The Stoppies: The Great StopPress Year in the Rear 2017 – Vote Now

Here at StopPress, the final rundown of the year always gives our team an opportunity to stop and gaze back at the moments that defined another year in the industry.  

This year, we’ve decided to bring this reflective exercise forward a tad and bring it to life in a year-end awards event, dubbed the Stoppies.

Set to occur on 6 December, this event will see the winners in each of our categories announced and presented with finely designed trophies, which may or may not double as doorstops.

But this will not be your standard awards night. You can leave your tuxedo in the mouldy region of your closet and come in whatever robes you’re wearing on the day. It’ll be a casual event with a twinkle in the eye. It’s really about bringing the industry together for a final drink and to salute the moments that defined the year.

A big thanks is due to our inaugural naming rights sponsor Stuff, who was brave enough to back our grand scheme to bring the Great StopPress Year in the Rear to life.  

Without further ado, it’s time to get voting.

The ‘Free Chicken Nuggets for Life’ Campaign of the Year Award

‘Go Balls Out’
Testicular Cancer New Zealand and FCB

When Testicular Cancer New Zealand wanted to raise awareness about the disease, they had men doing more than just checking themselves out—they were drawing penises all over the world. Developed by FCB, ‘Go Balls Out’ marked Testicular Cancer Awareness Month by challenging New Zealanders to get out on the streets, walk or run in the shape of a giant penis and testicles, share it on social media and challenge friends to do the same.

‘Little can be Huge’
Spark and Colenso BBDO

Earlier this year, Spark launched a bold new brand platform via Colenso BBDO that demonstrates size doesn’t matter when it comes to victories. Called ‘Little can be huge’, it provides an opportunity for the telco to demonstrate how its technology has a role to play in its customers’ victories while also looking at the bigger picture. For example, on Father’s Day, Spark took a look at the fictitious relationship between a solo mother and her son, who brought a tear to his mother’s eye and the audiences’ when he celebrated her on Father’s Day.

‘What do you bring to the table?’
Vogel’s and Shine 

To celebrate its 50th birthday, Vogel’s invited eight strangers to come together for breakfast and share something unique about themselves. There’s a teacher who taught in a war zone, an environmental activist who put her body in harm’s way and an unlikely speaker of Te Reo among the group. The result is a heartwarming spot that serves to showcase that being a New Zealander has less to do with the way we look and far more to do with who we are. 

‘From here to Everywhere’
Fonterra and Colenso BBDO

This year, Fonterra took New Zealanders on a tour of where its locally made products are making an impact around the world. In a series of videos and through a dedicated ‘From here to everywhere’ online platform, it shared a number of stories including how a Clandeboye dairy factory near Timaru is making mozzarella for pizzas in China, how Sri Lankans refer to milk as ‘Anchor’ and how Fonterra’s Kapuni site is producing lactose that’s helping people around the world manage their asthma.

‘Give Nothing to Racism’
The New Zealand Human Rights Commission by Clemenger BBDO

Anti-racism campaigns are nothing new but Taika Waititi’s message that “racism needs your help to survive” is a fresh approach to the cause. The spot serves to show that a smile, a cheeky giggle or a nod in agreement are all actions that keep racism thriving, so Kiwis need to do more if it’s going to be wiped out.

‘If it’s not gay, it’s not gay’
Rainbow Youth by Y&R NZ

In its first-ever TV spot, Rainbow Youth challenged the use of the word ‘gay’ as an expression of frustration or as an insult. A matter-of-fact conversation about a dropped pie serves to show everyday New Zealanders that they can make a difference by recognising the seemingly inconsequential turn of phrase has the potential to cause harm. Furthermore, the decision to set the spot in a farming scenario was made specially because Rainbow Youth found that many gay youths in rural communities lack support to come out, which in turn drives them to the city.

‘Anchor Go Strong’
Anchor and Colenso BBDO

Following the launch of its ‘Go Strong’ campaign last year, Anchor released a series of videos that use slam poetry to highlight the benefits of milk. The marriage of Grand Slam Poetry Champion Harry Baker’s lyrical skills with the visuals that bring milk’s benefits to life make it hard to turn away. Who knew milk could look and sound so good?

‘Apocalypse Steve Hansen’
Arnott’s and Y&R

It’s hard to call the ‘Apocalypse Steve Hansen’ campaign anything but epic. It brings together the All Blacks, coach Steve Hansen and international stuntwoman Zoe Bell in an unusual tale of the world falling apart after a fight over Tim Tams. When Hansen rides onto the screen, dressed head to toe in leather, you’ll think you’ve seen it all. But you haven’t. Later this month a short film is set to hit cinemas and Hansen’s world-saving ways will be revealed.

‘Reasons to care’
AA Insurance and DDB

While insurance advertising is often typified by fear-mongering, ‘Reasons to care’ does the complete opposite. Puppies, grandmas, food and ponies are (not typically) things of nightmares and putting them all in a room to watch while a voice-over attempts to relate them to insurance is so simple but so clever. We appreciate AA’s honesty in that insurance falls a lot lower on our interest lists than the things it places in the room and for that, it earned our undivided attention when the ads came on.

