Year in Review: Ant Salmon, Big Communications

Every year, StopPress asks players in the local industry for their reflections on the marketing year that was. Here’s what Ant Salmon, managing director of Big Communications, had to say.

1. What is your favourite local campaign that isn’t yours

As the youngest of four sons, the VW youngest brother campaign resonated with me. It was a nice return to VW brand territory, and the VW Marketing Manager is someone I know and like so I’m really pleased for her.

2. What is your favourite campaign that is yours

We kicked off the year with RNZ National and ended it with a new brand campaign for Barfoot & Thompson. I can’t separate them.

3. What is your favourite international campaign

I really like ‘Spotify for the ride’.

4. What is your least favourite campaign

It’s not for me to have a crack at other specific campaigns but I’ll make a general criticism: a lot of outdoor advertising is a bit shit.

5. What is your own biggest success in 2019?

Helping to keep Big relevant 17 years after we started the agency and along the way maintaining some longstanding and very special client relationships.

6. For you, what is the most significant launch/innovation/thing of the year?

The removal of plastic bags, and bags in general, from the retail experience is huge. It’s a bit last century to talk about tipping points, but it feels like this is one of them.

7. What should be un-invented? 

Fortnite. In a world where people are queuing up to be outraged by the relatively innocuous, I find the lack of outrage about mass murder as entertainment to be outrageous.

8. What do you think is the lamest trend?

The use of the word lens.

9. What are your best brands?

There’s one brand in particular I’ve been following this year out of curiosity. I’m not really a shoe person but I find the thoughtfulness and precision of the execution of the Allbirds brand to be very impressive. Exquisite design – from the shoes, to the store/website layout, to the chairs in the store, to the packaging. Super simple payment and receipt process. A no questions asked returns policy. Yes, I know they have a purpose around sustainability and using natural ingredients in their products, but that is 0% of why I choose to buy their product. They just seem to have got everything right (including their PR response to their imitators), in a world where a lot of companies/brands think that some newly invented purpose or virtuousness will be enough.

10. Best stoush for you this year

Israel Folau vs Rugby Australia. Seemingly straightforward and yet so very complex.

11. Who are the Heroes?

I don’t think marketing has heroes but the marketers I respect and admire most are the ones that don’t let their egos or their own personal preferences get in the way of the work.

12. Who are the Villains 

Anyone who is still knowingly and fraudulently obscuring their clients’ digital marketing spend, and the clients who aren’t asking the right questions. It remains the most scandalous elephant in the room in our industry.

13. What died in 2019? 

Any last shred of the credibility of Facebook, YouTube and the other platforms that continue to facilitate the spread of hatred, violence and political interference. As Sacha Baron Cohen put it, freedom of speech is not freedom of reach.

14. What’s the biggest mistake agencies will make in 2020? 

I’ll be concentrating on trying to avoid our own mistakes, but here’s a couple of thoughts: if you haven’t got some people in their 50s in your agency, you’re probably doing your clients a disservice. And perhaps spend a little less time on Linkedin and a little more time in the real world.

15: If there were no laws for 24 hours, what would you do?


Year in Review is brought to you by oOh!media.

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