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The Year in Review: Ant Salmon

The tenth year of Auckland indie Big Communications has been another solid one, with new clients like Motorcorp, Barfoot & Thompson, ATEED and The Langham, and more good stuff as part of the long-running Vero campaign. Managing director Ant Salmon goes long. 

1)
Favourite campaign that isn’t yours

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0N4bwMR2-ewI just love the Mastercard/All Blacks campaign. It doesn’t
make me want to get one but I do hope it’s worked its Adidas socks off for them.
The writing, the talent, the performance, the direction (and the introduction
of Nonu Nonu Nonu Boom! into the vernacular), it just makes me laugh every
time. And it’s a very rare example of the central creative idea translating
well into other media. When I see the little fella hugging Richie on an Adshel,
or hear him phoning Richie from the curry house in the radio ads, it makes me
momentarily very happy.

 2) Favourite campaign that is yours

Sorry, but it’s a dead heat. We were instrumental in developing a new ticketing
product for the Blues in 2012, True Blues. From a standing start we sold over
4,000 four-game or eight-game prepaid passes to Blues home games. As the weather and
the playing performance deteriorated over the course of the season, the
financial benefit to the franchise was critical, as fans had pre-paid for games
they ended up not coming to. The price was so ridiculously affordable that our
research shows us there is no residual resentment and they’ll be back for more
in 2013.

I loved the campaign we did for Barfoot &
Thompson’s sponsorship of the ITU World Triathlon final. It put a smile on a
lot of faces, made a great and unlikely connection between real estate and
triathlon, was hugely popular across the Barfoot & Thompson network and I
gather is now being held up in Triathlon circles outside of New Zealand as an
example of best-practice sponsorship leverage.

3)
Least favourite campaign

This sounds horribly grumpy, but there’s actually a
fair amount of stuff I don’t like. Mostly, it’s the campaigns built on a false
‘insight’ that piss me off; the financial services and beer categories are
riddled with them. I am also becoming slightly irrational about the over-use of
the word ‘Kiwi’ in New Zealand advertising. I can’t imagine there’s a country
anywhere that’s quite so obsessed about mentioning its nationality at every
opportunity (declaration: I’m English, but I love it here). The winner? It doesn’t make it a bad campaign, but
when I hear ‘Ain’t nothing gonna break my stride’ I just have to switch channel
or station (declaration: Big has an insurance client). 

4)
Best brand

Britomart, for its vision, innovation, strategy, execution
and consistency (declaration: Big is a Britomart tenant). 

5)
Best stoush

The ‘milk wars’ were terrific. Nosh played a really
good hand; not only did they make (win?) a very good argument on the milk issue,
it was a really effective platform for them to shift the perception of their
brand from high-end expensive food store to everyday grocer (declaration: Clinton Beauvink, Nosh founder, was my
son’s soccer coach in 2001). 

6)
Heroes

There are no heroes in marketing. Real heroes fight
wars, live with a disability, spend their lives teaching or nursing… So he’s not my hero but I did think it was pretty
cool when Michael Pryor of IAG explained the decision to move the AMI business
to Colenso without a pitch because he acknowledged the pitch would be disruptive,
time-consuming and cause a loss of marketing momentum. For a senior
marketer to just skip the process was, strangely, a good thing (IMHO) because,
mostly, the process is bollocks (IMHO).

7)
Villains

The people who run advertising for strip clubs, sex
products or escort services where my young daughter can see or hear the ads. Prostitution
might be legal, but advertising within earshot or sight of children is just
wrong (IMHO).

8)
Most memorable marketing moment

It’s not every day that a brand as big as National
Bank disappears off the landscape, so although it’s not really a ‘moment’ I
have been fascinated to see how that has all played out.

9)
A few predictions for 2013

England to win the Six Nations.

England to win the Ashes
(twice).

The British Lions to win the
series in Australia.

Spurs to win the EPL.

The Blues to be the big
surprise of Super Rugby 2013.

At least one major bank to go
back to the drawing board with its advertising campaign.

New Zealand advertisers to
realise that the best place to reach me is on my iPad.

I’m having second thoughts
about the Spurs thing…

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