Year in Review: Caroline Rainsford, Google New Zealand

Every year, StopPress asks players in the local industry for their reflections on the marketing year that was. Here’s what Caroline Rainsford, country director for Google New Zealand, had to say.

1. Favourite local campaign that isn’t yours

The amazing Valentines ballad for DB Export from Colenso BBDO – ‘I’m drinking it for you’, as part of a larger integrated campaign. This is fantastic because at its core it is quintessentially Kiwi, but shows that great Creative doesn’t need to be constrained by traditional time lengths of a 30-second or 60-second spot.

2. Favourite campaign that is yours

Google’s Helpfulness Campaign – ‘Here to help’. Communicating in a foreign language. Enabling creative lessons in classrooms. Finding vital information during a natural disaster. This marketing campaign from the US reminds people of the different ways that Google products can be helpful, in moments big and small.

3. Favourite international campaign

Renault All-New Clio – ’30 Years in the Making’ tells an emotional love story, almost through the eyes of the Clio car. We see the vehicle evolve through the decades alongside society and the two protagonists. Not to mention a timeless track (Wonderwall) that draws you in.

4. Least favourite campaign

By Sandy Hook Promise – ‘Back to School Essentials’. This incredibly powerful piece of creative shouldn’t even need to exist. It really is an emotional gut punch. I love the execution but it pains me that children in the US need to even worry about gun violence in schools.

5. Your own biggest success

Despite challenges this year, I’m proud of the way the Google New Zealand team has stepped up. We recently hosted a YouTube Incident Response Workshop in Wellington, in consultation with the NZ Government and GIFCT companies, as part of our ongoing commitment to the Christchurch Call. I’m also really proud of how Google is investing in New Zealand. Fromdigital skills, supporting YouTube creators to making sure New Zealand’s iconic beauty is captured in Street View. The Google New Zealand team is also growing and we’re now nearly 50 strong with a new office in Auckland.

6. Most significant launch/innovation/thing of the year

What excites me the most about Google is its commitment to innovation, and ambition to apply ground-breaking Artificial Intelligence in a way that aims to improve the lives of many – especially through healthcare. Emerging technologies present new ways to innovate and elevate healthcare, for example in India they’re using AI algorithms to better detect diabetic retinopathy. It’s incredible!

7. Best brand

I had the privilege of meeting Tim Brown this year – the founder of AllBirds. Tim started life as a professional footballer playing for New Zealand. He also played league football, taking up his position in midfield for Newcastle Jets in Australia and Wellington Phoenix. Since his days playing football Tim always had an interest in shoes. He felt they were a category that was over-designed and over-logoed and saw an opportunity to make shoes out of natural materials, something which had been overlooked so far.

Together, with Joey Zwillinger, he began developing their idea for a sustainable shoe. Together, they crafted a revolutionary wool fabric made for footwear. After developing their process and perfecting their model, Allbirds officially launched on 1 March 2016 with only just one shoe.

Much like their shoes, the brand is simple, clean whilst using inspirational messaging and images. Their customers trust the brand and in turn are huge advocates! I now have three pairs.

8. Heroes

Google’s recently released 2019 Year in Search video is attribute to the heroes around the world. Throughout history, when times are challenging, the world goes looking for heroes. And this year, searches for heroes — both superheroes and everyday heroes — soared around the world. I think it’s a lovely look at the many varied, interesting and impressive heroes in our world.

9. What died in 2019?

Prime time! Right now, we’re at the centre of the biggest change in how people around the world watch video content, and with this comes a revolution of the traditional “primetime”. Instead of any single block of the day when the biggest audience sits down to watch something, it is now much more individual and suited to personal needs, schedules and curiosities. The rise of online video means viewers now demand the freedom to watch whatever they want, whenever they want, wherever they are, on any device! Digital video is booming as people increasingly seek out content that delivers on their immediate needs and passions – and they’re no longer beholden to set programming schedules.

10. What’s the biggest mistake marketers will make in 2020?

The greatest mistake that marketers will make in 2020 is not taking action and changing the way they have done things in the past. Now is the time for advertisers to be inspired, rather than do things the same way they’ve always been done.

We are at such a pivotal point in marketing evolution and what I describe as the “great separation” is underway. The gap is growing between businesses that are leveraging data, Machine Learning and automation to anticipate a user’s intent to drive business results vs. those businesses who don’t. And this great separation poses an existential threat to the future of a client’s business to be on the wrong side of this gap.

Businesses that are winning are understanding the signals of intent, and even predicting intent. They aren’t marketing to the average, instead, they are understanding their most valuable customers, and investing to attract and retain them. We get the privilege of seeing some incredible New Zealand businesses grow and take on the world and the one thing they all have in common is that they are embracing this change!

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

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