TBWA\ puts one in the plus column with TradeMe win—UPDATED

TBWA got a big slap in the face a few weeks back when it lost the 2degrees business to Special Group. But, in what chief executive Todd McLeay says is “some consolation”, it has picked up the TradeMe business.

McLeay didn’t want to talk too much about the 2degrees decision, aside from saying it was “very disappointing”.

“We don’t want to lose any business, and we especially don’t want to lose business that’s as close to us as 2degrees was,” he says. 

He says its pitch combined the best of old and new, with Dave Walden and Andy Blood involved throughout. So he says it “wasn’t like we came in and it was all completely different”. 

As for TradeMe, which Fairfax sold its remaining 51 percent stake in at the end of last year, it hasn’t needed much in the way of traditional advertising in the past, but he says it is looking to cement its place as the dominant player in the New Zealand market and that has led to a change in strategy.

“It’s an iconic brand. And while its heritage comes from digital, it’s looking to think a bit differently and broadly about how it communicates,” he says. 

Overseas, many digital entities, such as Google, Facebook, Ebay and Amazon, spend a lot of money on ‘traditional’ advertising, particularly TV and online video because, as McLeay says, it allows them to show different types of attributes in a short amount of time. And he says TradeMe is on a similar path, as evidenced by its recent TV campaign by JWT for TradeMe Jobs.

McLeay didn’t know which other agencies were involved in the pitch. But Y&R was thought to be its agency of record.  

UPDATE: Y&R’s managing director James Hurman says it has worked with Trade Me for about six years. It’s always been an informal project-based relationship, which it has shared with a number of other agencies and that relationship continues.

“We weren’t involved in the pitch for the project that TBWA won – we’re not involved in all pitches, Trade Me pick and choose for each project as they see fit.” 

UPDATE #2: TradeMe’s head of operations Mike O’Donnell says TradeMe thought TBWA was a great cultural fit and he’s looking forward to working with the agency. 

“Todd and Toby had some ripper ideas and we were particularly impressed with their execution,” he says. 

He says it’s no surprise that it’s aiming to grow and it is hoping to have an above-the-line campaign in the market before Christmas that focuses on the “new goods market and core e-commerce”, something chief executive John Macdonald mentioned was an area of focus when announcing its latest financial results

Plenty of agencies put their hands up for the business, he says, but he wasn’t willing to discuss who else was involved. 

TradeMe’s revenue was up 15 percent YoY to $164.1 million and net profit after tax was up four percent YoY to $78.6 million, a record. 

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