Top ten most-read StopPress stories of 2016

It goes without saying that every year has its highs and lows, and as we over at StopPress look to wind down the last 365 days with a tipple and a cheer, it’s also time for us to look back at which stories really managed to hit the mark in 2016. 

In the advertising world, Saatchi & Saatchi opened the year with a number of high profile departures, while Burger King and Spark’s latest campaigns both managed to make an impression. And while the world mourned the loss of legendary greats from Bowie to Ali, those in the industry were also hit with the unfortunate passing of one legendary Kiwi ad man.

It’s been a big year for New Zealand media, with changes abound for both the personnel and companies that populate this country’s small yet fascinating media landscape. But it was the news of former New Zealand Herald editor Tim Murphy and former Mediaworks news chief Mark Jennings teaming up that garnered the most love, with two stories entering the top ten. 

But enough chit chat of what’s to come, take a look at which stories got readers clicking and typing away the most this year:

10. Ad legend Len Potts closes his notebook 

In a sad bit of news this year for the advertising world, industry legend Len Potts passed away in October after a short illness, just shy of his 75th birthday. His long and illustrious career brought him in contact with many prominent members in the ad world, such as Roger MacDonnell who reminisced with StopPress about ‘Pottsy’, who he describes as “a dear friend and probably the funniest guy I’ve ever met.” 

9. Digital advertising entrepreneur Tim Pointer makes the Forbes ’30 Under 30′ list 

Hailing from Wellington and just 27-years old, Tim Pointer made headlines earlier in the year by making it on to one of Forbes’ prestigious ’30 Under 30′ lists. The digital advertising entrepreneur and founder of Uprise was the only New Zealander to be recognised in the Forbes 30 media and advertising category in Asia.

8. Pandora NZ’s former commercial director Melanie Reece lifts the lid on lawsuits, ‘bullying’ and ‘a toxic environment’

Describing the workplace in some less-than-flattering words, Pandora NZ former commercial director Melanie Reece opened up to StopPress about why she left the radio streaming service earlier this year. Despite stating her departure was motivated by the company’s “toxic environment”, Pandora subsequently released a statement insisting that Reece had left for “personal and family reasons”. While some readers accused Reece of waging an ill-advised personal vendetta, others praised her “courage” and “selflessness” for choosing to speak out.

7. ‘Well, that’s one way to announce your arrival’

While the hubbub around the potential Fairfax/NZME merger continues, Tim Murphy and Mark Jennings decided to take things into their own hands, announcing their latest media venture, Newsroom, on the website just two weeks ago. No doubt discussions like these were aplenty in the lead up to the launch. 

6. Saatchi & Saatchi chief executive Nicky Bell resigns, hands agency leadership to Paul Wilson

Big changes happened at Saatchi & Saatchi this year with Nicky Bell announcing an end to her six year tenure as chief executive. The news was shortly followed by another high profile departure, with director of strategy Murray Streets departing just days later. Despite the high-profil departures, Saatchi has also had a few more positive stories, adding Electric Kiwi and My Food Bag to its list of clients throughout the year.

5. Spark gets emotive as it launches first big brand ad via Shine and Colenso

In a shift from its mostly product-focused advertising, Spark looked to pull at the heartstrings with this sentimental episode of father-daughter bonding. There was, however, plenty of criticism from StopPress commenters, the majority of whom praised the idea but despaired at its execution. 

​4. Us&Co aims to be the agency of the future 

This story behind up-and-coming creative agency Us&Co drew readers in to find out what it was all about. But judging by some of the comments, not everyone was looking to welcome the new kids on the block.

3. Burger King attracts hungry mouths as Backyard BK receives thousands of entries

Just shy of the top spot crown, Burger King’s strategy to give away deconstructed kits of their flame grilled whoppers worked like a charm, whipping fast food lovers into a frenzy. After running the competition for four days, Burger King received more than 11,000 entries and currently boasts over 4000 likes on its Facebook post.

2. Dream team? Mark Jennings and Tim Murphy join forces, announce plans to launch news site 

At this point, Newsroom hadn’t yet entered into the realm of existence. But the idea was there, and the announcement that two news media heavyweights were pairing up in the war against clickbait was enough to send speculation running.

1. NZ’s top ten followed Instagram accounts and the marketability of ‘social influencers’ 

With thousands upon thousands of devoted followers, social influencers have become a new kind of kingmaker. Lorde, Dan Carter, Shannon Harris, and Jamie Curry were among those that topped the list of most followed Instagram accounts in the country. And although this article first appeared in 2015, it’s managed to skyrocket itself to the top spot, presumably due to when you search the words ‘Instagram New Zealand’, it comes up as the third highest result (thanks Google!)

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