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The year in review: Darryn Melrose

It was heads down, bums up for M&C Saatchi last year. And the hard work obviously paid off, because the agency picked up nine new pieces of business, including Jetstar, NZTE and the new NZ Post-run directories service Localist. Darryn Melrose, who took over from Nick Baylis as chief executive in late 2009, puts in his $0.02 on 2010.

1.Favourite Campaign that isn’t yours

Youtube Video I was lucky enough to follow the All Whites around South Africa, so the Nike Write the Future campaign nailed it for me. What I really like is that it is driven by a real insight, as too often sponsorship ads are a bundle of clichés and talent cameos.

2. Favourite Campaign that is yours:

Tough picking one over another, but probably our recent Viagra work. You think it would be a creative’s dream to work on this brand, but most of what they come up with could never be allowed to air in public. This campaign is based on the insight that making the target feel bad by reminding them of the problem isn’t the best way to motivate them to do something about it. Especially when that something involves a man needing to see a doctor. All done without a collapsing basin, Harley Davidson or a couple wearing double denim.

3. Least Favourite Campaign

The ASB attack on KiwiBank earlier in the year was wrong on just about every level.

4. Best Brand

Alfa Romeo, by a mile. It’s the ultimate definition of brand preference: creating loyal followers who will continually buy from you despite the obvious and consistent product flaws. I’d like a Brera please.

5. Best stoush

Localist vs. the incumbents. The first shots have been fired, but this looks like it is going to be the interesting battle of 2011, especially as the outcome of the Rugby World Cup is already known.

6. Heroes

Facebook. Love it or hate it, it’s changing marketing so rapidly your 2009 strategy already looks like it came from the 90s.

7. Villains

Over the past six months it’s Air New Zealand’s advertising. Blow up dolls, cougars, innuendo puppetry … Awareness is not the name of the game, it’s using awareness to drive consideration and sales up, not down. It’s easy to take a brand into the gutter, it takes a lot longer to get it out again. Disclaimer: they are a competitor to our client, but this doesn’t change or influence my personal opinion.

8. Most memorable marketing moment

Oprah down under. Is it advertising, content, experiential, theatre or a documentary? I can’t believe how much coverage she got in New Zealand, so I’d hate to think what happened inside Australia. It must be costing a lot, but you know that the cost is a fraction of the value of the airtime Australia are getting, not to mention the penetration of their message into the US heartland. While it is annoying to see the Australians doing well, it does irk more knowing that we would never have allowed a giant O to appear on our Harbour Bridge.

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