The Year in Review: Sharon Henderson

Proudly Kiwi-owned indie agency Federation kicked off in 2008 and it pumped out a lot of work this year, with good campaigns for the likes of Warehouse Stationery, Cavalier Bremworth, Fisher & Paykel Finance and The Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind. DDB NZ’s ex-managing director Sharon Henderson opines on 2011. 

1) Favourite campaign that isn’t yours: Youtube Video Youtube VideoI’ve been internalising this very complicated situation in my head and it’s a tie-breaker between NZTA’s ‘Ghost Chips’ campaign and ASB’s new ‘Experience’ campaign. Both very different categories and target audiences, but both category breaking campaigns and very, very memorable. Great work and great to also see how both brands have integrated social media into their campaigns.

2) Favourite campaign that is yours: Youtube VideoDefinitely our Q Card brand relaunch. Consumer finance is a category that’s very hard to make a step-change in, especially during the middle of a global economic recession that just seems to go on and on and on. But, just quietly, our brand relaunch for Q Card is one of the most hard-working and successful campaigns of 2011. We are very proud of what it has achieved for our client Fisher & Paykel Finance, and it would be fair to say they’re pretty thrilled with the growth it’s given them, and the massive shift in brand engagement it’s created with their customers.

3) Least favourite campaign: Youtube VideoI put this question to the whole agency who were unanimous about it: Telecom’s smartphone campaign. When they hear that opening line of the TVC, “Life starts with tears…”, it’s taken as a cue to rush from their living room for a cup of tea or comfort stop.

4) Best brand: I’m still liking ASB. Banking has been one of the more ‘wallpaper’ marketing categories for a few years now. Few banks have managed to differentiate. ASB changed all that a year ago, and has continued with its Experience campaign. Full marks.

5) Best stoush: Rugby World Cup definitely brought out the boxing gloves in some of New Zealand’s best-known brands. Who could forget the stoush between Heineken and Steinlager? A cunning plan by Steinlager saw the official sponsor Heineken looking like an unofficial sponsor for a while. Then there was the stoush between the New Zealand public and Telecom over its ‘Abstain’ campaign. Luckily Telecom had the grace to stand up and say ‘Ooops, sorry, we made a mistake.’ I like their actions a whole lot better than the campaign. To admit an error like that in such an open way simply made them very human. Not a bad thing for our national telco brand to be.

6) Heroes: Graham Henry, Richie McCaw and the rest of the All Blacks – New Zealand’s heroes of 2011. And the unsung heroes in Christchurch who helped save lives after the earthquake in February deserve special mention, as does 22 year old Sam Johnson and his Student Army who helped with the clean up.

7) Villains: News of the World and news media who fall foul of privacy ethics. The phone-hacking story and the unbelievably unethical activities that have been revealed continue to unfold. They should be a wake-up call for new press standards all around the world, including here in New Zealand.  Marketers in most Western countries have had to abide by privacy laws and regulations for more than a decade. We even have a Privacy Commissioner in New Zealand for that purpose. It’s time for equivalent standards on the other side of the fence.

8) Most memorable marketing moment: I will ‘abstain’ from saying.

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