SparkPHD set to swap banks as ANZ aligns media—UPDATED

A media review by ANZ has seen SparkPHD get the call up as the bank’s Australasian agency, which means Ogilvy Media now misses out on the spoils in New Zealand and Spark PHD will resign the BNZ account it currently holds. 

SparkPHD probably won’t be too unhappy about the change. According to Nielsen’s AIS figures, ANZ increased its spending by 56 percent year on year in 2011 to $33 million, almost one third of the total bank spend. And, with National Bank seemingly heading for the glue factory (ANZ group spent just $4 million on the brand last year, a decrease of 74 percent), there could be plenty more media weight being piled on for ANZ in the coming years. As for BNZ, Nielsen figures show it spent $10.3 million last year.

ANZ’s new head of retail marketing Matt Pickering didn’t want to comment but Spark Group’s chief executive Louise Bond, who today sent out a release saying it’s looking for a new strategic planning director after Guy Cousins decided to move to Naked Communications after three years with the company, got back to us and confirmed PHD’s appointment as the media agency across all geographies, saying it would take over on May 1 and that it’s working through the handover process now.

As for Cousins, who was recently named by Campaign Asia-Pacific as Australasian Media Planner of the Year, she says it’s looking both locally and internationally for a replacement but had known about the move for some time.

In a release sent by Naked, Cousins says he is a long standing fan of his new agency.

“The senior team has a very clear vision of where the agency is going and I have a huge amount of respect for what they have achieved in such a short period of time. So this is an opportunity that I absolutely want to be a part of.”

On the creative side of the marketing divide, while we’ve heard rumours of BNZ’s departure from Sugar ever since it took over from Y&R a few years back, those rumours appear to be gathering steam recently, despite seemingly good results for the bank and solid campaigns like BNZ Stories and Find Your Start.

Sugar’s managing director Jeremy Johnston says it’s something he’s also been hearing since the get-go, but it’s still business as usual. However, perhaps adding fuel to the fire is the fact that Sugar’s Mike Knowles, who holds a 15 percent stake in the company and has worked with Johnston for nine years, began working as a contractor with the agency late last year and creative bod Glenn Jameson departed recently.

In a release about his decision to go freelance, Jameson said:

We raised a few eyebrows when we won the BNZ, and silenced the critics when we launched BNZ Stories, which re-established their position as the bank for New Zealand. Working closely with Mike Knowles, and the Jeffs-Toon dream team, they lured legendary adman Len Potts out of the hills to reprise his role as the voice of BNZ. “I wrote them for Len, and gave him license to change the scripts as he saw fit. He changed one word and said good job. High praise indeed.” But the biggest compliments came from a surprising peerage. “The bank received letters from three rival banks congratulating us on the campaign. Canʼt buy that kind of endorsement.”

If there is some potential BNZ shaking going on, it isn’t entirely surprising given the bank recently appointed ex-Telecom and Vodafone marketing man Craig Herbison to the new position of chief marketing officer and also made a few other big senior appointments in Shelley Ruha, Paul Suma and Renée Roberts.

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