The year in review: Courtney Lambert

In the just released January/February edition of NZ Marketing magazine, we looked back on the year’s biggest events/campaigns/achievements/flops/stoushes and compiled an obligatory—and extremely definitive—end of year list. But we figured it would pay to ask a few more industry high-rollers for their thoughts on the year in marketing. We’ll be posting their responses to our questionnaire over the next week. But to get the ball rolling, watch the opinions fly as Courtney Lambert offers her take on 2010’s goods, bads and uglies.

I’d have to sum up 2010 as the year of the individual communicator. While it’s all very hipster to bang on about communities and social ecosystems, it’s been single voices, individuals such as Pike River chief executive Peter Whittall, Christchurch mayor Bob Parker, Paul Henry, Ricky Herbert, Rhys Darby, Goldstein, Paul Reynolds and Pak ‘N’ Save stickman, that come to front of mind. Oh, and that hideous Rugby World Cup song.

Customers have turned into rabid Madagascan fruit bats who are able to hunt and catch their prey through the use of their ears. If you act like a douchebag, they will claw your eyes out with their stabby little webbed appendages, so strong spokespeople have become more significant.

So who were the main players?

I love your giant Log-oh 2 degrees.

2degrees have an adorable ginger goose in Rhys Darby and he continues to tweet them golden eggs with mobile phone plan obsessed youngish New Zealanders. In 2010 they remain the only New Zealand company that is messaging consistently across traditional and new media. Yes I did say the only one.

They have already impacted pop-culture with ‘giant log-ohs’ and ‘I hope we get porridge’ and kept facing outward with post-pay pricing and a Facebook page that’s actually helpful and not just used to spam out promos. 2 degrees are fortunate to have been born in the new media era and not be so affected by the marcomms organisational design issues that plague most companies and prevent genuine two-way communication.

Now that all the cat’s rectum jokes have died down about Telecom’s own giant log-oh, the company has come back well from a shocker of an XT launch, guided through the valley of death by their fabulously 007 accented leader and his awesome hair. Paul Reynolds got out his fire extinguisher under heavy media fire (unlike the poorly advised ‘Dear Listener’ Air New Zealand try-hard viral petrol bomb video) and continued to consistently front and talk to people like they were adults and had a brain. Revolutionary!

I’m still slightly baffled as to why people hated the Richard Hammond ads so much but hate them they did. It’s Vodafone that needs to lift its game or risk getting boxed out of position. Nobody likes a third wheel and XT is a weapon now that it actually goes and I can watch YouTube from inside my bobbing shipping container in the Hauraki Gulf. You can’t beat that with a big stick

The Pak ‘N Save ‘Stickman’ series is still one of my favourite campaigns and I’m pleased to see he’s survived another year … go little fella! Proves you don’t have to be an asshole to be a low-cost provider *ahem, Jetstar, ahem*. The brand has carved out a likeable, Kiwi position off a strong promise that customers believe. Cheap to make and easy to change out but most importantly, they have stayed consistent and not flip flopped around like competitors such as Countdown (who have gone and muddied the water with a fake family fronted by someone who used to be on Shortland Street just when we were starting to really warm to Richard Till).

The Rebel Sport/Briscoes amalgamation at the backend has weirdly morphed into their ads to the point where I now think the Briscoes lady is SBW’s mum and that they live on Waiheke Island with the Beaurepaires man surrounded by 5 to 50 percent off manchester. It’d be nice if they’d all stop shouting about what they are going to do on the weekend and start saying ‘sheets and towels’ like everybody else.

Experiential Flash Mobbing To Generate Buzz

Experiential is often just a fancy term for hot students handing out free beer but Whitcoulls/3M nailed it with the Mother’s Day note campaign on Queen Street. It was on-brand, very inclusive and clever in its simplicity. Not much else to see on this front other than to point out that if you send out a press release announcing your ‘flash mob’ a week before it happens it’s not very flash. It’s a ‘scheduled gathering.’

Cadbury broke the planet

Smiling assassin Whittaker’s crooned on about fair trade and Kiwi-ness on their beautifully copy written telly ads while simultaneously feeding the media horror stories about poor homeless orang-utans that Cadbury supposedly bowled over with its evil global bulldozer of death. Boom! Instant outrage! Well played Whittakers, well played.

Oddly, Yellow then decided it wanted to play chocolatier as well with a dreadful social media roadtrip campaign that sold a lot of Yellow chocolate but unfortunately for its bankers, no classified advertising. The “New Zealand’s most anticipated chocolate bar” line in the press release was also a gem.

I hope you’ve got your fancy knickers on

Still much of the same on the government public service announcement front with ads making brown people feel bad about themselves for smoking, shaking babies and drinking and frying. The lone hope in the wilderness is the Ministry of Health – National Cervical Screening Programme ads with ‘The Van’ and ‘Socks’ showing you don’t have to talk down to people and make them hate their life to change behaviour.

Look at ME!

Huffer dude Steve Dunstan is carving himself out as Captain Cool with a Westpac, Telecom and now an Audi A1 endorsement deal based on the Ford Fiesta global campaigns. Lucky bastard. Ricky Herbert and the All Whites made soccer cool, and can we please see more of Mark Paston and the rest of the All Whites to flog deodorant and do fake mountain biking? I’m a bit Dan Carter’d out.

Shoe designer Kathryn Wilson endeared herself to the women of New Zealand with an epic rolling PR assault through fashion week. For any woman to not gush over her shoes and squeal ‘I love her shoes!’ like a dolphin now shows horrendously bad taste and lack of coolness.

Michael Hill showed some big kahunas by paying psycho hose beast Kim Kardashian to help launch his US stores. I hate to think what that cost but if the rumored USD$10,000 per tweet she got paid for Armani jeans is true, it’s a big sack of cash.

Haere ra Goldstein

Goldstein packed up and went home and has been replaced by ASB offering to help pay for me to be artificially inseminated. I have no idea what the new ads are about and the website seems to offer no further clues so my best guess is that it’s got something to do with Scientology.

The ASB Facebook Virtual Branch is a good effort at tackling the hard social media stuff and sorting out the customer care loop first before spazzing on about ‘viral’ videos and iPhone apps.

BNZ did an entirely pointless rebrand, although I’m sure someone got some sugar out of it. Westpac has continued to drift into obscurity and the National bank shot a beautiful Dr Seuss ad that won’t actually do anything but it looks pretty (like Kim Kardashian). Kiwibank weren’t as strong as last year but their fast response on the Christchurch quake mortgage holiday was impressive.

So that was my 2010. Enjoy your Christmas party and keep your hands off the interns.

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