Trade Me aims for the feels and shows off new look in latest brand campaign

Trade Me has launched a new brand campaign called ‘Life Lives Here’ via DDB, opting for a more emotive approach to connect with Kiwis.

The online trading platform attempts to provide the “slice of life moments that thousands of Kiwis experience through the site every day”, a release says.

The TVC highlights the fact that behind every transaction is a person and therefore a story. In one example the banal chair is used to demonstrate what an object can mean to different owners: whether it’s destined to be used to drink tea on, dance on, sleep on, be pushed over at a punk concert or have wheels added to its frame and turned into a go cart (of sorts).

The release says a more emotional direction has been a long time in the making for the online marketplace, and that the latest campaign is driven by a desire to foster a stronger emotive connection with the brand among the legion of New Zealanders for whom it is an invaluable daily destination.

Trade Me marketing director Dan Ferguson told StopPress that for ages the Trade Me brand has developed organically, based primarily on gut feel and instinct. “However, as we’ve ramped up our marketing efforts in the different parts of our business, we’ve seen the potential risk for things to get a little confusing for our audience. We’ve also done a heap of research – talking to our staff, our members, our clients – to better understand how the Trade Me brand is perceived by our members and New Zealand,” he says.

“Turns out, that Trade Me is much more than just a place to ‘buy and sell’. This campaign builds on these findings, and zeroes in on the multi-faceted role Trade Me plays in the lives of New Zealanders.”

He says during shooting an abundance of watermelons were destroyed – and that there was a lot going on with about 60 scenes filmed across 10 locations. 

“Behind the scenes at our end, we’ve also had stories land, including one from a bloke in Canterbury who has built a house with almost everything involved sourced via Trade Me. It’s constantly humbling and awesome to see how our members use the things we’ve made over the years – we know there are so many stories here.”

The armchair sure goes through a lot in the ad, we joked, but Ferguson assures this won’t put people off.

“Since its inception Trade Me has helped extend and renew the life of items, so we don’t think this will be offputting. The armchair in question is here at the Trade Me office in Wellington. Keep an eye out for it onsite at some stage too.”

This isn’t the only move Trade Me has made to refresh its persona, just last week it unveiled a new logo, replacing its logo for the first time in 16 years with an updated version of Kev the Kiwi.

In an announcement about the new logo on its website said the brand had grown organically since Sam Morgan founded the company in 1999, and it had recently done a bunch of work to better understand how its perceived.

“We wanted to develop our brand, make it more consistent, and make sure we’re protecting and nurturing it the best we can.”

The announcement said it reconsidered what the logo represented. “As you can see, the new edition keeps Kevin the blue kiwi at centre stage. We love Kev, he’s an important part of our history and our future,” the announcement said

“Kevin emerged from the pen of Trade Me staffer Nigel Stanford all those years ago, and was named by another staffer, Rowan Simpson. Trade Me members noticed the file name for the logo was “kevin.gif” – and Kevin was born,” the announcement said. 

“Like us, Kev has grown up over the last 16 years. We felt he needed to evolve to better reflect the contemporary Trade Me and where we’re headed next.”

DDB chief creative officer Damon Stapleton says the campaign serves to remind people of what they know already.

“Over the years, Trade Me has been a big part of hundreds of thousands of people’s lives. It’s where you found your new flat, your new house, your new job — maybe it’s where you found the suit you wore when you proposed to your wife,” he says

“We want to celebrate these stories and show that life really does live here.”

The campaign will be supported through TV, outdoor digital and social channels.

Emotional storytelling has become an integral way for brands to reach out to their target audience. Momentology says consumers are no longer being presented with products, instead with “a vision of what that brand means for consumers and how they feel”.

Momentology also points to a study published in Psychology Today by Antonio Damasio, Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Southern California. The study says fMRI neuro-imagery shows that when evaluating brands, consumers primarily use emotions (personal feelings and experiences) rather than information (brand attributes, features, and facts).

Hell, even the Briscoes lady has changed her approach

According to Trade Me’s full year 2015 annual report, its financials continue to be on the incline.

Last year, its revenue was up 11 percent to $199.7 million from 2014 ($180.1 million). EBITA was up four percent on 2014 to $13.4 milllion. In 2013, its revenue was $164.1 million.

Net profit after tax was up 0.1 percent on 2014 to $80.2 million (with underlying NPAT up three percent to $81.8m).

Chief executive Jon Macdonald said in the report, that 2015 had been a year of encouraging progress.

“We’ve been improving our products, making investments and strengthening our teams. Our efforts are starting to deliver returns, and we’re confident about the opportunities in front of us,” he said.

“We have continued to be careful and focused our resources and attention on areas where we expect the best return, in particular zeroing in on mobile, our ‘general items’ marketplace and Trade Me Property.”

He said he was confident there would be plenty of growth opportunities for Trade Me in the medium to long-term.

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