King St plays tertiary swapsies with Waikato Uni win, snakes and ladders for Republik

Hamiton-based King St has won the University of Waikato account off incumbent Republik, bringing its long relationship with the University of Auckland to an end. But Republik has balanced the ledger with the addition of Sierra Coffee. 

King St’s managing director Chris Williams didn’t want to comment on the news but it is thought the agency won the business in a competitive pitch that included the incumbent. It had to pull out of a three-way pitch for the University of Auckland, which was announced in October last year. King St worked with the University of Auckland for around 15 years. 

“As a taxpayer-funded organisation, the university is bound to periodically ‘go to the market’ to ensure it is receiving the best possible advice. With King St’s contract expiring later this year, it seemed an opportune time to review the university’s advertising provider,” said Dianne Head, the director of student, information and marketing services at the university, at the time. “The agency review in no way reflects the University’s dissatisfaction with the service King St has provided over a long period of time. We have enjoyed a long and successful relationship with King St.”

It’s thought a decision on the University of Auckland’s new agency is imminent (comms staff couldn’t be contacted). But it’s not clear which agencies are in the running for the business. 

According to Nielsen’s AIS data, which is based on ratecard spend, the University of Waikato, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, spent $6 million on advertising since 2011 compared to the University of Auckland’s $5 million. But Unitec topped them all with $12 million spent in that time.

As for Republik, it will be managing Sierra Coffee’s design, creative and media business, across all their coffee brands.

Sierra has been roasting coffee for over 22 years and now roasts a total of over 1000kg a week (it is available over the counter from their 34 North Island cafes, and in selected Countdown supermarkets). 

“Over the past few years we’ve enjoyed steady, sustainable growth and business isn’t slowing down,” says Sierra’s general manager Pete Campbell. “It was time for us to bring an agency partner on board who were prepared to get stuck in, learn our business and work with us to develop everything from packaging design, to ad creative, to media planning and management. Republik impressed us from the start, they ticked all the boxes. And we love the fact that two successful homegrown names have joined forces.”

There was no single incumbent as the business was being handled by a number of smaller agencies and consultants. 

Republik’s Craig Abbott says its first project has been a complete packaging redesign, which should be on shelves early June.

Speaking of universities, Massey University has lauched the next evolution of its ‘Engine of the new New Zealand’ brand campaign, via Tracta.

The university adopted the position three years ago, with the help of Assignment Group, and, as assistant vice-chancellor external relations Cas Carter says, the rationale was that “having provided much of the knowledge that underpinned our nation’s success as a food-producing exporter in the 20th century, Massey was tackling the big global issues of sustainability, citizenship, community resilience, economic wellbeing, health and nutrition”. And now the focus has shifted to the “inherent qualities of the university’s students”. 

“We initially built our brand campaign around Massey: who we are and what it is about us that explains the ‘engine of the new New Zealand’ moniker,” says Carter. “For the next stage we need to focus even more on integrating our students, their values and the values we hope to share with prospective students into the campaign, giving them a sense of belonging and ownership.”

The first phase of the “I Am” campaign uses four terms—challenger, discoverer, freethinker and problem solver—to show some of those student attributes (go-getter and game-changer will be incorporated later). 

Marketing and recruitment director Sarah Wood says the campaign is “modern, relevant, engaging and has energy with a hint of irreverence. The imagery captures an arresting moment, something that is not going to become wallpaper, something to make people think ‘what’s going on here?'” 

The campaign kicked off with video display banners, followed by billboards, posters, print advertisements and two 15-second online videos. It is also running online videos from a series of Massey vloggers

The University of Canterbury, which has been struggling to attract students since the earthquakes, has also released a new 60 second ad showing the benefits of a southern education. 

And the University of Otago recently released an online video that aims to tempt prospective students with a collection of impressive numbers.

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