Sweet and sour: .99 wins U20 FIFA World Cup account, but also confirms staff cuts

StopPress understands that .99 has won the FIFA U20 World Cup account after a competitive pitch that involved what is thought to have been four agencies.

Ben Goodale, the managing director of .99, was contacted and asked about the account, but he would not confirm or deny whether his agency had won the pitch.  

Given that the parties involved have thus far been unwilling to comment on the account, it’s still unclear what .99’s responsibilities will include, but it’s thought that the agency will be required to manage the theme and distribution of the above- and below-the-line promotional material that will accompany the event, which runs from 10 to 20 June next year.  

But it isn’t all good news at the agency at the moment. Goodale has confirmed that .99, like its fellow Clemenger-owned agency Colenso BBDO, is currently in the process of letting some staff members go. 

“There’s a lot of belt-tightening going on in the industry at the moment, and some clients are still being very cautious. Sadly, we are probably going to have to let five people go, predominantly from the production department. It isn’t a mass layoff. It’s more a case of recalibrating the agency to bring it in line with our changing client needs,” he says.

Goodale said that this was not an indication that the agency, which employs over 120 people, was undergoing any difficulties, but rather a reflection of the increasing digital orientation of the industry.  

And in other football-related news, TVNZ announced earlier today that it had received the rights to broadcast 22 live gamesincluding the open ceremony and first match, nine group games (which includes all England’s games), four second round matches, all quarter-finals, both semi-finals, the third/fourth playoff and the final—for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, which kicks off in Brazil next month.

“We are delighted to be bringing so much of the World Cup action to New Zealand viewers free-to-air on TV One. Excitement is building right now in Brazil and all around the world, and we can’t wait to join in the action,” said TVNZ’s head of televison Jeff Latch.

This deal is in many ways similar to the broadcasting rights TVNZ had for the FIFA World Cup in South Africa four years ago. The main difference this time is that the broadcaster will be focusing on the English group games on account of the fact that the All Whites failed to qualify after a playoff against Mexico.  

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