Year in Review: James Bickford

As a popular source for journos writing branding stories and the local head of one of the world’s biggest branding agencies, Interbrand, which releases its annual report of the world’s best brands, James Bickford knows his stuff—and is never short of opinions. Here are a few more. 

1. Favorite campaign that isn’t yours

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSA2UsMpinkColor matters.
Blue, green, blue green or red? Westpac
took the opportunity to deliver a simple message in a fun way. Not telling us how
good or bad money is, no long letters, just a colourful moment to question a

2. Favorite campaign that is yours

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGLiTAUdeWkSky’s Father Time. ‘Boom!’ Great
to see a brand that has brought back the art of storytelling. A great story is
as old as time itself and in a world where brand stories matter more to
consumers this art has become vital.

3. Least Favorite Campaign

Selling a bank to an alien. A rather small target audience.

4. Best brand

A million reasons. Because they broke a
duopoly, started with a zero share and now have over a million customers, 2degrees has earned its stripes. Now that’s impressive for a wee upstart.
Its challenge now is to maintain this with its growing size and hope that
Rhys Darby’s jokes continue to stay funny and its customers keep smiling.

5. Best Stoush

Love or hate it.
Sanitarium flexed its muscles bringing court action against Rob Savage, who
imported 1,908 special edition jars of Marmite. The 1,908 jars of UK Marmite,
specially labelled ‘Ma’amite’ in celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee are
said to infringe upon Sanitarium’s trademark. Sanitarium has
refused to budge arguing UK Marmite is already available in New Zealand under
the name ‘Our Mate’ and the issue was about protecting Kiwi jobs and Kiwi
manufacturing. Could 1,908 jars
really destroy Kiwi manufacturing? Well I think you can be the judge on that.

6. Heroes

Gold! Our New Zealand
Olympic and Paralympics teams representing our nation and its brand on the
global stage.

7. Villains

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHfPRBd9dVg“We agree that
tobacco is harmful. We disagree that plain packaging will work,” says British
American Tobacco in response to possibilities that New Zealand could legislate
for plain tobacco packaging. Enough said.

8. Most memorable marketing moment 

Skinny kids and aerosol
cans. The organisers of
a skate park event kindly supplied teenage participants with spray paint who
then went on to graffiti the ‘sponsors’’ names on the ramps of the new
council-owned skate park. The organisers
generously promoted Skinny to title sponsor, which Skinny denies it was,
claiming the organisers used their logo without permission. Skinny has since
expressed regret in involvement with the event. Kids these days! 

9. A few predictions for 2013

Brands getting back to basics, enough with the
hype, let’s see some great service and experiences again.

More brands will
start to deliver from the inside out. Brand will no longer be seen as a
communications tool, with it becoming increasingly used as a guiding force for all
activities in the business.

Digital – more
brands move from short term ‘campaign likes’ to long-term engagement and story

Humanising –
brands become increasingly intuitive of people’s behaviours, not just needs and
search for more ways to interact in a meaningful way, rather than just driving
customers to the cash register. 

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