The humans of adland* have spoken: Vodafone’s porcine mystery wins People’s Choice in StopPress/MediaWorks TVC of the Year, FCB ads dominate

From the moment Vodafone’s Piggy Sue stepped in to replace James Rolleston for Vodafone, there was a sense that the ad would be popular. It did, after all, feature an adorable piglet that was remarkably puppy-like in its behaviour. And so it has proven, with the ad racking up over 300,000 views online and also taking out the People’s Choice award in this year’s MediaWorks/StopPress TVC of the Year competition.

Of course, the results in the People’s Choice section are dependent on public votes, which means that bigger brands and agencies are able to augment their clicks (and Vodafone added to the numbers by promoting the TVC of the Year survey on Facebook and asking its fans to vote for Piggy Sue). But the response to the ad from consumers and the number of votes it attracted seems to suggest that it was legitimately popular, something re-enforced by its recent ranking in Colmar Brunton’s Ad Impact Award (even though it lost to a different lost animal brand campaign). 

Of the 1,100 people who completed the survey by selecting their five favourite ads, 485 included the ‘Piggy Sue’ spot, which was conceived by FCB and shot by Revolver (on a related note, this year marks the 20 year anniversary of Babe. Coincidence? We think not). 

“We’re absolutely thrilled Kiwis have picked Piggy-Sue as their top People’s Choice TVC,” says Matt Williams, Vodafone New Zealand consumer director. “Our ambition with Piggy-Sue was to make New Zealand’s most-loved ad to celebrate the country’s favourite network, and this is a fantastic way of demonstrating we’re heading in the right direction to achieve this. This has also been reflected by the great reactions we’ve had from adults and kids alike coming into our stores and telling our teams how much they love Piggy-Sue. We’ve also seen unprecedented levels of positive sentiment on our social media channels.”

FCB executive creative director for the Asia Pacific region mirrored these sentiments: “A huge thank you to everyone who voted for Piggy-Sue. We knew the script was a winner when it was conceived and the response it’s had since it launched has consistently confirmed this. New Zealand punches above its weight for great creativity so to win People’s Choice TVC of the Year is fantastic for Vodafone.”

The ad was released in May (and Piggy Sue has just returned in a new ad) and signalled a significant change in direction for Vodafone from its previous brand ads featuring actor James Rolleston. 

Speaking to Vodafone’s head of brand and insights Bart De Beucker at the time of the launch of the Piggy Sue spot, he said Vodafone’s partnership with Rolleston had run its course. 

“James has done a great job for us for two years, because he enabled us to reconnect with Kiwis,” said De Beucker at the time. “But we as a company have evolved into a fully converged business with a network from north to south, which covers 97.5 percent of the country and has a 4G reach of 80 percent of the country. And James has also grown up in the last few years. He has gone from being a teenager to being a man and he now has own acting career.”

While Rolleston’s tenure at Vodafone has come to an end, the voting public still showed him some love with 250 votes for his final heartfelt effort for the brand, last year’s ‘dinner for two’ Christmas spot via FCB and 8com, which also recently won the Colmar Brunton Ad Impact ad of the year award.

Attracting 185 votes, Mitre 10’s ‘Bring on the Weekend’ by FCB and Thick as Thieves finished in third place.

This completes the first half of the TVC of the Year competition. An esteemed panel of judges will gather next week for some robust discussion to decide on the winner of the TVC of the Year. 

Credits for Piggy Sue:

Client: Vodafone

Product: Network

Consumer Director: Matt Williams

Head of Brand and Insights: Bart De Beucker

Manager Brand and Communications: Nileema Allerston

Network Programme and Communications Specialist: Rose Scott

Agency: FCB New Zealand

Regional Executive Creative Director: James Mok

Executive Creative Director: Regan Grafton

Senior Writer: Matt Williams                                    

Senior Art Director: Freddie Coltart

Head of Integration: Fleur Head

Creative Services Director: Jenni Doubleday

Planning Director: Simon Bird

Senior Planner: Hilary Dobson

Head of Content: Pip Mayne

Producer: Amanda Langkilde

Group Account Director: Karla Fisher

Account Director: Dave Munn

General Manager of PR: Angela Spain

PR Senior Account Director: Joanna James

Production: Revolver

Production Company Director: Steve Rogers

Production Company MD/EP: Michael Ritchie

Production Company EP/Producer: Pip Smart

Editor/s: Bernard Garry

Director of Photography: Nicolas Karakatsanis

Sound Recordist: Hammond Peak

Production Designer: Margot Wilson

Animal trainer: Hero Animals, Caroline Girdlestone

Post Production: Blockhead

Colourist: Ben Eagleton

Online Editor: Nigel Mortimer

Sound: The Coopers

Sound Engineer: Jon Cooper

Sound Producer: Pen Cooper

Music: Liquid Studios

Composer: Peter van der Fluit

Music Producer: Sarah Yetton

*And possibly some other normal humans too. 

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