visitor to our online shop to help them buy travel products that will enable them to make planning their trip as simple as possible.

Nigel Vaz, managing director, SapientNitro, which also did the Queensland Best Job in the World campaign, added: “VisitBritain.com illustrates perfectly why customer experience is absolutely key: after all, overseas visitors are much more likely to be tempted to visit Britain if they are excited and inspired by what they first see online. We’ve worked closely with VisitBritain to develop a content-rich digital experience to inspire them for future travel and to encourage them to share positive feedback with friends and family. Users should expect the unexpected with the revamped visitbritain.com.”

Hello Ladies

With the comedy stylings of the Topp Twins and Carol Hirschfeld directing a discussion between Ann M. Veneman (who’s ranked as one of Forbes top 50 most powerful women) and Helen Clark, the 125th Gala Dinner of YWCA Auckland at the Langham Hotel is set to be a beauty.

There’s plenty of entertainment and a live auction on offer and tickets are $250.00 inc GST. Table of 10 $2,500 (early bird $2250 till 21 July). RSVP by 4 August. And for more info email [email protected] or phone 09-375 9242.

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