‘Child Replacement Programme’
Pedigree and Colenso BBDO

In an effort to see rescue dogs rehomed throughout New Zealand, Pedigree decided to take two birds with one stone: get empty nesters to replace their child with a dog. The campaign set about encouraging adoption with a series of videos, DIY projects and a dedicated website matching dogs to the characteristics of the children they would be replacing. And for those who didn’t have the space of a child to fill, it was a good way to get the message out there about the abused and neglected dogs that need a new home.

‘Hold Tight’
ANZ and TBWA Melbourne and Auckland

As a long-time supporter of the LGBTI community, this year ANZ decided to draw attention to the discomfort couples within that community can feel when holding hands in public. The powerful campaign calls on the couples to ‘hold tight’ when they’re worried about what others might think, while also encouraging Kiwis to jump on board the cause and demonstrate how we live in an accepting and open society that’s proud to celebrate diversity.

‘Let’s do this’
Labour and Augusto

Amongst the drama in the lead up to this year’s election was possibly one of the quickest campaign turnarounds ever. Following Jacinda Ardern’s appointment as leader, the party changed tack, moving away from Andrew Little’s ‘A fresh approach’ to instead signal that the election is a key moment in time, where we can either vote for more of the same, or vote for a leader and a party that has a positive vision for the future.

‘What’s your why’
Rebel Sport and Ogilvy & Mather

Last year, Rebel Sport released its ‘What’s your Why’ campaign featuring the powerful voice of motivational speaker Eric Thomas telling the stories of local athletes and what they’ve overcome to make it to a professional level. This year, the momentum continued with Sophie Pascoe’s story, which gives an insight into how Pascoe’s father caused the accident in which she lost her leg. It’s an emotional watch as she’s seen training and competing and if you aren’t feeling anything by the end, the final line ‘you know that today, your dad doesn’t see his broken little girl, today he sees a world champion’ is sure to get the tears flowing.

‘Swim Reaper’
Water Safety NZ and FCB

It’s long been said that teenagers don’t listen to lectures about how to behave and with that insight, Water Safety NZ decided to unleash the ‘Swim Reaper’. A play on the Grim Reaper, the social media campaign encourages teenagers to be safe around water by actively inviting them to be irresponsible. Lines like “Got all my ducks in a row… now just waiting to see some skulls quack” had us laughing but also feeling serious concern for people’s behaviour around water.

The ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ Client/Agency Partnership of the Year Award

FCB and Mercury

Look at the results from this year’s Effies and TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards and it’s no secret that this is a formidable pairing. This partnership is an emblem of the business results possible when the marketing team and the agency have a meeting of the minds.  

Colenso and Mars

There seems to be no limit to this partnership. Whether it’s a child replacement programme or an attachment to help pet owners take better selfies, this partnership keeps serving up unlikely creative ideas that help to entrench the brand in the consumers’ minds. This creative combination led to Mars being declared the creative client of the year at the 2017 edition of the Axis Awards.        

MBM and Whittaker’s

Coming up with ideas is one aspect of the business, but it’s equally important to ensure that those ideas are seen. And there are few partnerships in the industry that provide a better example of the power of creative media thinking. Whittaker’s has, in recent years, emerged as the market leader in its category and the strategic nous of the crew at MBM has played a major role in getting the brand there.    

True and Air New Zealand

If True and Air New Zealand had a love child, its name would have to be Consistency. Year in, year out, this pairing produces standout work. As testament, Air New Zealand was perceived as the most prestigious brand to work with according to the Marketing Perceptions study, published in the 2017 Awards Issue of NZ Marketing magazine. The high-quality creative work developed by True has no doubt played a part in shaping this perception.          


One good way to determine whether an agency and the marketing team is on the same page is by looking at what key staff say on either side of the partnership. And whether you’re talking to PHD group strategy director Simon Bird or ANZ marketing boss Astrud Burgess, you get a consistent message about painting the town blue across channels. Add in a dose of healthy digital scepticism, and you have a strong strategy that keeps the bank at the top of the pile in New Zealand.                 

AA Insurance and DDB

Insurance is a notoriously tough category, in that every player sells what is essentially the same product. Creativity is often the only thing that can make a difference. And this year, we saw AA Insurance put its faith in a somewhat crazy idea that starred puppies rather than policies. It was bold, ambitious and showed that the client in this partnership trusts the agency to do what it does best.   

Special Group and Holden

Holden general manager Kristian Aquilina recently spoke about the need to rejuvenate the Holden brand and redefine what it means to the local market. Coming along for that ride is independent agency Special Group, which has done a great job of cutting off the mullet and giving the brand a fresh look. What’s more is that the locally made work is also running across the ditch, which again reiterates the strength of this partnership.     

Clemenger and NZTA

This partnership has been built on consistency, creativity and trust over the last few years. And that continued in 2017, with Clemenger again turning on the creative taps to drive home NZTA’s road safety message. The partnership was perhaps best summarised by Clemenger BBDO managing director Brett Hoskin: “Great work is built on trust. We work with NZTA in a very open and collaborative way and are both obsessed about doing captivating work. You simply can’t push the boundaries if you don’t trust each other.”

