Year in Review: Liz Fraser

Any year that includes a receivership is going to be difficult for a broadcaster. Add to this a breakup with a principal programming provider, gaffe-prone radio hosts and a steep decline in viewership, and things start to look increasingly bleak. Yet, despite these uneasy times, MediaWorks still managed to produce a few hit shows, increase its revenue and hold onto key audiences. So, here’s what Liz Fraser, the director of sales and marketing, thought of a topsy-turvy 2013.           

1) Favourite campaign

This campaign has won so many awards, both locally and globally, that it’s become a bit of a cliché, but Driving Dogs for SPCA is something very special.

2) Least favourite campaign

You either love him or hate him, but the old guy (Brian Blessed) in the ASB Bank campaign came as a surprise to me. Maybe I just liked Goldstein too much and finding out what antics he was up to next, which is an absolute testament to the success of this long-term campaign. What was a good move though, was ASB listening to customer feedback and deciding to keep their focus with ‘Succeed On’ without the hairy beast.

3) Your own biggest success

It’s been a spectacular year at MediaWorks, having dived in and out of receivership, while at the same time, we’ve held our TV audiences through massive successes of The X Factor NZ and The Block NZ, plus we’ve increased our revenue share. We’ve got a sustainable long-term plan that requires us to deliver another big year in 2015.  The support from the industry has been incredible this year, so thanks to all our agency and advertiser partners.

4) Most impressive performance

I recently attended The Warehouse Suppliers and Charity Dinner (along with a million others) and what really stood out to me was how they had seamlessly integrated the Noel Leeming Group into the master brand of The Warehouse Group. I’m sure this must have come with many traumas and tantrums along the way, and it couldn’t have been as easy feat to achieve, but on the night it stood out to me how this company’s vision has evolved into something quite remarkable.

5) Biggest move

As an Auckland Blues fan, I was excited to see Benji Marshall cross the Tasman to join the team for 2014. Plus, bringing his gorgeous wife Zoe coming to New Zealand is a bonus, as she is fronting one of our biggest local shows next year: The Great Food Race.

6) Best innovation

The way our team has delivered true integration campaigns into TV programmes that flow through to radio, online and social, as well as the additional client activation that has so much creativity. It’s simply world class.

7) Best brands

I’m an online shopping geek, and this year I’ve become completely hooked in to Marks & Spencer in the UK, which is delivering gorgeous clothes with no shipping fees to New Zealand.  There are so many products available on the site with fantastic prices.  No doubt, we can expect to see a continual increase of international online shopping, which will have mixed outcomes for our economy.

8) Best stoush

No comment

9) Heroes

I know he’s one of our own, but John Campbell has truly delivered on one of his best years yet.  He’s an exceptional bloke.  He’s brash as hell, but he’s so determined to do the best job possible.  What he’s done for New Zealand and for so many Kiwis this year makes him a legend in my mind.

10) Villains

No comment

11) Most memorable marketing moment

It’s that time of year when Christmas ads come to the fore. One that stands out for me is one that’s not even playing in New Zealand, but in the UK. John Lewis’ annual Christmas ads are one of the most-anticipated advertising events of the year. This year, they teamed up with Disney telling a story about a bear and a hare. It’s two minutes long (love those big brand ads) and made me totally get into the Christmas spirit. Of course it cost a bit – a mere seven million pounds and played in The X Factor for only 400,000 pounds.  The song is gorgeous.  I think I’m turning really soft though…

12) A few predictions for 2014

The convergence of TV and digital will continue to explode in 2015 with second screen experiences complementing what’s being offered on TV – that’s all exciting stuff in my world. The continual increase of social media, smartphones and a multiscreen culture excites me, as our brands, talent and programming content will explode onto many platforms.

For agencies, as the big ones merge, it will become even more important for the smaller independent agencies to ensure they have a clearly defined offering in the market that differentiates them from others. Otherwise, they’ll be left behind and I would hate to see that happen.

Most of all, and this isn’t new news to anyone, creativity and a good solid idea will continue to win over data-driven technology. But if you get them both right, you’re a complete and utter winner. Therein lies the challenge ahead.

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