The Year in Review: Claudia Macdonald

Mango Communications got Kiwis on their side in 2013 with the ‘Freedom Friday’ campaign that encouraged Kiwis to reduce the work week. But the year wasn’t all about fun in the Bay of Islands sun. It also had a busy year working with a range of clients—around 25 percent of which are aligned to DDB—and helped deal with some big changes to the DDB’s executive team (it also farewelled Bob Glancy for a life in literature). Mango’s managing director and CAANZ marcomms leadership group member Claudia Macdonald reflects on the year and divines on what the future might hold.

1) Favourite campaign that isn’t yours

The WestJet Christmas Giving campaign is the sort of work we’d like to be doing here. A great idea that combines all elements of marketing, and is superbly executed. The audacity of it is pretty cool – imagine how many bosses and corporate comms teams would have said no because of the risks. Plus it brought a tear to my eye, which means it engages the emotions.  

In New Zealand, it would be Contagion’s campaign for Tasti. Kiwiana to the extreme. But that damn song gets stuck in my head, how bizarre, how bizarre.

2) Favourite campaign that is yours

No tears here but I do love our work for Bay of Islands. The idea for ‘Freedom Fridays’ came from our own summer hours, during which DDB gives staff Friday afternoons off during summer (all work being done, of course). We wanted to show Aucklanders that the Bay of Islands is a great place for a weekend away, so we encouraged them to take the afternoon off and head north.  It’s an integrated campaign driven by Mango’s strategy and it’s working. Beaut.

3) Least favourite campaign

Colgate toothpaste ads. Why do they need to be so anodyne?  Charts and graphics and dubbed voice-overs. Arrgh. And personally I hate pop up ads on websites. Especially the ones that crawl over your page. Never, ever watch them. Ever.

4) Your own biggest success

Getting a silver for the Bay of Islands ‘Freedom Fridays’ campaign at the EFFIES. PR was one of the first categories announced and for a brief moment there, Mango was third on the agency ranking list, up on the big screen. So exciting. I have captured it on film.

5) Most impressive performance

Instagram – better than Pinterest and more interesting than Twitter. Plus it’s simple and targets younger audiences. Snapchat is also proving a winner as is Tinder (or so the young ones tell me).

6) Biggest move

Bauer looking to buy APN Magazines. In the PR world, we’re hoping there won’t be any further reduction in our channel options.

Scariest move – media owners creating ‘creditorial’. Call me old-fashioned but I like to know that the things I read in the paper, see on the news and view online are there because of their value, not because someone has paid money. It’s just a sneakier way of doing advertorials. Mind you, I’ll probably have to eat my hat as we look for new ways to get our ‘news’ into traditional media channels.

7) Best innovation

Feminism – OK, so it’s been here before, but we need to resurrect it. After Roast Busters and the reappearance of some rather sexist ads, it’s time we reminded people that treating women as objects is not ok. For lots of backup for this statement, check out Mediawomen NZ on Facebook.

8) Best brands

  • YWCA – for getting active again and saying things that matter
  • Georgie Pie – a legend never dies
  • Lorde – a star is born and hyped and hyped by the media. Luckily she’s good.

9) Best stoush

America’s Cup – what a fight. It gripped a country for weeks on end. We thought we couldn’t bear to watch it any more but still we kept coming back to pick that sore, one more time. Pity we lost. Imagine the party otherwise.

10) Heroes

People who raised money for others – from DDB Asia Pacific sending $25,000 to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines to Kate at work helping a friend raise funds for orphans in Ghana.

Sandy Moore – semi-retired from DDB, gave me my best job (this one) and a truly nice and talented human being. He undoubtedly raises money for others less able than himself (see above).

11) Villains

Politicians who capitalise on others’ stupidity for their own gain. Karma will get you in the end. Ditto those in the news media.

12) Most memorable marketing moment 

The death of Nelson Mandela was orchestrated by both his family and the ANC from the moment he went into hospital. It is a sad testament to how politics and vested interests tried to overshadow the death of one of the last century’s greatest visionaries. In the end, he had the last laugh via the Monty Python-esque sign language expert at his state memorial.

13) A few predictions for 2014

More blurring of the lines between what agencies do and deliver, the channels the media offer and the ways in which a marketer’s money can be split. Channel proliferation will peak, with some falling by the wayside while new ones get invented, and more and more campaigns will be socially led.

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