The Year in Review: Michael Goldthorpe

​Michael Goldthorpe runs his own consultancy called Hunch and, inbetween doing actual work, he has written some wonderful things for StopPress over the past couple of years, the most wonderful being his extremely well-received piece on how “mad people are attracted to advertising, just as advertising is attracted to us“. So here he is writing some more about the year that was. 

1) Favourite campaign that isn’t yours

Westpac ‘flatties’. An insightful insight, executed beautifully. I also like the execution of the drug driving spot at the dairy and the bakery. And I can’t help but smile every time I’m invited to Pak ‘n Save. 

2) Favourite campaign that is yours

TVNZ’s Shortland Street Clues. It’s not my campaign, but I was lucky enough to be involved and help give it a nudge along the way. Great fun, Blacksand are a great team to work with and it was the first time I’ve ever written a pyschometric profile.

3) Least favourite campaign

Without any understanding of briefs, budgets, timelines or challenges, it’s not really cricket to bag anyone else’s work. But I do get frustrated when ads tell me what they think I should do, without making the effort to understand why I might be interested.

4) Your own biggest success

Letting go of stuff. When you’re a small team, it’s easy to think you can do everything. But that’s not true. For us, this year has been about discovering who we can lean on and everything they can add to make things better.

5) Most impressive performance

Karen Baker. She’s awesome. Karen jumped in as a contract suit at a very busy time. She hit the ground running, got stuff sorted, made life easy. No job too big or too small and she was always really, really nice about it.

6) Biggest move

Not necessarily biggest but an ‘about time’, well-planned and apparently well-executed move was the merger of JustOne and .99. Ben Goodale’s a great guy who has built a fantastic team. 99. seem to be on fire again. And ‘biggest’ is relevant if you’ve ever been invited to choose a seat from among the many couches in Ben’s new office.

7) Best innovation

For me it has to be the really clever thing they did with the milk. Don’t know about anyone else, but my milk has never tasted fresher or more .. well.. milky. And the added benefit is the exercise you get when you need to lift the bottle and measure its weight every time you want to know how much you have left.

8) Best brands

For honesty and authenticity, I like Pak ‘n Save. Also, I love what Saatchi and Origami have done with the Telecom brand. It’s visually bright and colourful, tonally fun. And really, really easy to work with. Thank you.

9) Best stoush

Not exactly huge, but apparently Progressive had a 24-hour sale in-store and online. Then somewhere in the door drop, they highlighted the online shopping hours as being less than 24 hours (what with delivery and all that). So Mr concerned from Hawkes bay wrote to the ASA who responded and I believe it was all settled. And we’re all better off because of it.

10) Heroes

Diabetes New Zealand (full disclosure: DNZ is a foundation client of ours and we’ve worked and grown with them for over four years). Led by a small team in Wellington they do incredible work for people with diabetes. Earlier this year they expertly (and internally) managed what could have been a divisive PR crisis with honesty, integrity and humility. And I personally suspect that the $7 million bump in this year’s budget was partly down to them doing their thing and lobbying for the cause. People like Chris Baty and Lisa Woods (among others) are super-smart women who quietly get on with it and make New Zealand a better place.

11) Villains

Time. Everything all of us do would be better with a little more time. We need Sky to extend its technology so we can time-shift work like we do with the telly.

12) Most memorable marketing moment

I wasn’t there. But Mike Cunnington totally deserved his prize at the TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards. I was lucky enough to kick-start my career in a boat with his hand on the tiller. Absolutely one of the smartest and nicest guys in advertising. Much respect. 

13) A few predictions for 2014

Budgets can’t get tighter. Timelines surely can’t be shorter. But automation will continue to grow, cutting profit margins and forcing agency beanies to scramble and re-work the model … again. Most importantly, I believe that agencies will finally get better at working together. Because we have to. Clients want it. Brands need it. And when it works, it works really well. Right now, agency collaboration is a little like the perfect wedding: we all believe the fairytale, we usually look back with fond memories. But it never quite goes down like that on the day. 

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