YoungShand only NZ agency contender for ‘Best of the Best’ at Global Effie Awards

Last week, the Global Effie ‘Best of the Best’ contenders were revealed, with YoungShand emerging as the sole New Zealand agency to earn this recognition. Out of 125 countries, only 54 campaigns made the cut, and New Zealand proudly presented two among them.

YoungShand’s campaign —’Unseen Emergencies’ for New Zealand Blood Service stood out on this international stage, along with ‘Tina from Turners’ which was done by Turners via a selection of agencies, freelancers, and extended with some in-house resource. Duncan Shand of YoungShand shares with StopPress what went into creating work worthy of this international recognition.

Tell me how hard is it to do this?

Winning Effies at any level locally or internationally is tough. Effies are about everything that goes into the work to produce great results; the strategy, the creative, the media, all working together to drive great results. You have to nail everything, getting any one element wrong will ruin the whole campaign. You also have to be able to demonstrate the results. 

You can also see how hard it is to achieve this from the numbers. In New Zealand there were 7 Gold Effies. Golds aren’t awarded in every category, you have to meet a strict criteria. Then all the Golds from all 125 markets are then judged for the global ‘Best of the Best’. And from all these entries YoungShand is the only New Zealand agency up for an award. 

Why are Effies important for the agency?

While this is a great result, and clearly one not easy to achieve, it is a symbol of the sort of work we want to do. Every agency talks about the power of creativity and if it was that simple we’d see many more campaigns achieving Gold Effies. Driving really effective work takes more than just great creative. 

Of course strong bold creative is critical but the goal for us isn’t just creativity. We’re focused on helping challenger brands make transformative differences and really take on the market leads. Doing this required clear, measurable growth. So having three different clients with three very different campaigns recognised at the Effies is significant.

What do you do differently that makes more effective advertising?

I think the environment matters. Being an integrated agency means less handoffs, lower costs, faster work, higher standards and ultimately better results. We clearly believe in the value and the power of an integrated agency offering. 

Being able to develop strategy, create bold ideas, develop engaging experiences and drive media results means we take responsibility for driving performance. This integrated approach means things happen faster, every hand-off that happens from one agency to another means duplication, cost and time.

What changes are you making to the way the agency works?

The recent additions of Sue Kipling and Corey Chalmers to the YoungShand team has elevated things to the next level. They both bring over 20 years of experience at the most senior levels in the biggest agencies in Auckland. Within their first few weeks collaborating together they are already making significant changes to the way YoungShand are thinking and working. 

Our approach to integrated strategy is holistic with the customer at the centre. By holistic what we mean is we think about performance as being about more than just the ads. It’s about building a strong, long term brand, and yes that means telling bold engaging stories, but it’s also about driving better sales by developing strong sales messaging, building an engaging culture by giving the team a purpose to believe in and values to live up to. Lastly it’s about developing a great customer experience with strong moments that matter that build real loyalty. A stronger focus on strategy and the whole customer experience is really going to be the biggest change in the year ahead. 

At the heart it’s all about the customer and that’s what we always come back to. How can we develop strong brands that offer something new, something fresh, something better? 

What’s your outlook for the future?

We’ve only just started entering our work in the Effies and so far every piece has finished first in its category. And while we certainly have elevated the work of the last 2-3 years, I think our best work is ahead of us. The new team are fired up and we’re excited about the projects we’ve got in front of us. 

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