1. Favourite local campaign
There’s been some really great work this year, and it’s hard to nominate a single campaign. But here’s a couple that I really like at a personal level and that I think have moved their brands forward. VTNZ Road Commander still makes me smile every time I see it. It’s got people talking about the brand and it’s a genuinely likeable piece of work. Love to see how it evolves.
The other one that stands out for me is the Lotto Armoured Truck campaign, and for the same reasons. It provokes an emotional response every time you see it, and again, people talked about it. And it was based on a true story. Nice.
2. Favourite international campaign
The Colin Kaepernick Nike campaign is the one that stands out for me this year so far. It’s been highly controversial, with strong views for and against. But in a world where many brands are talking about a cause (many just paying lip service in my view) it takes a brave brand to openly support a brave man standing up for what he believes in Trump’s America. And yes, it looks like it’s paying off, but it could have easily gone the other way. Just think about what happened to Kendall Jenner and Pepsi last year.
3. Least favourite campaign
I’ll pick an international one here. In the US, the annual Superbowl every February has also become the Superbowl of advertising, with brands competing for the title of best ad, so I always watch with interest.
My least favourite campaign from anywhere in the world this year is the Dodge Ram Superbowl ad that used a voice over by Martin Luther King Jr to attempt to inspire Americans to buy a Ram truck. Every cliché in the book and so unauthentic as to almost be self-parody (unwittingly so). Utter bollix and a stark counterpoint to the Nike campaign.
4. Your own biggest success
It has to be launching Why aren’t we doing this?, the book we developed with Peter Field, urging marketers and business leaders to understand how overly sales-led advertising is negatively impacting their business in terms of long-term growth and profitability.
In recent times there’s been intense pressure on marketing outputs to constantly supply huge short-term results. An ever increasing number of effectiveness case studies, which are drawn upon by Field in the book, show businesses following this path face both the issue of wasting money and finding themselves in a downward spiral of constantly producing sales-led advertising that has no lasting impact on the business. The book addresses this issue and provides proven solutions for those brave enough to challenge existing paradigms.
5. Most significant launch/innovation/thing of the year
Lime Scooters. The idea of personal, electric shareable mobility is compelling. It will change the way people get around cities and could potentially disrupt the current crop of disrupters like Uber. They just need to execute better.
6. What should be un-invented?
The current Lime scooter. Unfortunately, the scooter design is flawed for a vehicle capable of 30kmh with deaths occurring overseas and a range of horrific injuries here in a few short weeks. There’s already a move to regulate in a number of cities around the world.
Lime did a great job of rethinking the business model, but they should have also reimagined the scooter itself and built a better mousetrap. Their constant claims that customer safety is their number one priority are already falling a bit flat and it would be a shame to see them regulated out of existence.
7. Lamest trend
Any challenge on social media that encourages you to be a dick or potentially harm yourself; the cinnamon challenge, the salt and ice challenge etc etc. Really people, get a life.
8. Best brands
The best local brands are those that have actually invested in brand building, people like Spark, Mercury and the brands mentioned above. Keep up the good work people. It will pay commercial dividends.
9. Best stoush
Jamie-Lee Ross vs the National Party. A truly bizarre episode of self –destruction for all involved and a lesson in crisis management. No one came out of it with any credit. A real shame, not least for Jamie-Lee.
Colin Kapearnik and Nike. And locally, Big Save Furniture. Thank you for not shouting at me anymore (that may have been last year actually, but the noise they made was so loud it’s still ringing in my ears)
The Commerce Commission for not allowing the merger of NZME and Stuff. We’ll look back in 5 years’ time and see just what a bad decision that was. And retailers who continue to shout at me.
12. What died in 2018?
Maybe not dead yet, but democracy in America has a severe case of something very, very nasty.
13. What’s the biggest mistake marketers will make in 2019?
Not reading Why aren’t we doing this? by Peter Field. Available to download free on the Comms Council website (shameless plug, I know, but it really is a ripping yarn)
14. How far in our future do you think The Handmaid’s Tale is?
If you live in Trump’s America, it may be frighteningly close. Fake news?….maybe not.