1. Favourite local campaign that isn't yours
The '#Give Nothing to Racism' campaign fronted by Taika Waititi and others on behalf of the Human Rights Commision was a fantastic tongue-in-cheek campaign. Framed within a “racism needs your help” context, the message was pitch perfect - a direct call to action laced in irony. The HRC reports that over a third of their complaints are about racism and that this number is growing. Well done to the HRC for nailing the message that casual racism is a “gateway” to full-blown racism and is a real threat to all of our livelihoods.
2.Favourite campaign that is yours:
It has to be our 'Wasp Wipeout'. This was a campaign that our local Nelson editor, Victoria Guild, led to eradicate wasps in the Nelson-Tasman area. It was a huge success, garnering awards but more importantly bringing people together to affect real change in their communities. The Nelson team ran a lot of great editorial to educate people about wasps as a pest, then crowdfunded enough money to buy bait for the region and then, mobilised the community to come in, collect a map and some bait and go out and lay it. It wiped out wasps in 95-99 percent of the targeted areas. To me, it is a superb example of the role local journalism and newsrooms can play to help their communities thrive, and I was so proud to see our business embodying the values we hold dear at Stuff. Because of Victoria and her team’s dedication, we are taking the campaign to the Coromandel, Canterbury and Marlborough - this summer. So get amongst it!
3. Favourite international campaign
Although it isn’t strictly a campaign, I think it is hard to go past the impact of the #metoo movement this year. The phenomenon of social connection and change on the back of a news article, in this instance the original Weinstein story, is very powerful. It isn’t surprising Times recognised the Silence Breakers as the Person of the Year off the back of the #metoo movement that prompted millions to share stories of sexual harassment and abuse. What I think it has done is not only shone a light on the level of totally unacceptable behaviour but generally helped empower women and men to speak out against abuse and to question systems and processes that facilitate it. I have nothing but admiration for Ashley Judd and the women who followed her lead in speaking out.
4. Least favourite campaign
Mark Zuckerberg and head of social virtual reality Rachel Franklin made an incredibly bad decision to showcase themselves as avatars in their Facebook VR "magical" tour of Puerto Rico after the nation’s devastating hurricane. The misstep was loud amid cries of tasteless and offensive - lessons can always be learnt by treating people, especially those in crisis, with basic dignity.
5. Your own biggest success
We have lots to be proud of, but probably the biggest success for us is what we’ve managed to achieve this year with Neighbourly. On 1 November, we took 100 percent ownership of Neighbourly and the team, using the strength of our media assets, this brand has grown to over 700k visitors per month with well over 500,000 members. That’s a huge achievement - and it’s a product we really believe in, as can be seen by the numbers - about 300 households are signing up each day.
6. Most significant launch/innovation/thing of the year
Wouldn’t it have to be the changing of the guard in our government? Regardless of where you stand on the political spectrum, the new government, led by a 37-year-old leader who embodies so much that is positive about the next generation is the biggest thing to happen to us this year.
The second most significant innovation of the year has been the invention of a real summer for Wellington.
7. What should be uninvented?
Wasps. Hard to find anyone who supports the wasp.
8. Lamest trend
The trend for needlessly messing with perfectly good original recipes. I am looking at you Pineapple Tim Tams. Also, Pascall’s decision to change its milk bottle recipe to a dairy-free one is the wound that still bleeds three years on.
9. Best brands
Something that stood out to me this year was New World and Countdown moving to completely phase out plastic bags. It must have been a challenging decision for them, but it's great to see companies honestly facing up to environmental needs. It's a pity they didn't wait for Stuff to release its Bags Not campaign so that we could have claimed the credit, but ah well good on them.
10. Best stoush
The economists vs Steven Joyce - have we figured out yet whether there was, in fact, a gaping $11.7bn hole in Labour’s budget….?
I am always most moved by the stories of people who step up to do something positive for the lives of others. For example, Wellingtonian Mark Dunajtschik who has pledged $50m to help build a new children’s hospital in the city. What an extraordinary gift.
As a mass group, my heroes are the volunteers. Those people who are selfless in giving of themselves to community organisations, schools, sporting clubs and all the other things that help enrich people’s lives. Special shout out to the Aunties coordinating help for Women’s Refuges and Nayla Uisa, the angel of West Auckland providing basic help for homeless people with her “one act of kindness” philosophy.
The Annoying Orange takes it out hands down. Where else can you go. There are so many reasons why but today I will stick with his stance on climate change and employing people in positions of power that are out-and-out deniers. Doesn’t this man care about his grandchildren’s future? Also for repealing net neutrality in the United States.
13. What died in 2017?
The United States’ credibility as the leader of the free world.
14. What’s the biggest mistake marketers will make in 2018?
Underestimating the impact Amazon will have on their business. While that impact may not be felt for a short while, 2018 is the year to make preparations.
15. What’s the most Black Mirror/sci-fi horror thing likely to happen in the near future?
China is actually launching a social credit system that is a lot like a Black Mirror episode - it will be mandatory by 2020. Here, 1.3 billion citizens will be judged on trustworthiness.