School’s out: AUT ends decade-long partnership with Consortium, Unitec pitches its creative account

AUT University has after ten years ended its partnership with Consortium and will from now on work with a number of agencies on a project basis.

The institution has appointed Shine to develop its mid-year marketing campaign, but the director of marketing Shelly Gane says that this is not to be understood as the appointment of the agency beyond this project.  

When asked why AUT University had ended its partnership with Consortium, Gane referred StopPress to group director of brand and marketing Luke Patterson but he could not be reached for comment.         

Consortium founder Paul Shale was contacted in regard to the account, but he would not comment on any of the changes. 

While working on account, Shale alongside the team at Consortium established a long-standing relationship with AUT’s former general manager of university relations Vivien Bridgwater, who last year departed from institution after 14 years and was recently appointed ATEED’s general manager of global destination and marketing.   

In 2012, Bridgwater told StopPress that the agency had been central to its sustained success as New Zealand’s fastest growing University.

“They have continually delivered more than just ads and I think this evolution represents further evidence of the business beliefs that lie at the core of their brand,” she said at the time.

As described on the Consortium website, the agency has “done pretty much every kind of marketing comms work for AUT” and was in 2010 awarded the AUT Decade Partner Award.

However, it’s understood that AUT has taken some of its creative and design work in-house over the last few years, which is thought to have diminished the value of the account to Consortium over time.

And while the loss of the account is a blow, the agency is thought to be enjoying a busy patch with its work for Spark.   

In other education-related news, the Unitec University account is also currently being reviewed. And as is often the case with account pitches, all parties have remained tightlipped.

Unitec was approached for comment, and the executive director of business development and marketing Steve Haddock replied saying: “We don’t have a comment to make at this stage. Sorry for not being helpful but as we are in process I would like to keep external communication to a minimum.”   

Special Group, which previously held the account and has won various awards for its work on it, refused to take part in the review process. And managing partner Michael Redwood pointed out that the agency last worked with Unitec in 2013.

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