When Kiwibank went to market and asked for agencies to get involved with an 'unpitched' pitch process, some of the best agencies, one-man-shops and consultancies threw their hats into the ring. After a thorough process, Kiwibank has appointed 99 as its lead strategic and creative agency partner, responsible for all above the line brand and retail work.
99 managing director Troy Fuller says the timing was right for the two brands, as both are in a similar state of change. Both see themselves as challengers in their category, both have shifted focus to the customer, and both have a focus on robust and intelligence-led strategy, strong and relevant creative, and measurable and adaptable campaigns.
"The 'unpitched' pitch worked really well as far as we were concerned," he says. "Rather than the usual beauty parade where everything hangs on one meeting, we got the chance to really work together and properly get to know each other and the businesses. The chemistry was great from the get-go. We're excited to work together on one of New Zealand's best brands."
Kiwibank head of brand and marketing Simon Hofmann says Kiwibank saw a kindred spirit in 99.
"99's challenger mindset is aligned with Kiwibank and the teams are an excellent fit. We have to do things differently to compete with the budgets of the Aussie-owned banks, and their new focus on experience is really exciting for us. We've had a fast start together and we couldn't be happier with how things have kicked off."
Under its new remit, 99 will partner with media agency OMD to help set the future strategic direction with the Kiwibank team, and the model will see a different approach to driving alignment between media and creative.
"We think we should see much closer alignment between the two which is really exciting," Fuller says. "It challenges the majority of set-ups we see across the industry and we're committed to experimenting with other models in the future."