The people have spoken: Toyota yay, Harvey Norman nay

There seems to be an underlying disdain for the persuasive arts among the masses, something that can presumably be put down to a combination of outright envy and the (slightly) misguided belief that you dastardly marcomms schemers are somehow able to trick them into parting with their cash through the wonder of advertising. But there’s certainly no shortage of interest from the aforementioned masses in the commercial messages that grace their screens and, much like Paul Henry, this strange love-hate formula creates TV gold, as evidenced by the continuing popularity of the Fair Go Ad Awards.

Last financial year, it was the second most watched show on TVNZ behind ‘Cheers to 50 years’ (The advertising-centric Gruen Transfer in Australia also had stellar ratings this year) and last night’s episode drew an average audience of 734,460 viewers, which TVNZ says is about 200,000 more than its regular ratings, but about the same as the last four years. Its total reach was 1,124,900, or 18.3 percent of the total 5+ audience, so it will be hoping to reclaim TVNZ’s number one spot this time round.

Unlike most other ad industry awards, the finalists for best and worst ads are decided via email nominations and the winners (or losers?) are then chosen via text vote (at 99c a text, someone’s making a bit of cash). And the winner of the coveted Best Ad of the year award was Toyota’s ‘Believe’ by Saatchi & Saatchi and Flying Fish, a clear favourite with 47 percent of the public’s text vote.  Youtube Video

Genesis Energy’s ‘Pukeko‘ by DraftFCB and Robber’s Dog took 30 percent, Instant Kiwi’s ‘Believe it or Not’ by DDB and Good Oil nabbed 12 percent and Tower’s ‘Brian and Lisa—Poochi’ from AIM Proximity (which, like Cadbury Eyebrows the year before, achieved that notable advertising feat of being in both the best and worst ad categories) took 11 percent.

Harvey Norman’s ‘Sale‘ ads, which are done in-house and usually brought over from Australia, achieved exactly what they set out to do—annoy viewers into noticing them—and, as a result, it took the dubious honour of the nation’s most hated ad with 31 percent of the vote. Sky’s Titanic-inspired ‘Happy Place’ by DDB and Tower’s sexy lawnmowing were tied for second on 25 percent and Keith Quinn and his Cigna funeral insurance was the least hated of the most hated with 19 percent.

Tower wouldn’t let AIM Proximity talk about the campaign with Fair Go (the ads do seem to bear the mark of Colenso, but that’s another story) and Sky and DDB were the only agency pairing brave enough to turn up and swallow their worst ad medicine. After ex-DraftFCB and now DDB managing director Justin Mowday happily basked in the reflected glow of his past agency’s EFFIE success recently, it was perhaps a small piece of poetic justice that he had to take responsibility for the Sky spot that made it into the worst ad category. Still, as he said, everyone’s aiming for awareness in this business. And as Bill Bernbach, that great repository of amazing quotes once said: “If you don’t get noticed, everything else is incidental.”

There was also the regular collection of cheesy spoof ads from the Fair Go team and a fairly entertaining faux-interview with DraftFCB/Pak n Save’s Stickman about half way through chapter four here. You can also check out a behind the scenes animation lesson here.

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