The Russell Brand Award for Brand of the Year

Air New Zealand

Our local airline has redefined what an airline safety video should look like. Working with Hollywood celebrities Katie Holmes and Cuba Gooding Jr, to local artists Gin Wigmore and Andrew J. Steel, it’s consistent with its fun, on-brand flair. Beyond the safety videos, you’ll find a company committed to finding creative ways to address issues travellers might encounter, such as Sophie the digital human.


From the misshapen fruit initiative to help reduce wastage, a policy supporting transgender staff members, and banning all single-use plastic bags by 2018, the supermarket chain has shown it cares about its customers and the environment.


Woven deep into New Zealand’s social fabric, the company is undergoing a strategic shift from its bogan heritage to a modern, urban target market. It’s evidenced in a recent series of 30-second spots that all trumpet different vehicles and star a diverse array of drivers.


Tim Brown, the co-founder of Allbirds, battled away for years in an effort to design the perfect shoe that uses strengthened merino as the main ingredient. Now with a recently opened New York store, a partnership with Wellington creatives to celebrate quality and craft, and making Smallbirds for the little ones, it’s proving itself as a brand that’s here to stay.


ANZ made a bold start to the year with its ‘HoldTight’ campaign to show its support for the Auckland Pride Festival and the LGBT community. Its since continued that momentum with campaigns to promote its innovation, that gives its customers control over their money, as well as a series of videos that celebrate Kiwis’ welcoming attitudes with delightful characters Fynn and Arty. The pair regularly make appearances on our screens playing out actions of the way we treat our friends’ and neighbours’ homes just like our own. It might not be directly related to the bank but it supports ANZ’s position as ‘New Zealand’s Home of Home Loans’.


Spark is an example of a brand that has embraced the full diversity of the modern media mix. Emotional TV ads, strategic corporate partnerships and clever digital clips are all tied together seamlessly to present a hip brand, far removed from the lumbering antique Telecom represented. This year it also cut the ribbon on its final Boroughs basketball court, a campaign that creates spaces where Auckland’s young people can engage with a sport they love, in the ways they wanted to.


With Mercury and FCB New Zealand taking home the 2017 Grand Effie for ‘Energy Made Wonderful’ (plus three additional golds) the brand has set itself apart with an infectiously positive positioning that focuses on the difference green energy makes to the world. This year it rolled out phase two of the ‘Energy Made Wonderful’ campaign, that champions the energy-efficiency of e-bikes and builds on the momentum from phase one that earned it customer growth and an improved customer retention rate.


In a market that last year saw the emergence of 1,041 new variants of beer, Steinlager knew that doing something generic wasn’t going to cut it. The company responded by fusing Japan with New Zealand to develop a Tokyo Dry, a Japanese-styled beer that contributed 40 percent of total new product sales. Winning a Gold in Best Strategic Thinking category at the Effies 2017 and also selected by the judges as the winner of the Hardest Challenge, it’s not doing badly for something that didn’t exist a year ago.


With the big smile of domestic goddess Nigella Lawson leading the way, Whittaker’s is a brand untethered to the standard tropes of traditional confectionary advertising. It’s produced some unlikely collaborations with other well-loved Kiwi brands and reinvigorated old favourites while staying utterly committed to New Zealand and its local ingredients.


This year’s seen Kiwibank move away from traditional advertising territory to bring money to the mainstream, by pairing up with TVNZ and Nigel Latta for the successful Mind Over Money with Nigel Latta  series. But its focus wasn’t solely on improving Kiwi’s knowledge about their behaviour with money, it also continued its ‘It’s ours, is it yours?’ campaign, that demonstrates how the bank keeps its profit local.


With a swanky new table-service in the CBD, two reality TV stars dispelling rumours and a group of octogenarians taking a late night joyride to the tune of ‘Ridin’ by Chamillionaire, KFC has continued to show customers a ‘Finger Lickin’ Good’ time this year for old and young.  

Lewis Road Creamery

Peter Cullinane’s Lewis Road Creamery started off with a mission: to create a better butter. He’s moved down the dairy aisle and with savvy marketing (including a range of brilliant co-branding initiatives), a focus on its social media community and a consistent roll-out of interesting, high-quality products, it’s all going creamy and smoothly.

Nadia Lim

MasterChef winners rarely stick around for long. But Nadia Lim has endured and, with My Food Bag, helped establish the meal kit market in New Zealand along with Cecilia Robinson and Theresa Gattung. It is now diversifying its range with basic and weight-loss kits and, in recognition of her influence, she’s not only an author of cookbooks, she’s now the face of a lifestyle media empire through Bauer’s Nadia magazine.

Pic’s Peanut Butter

Down in Nelson, Pic Picot set out to create a better peanut butter and he achieved his goal with a concrete mixer and bench top grinder. It’s become a nutty smash hit – with an excellent collaboration with Lewis Road Creamery to create an icecream along the way – and now he’s selling $15 million worth of the stuff every year.  

The ‘Fearless/Underpaid Girl’ Whoopsie of the year award

YouTube safety hazards

Earlier this year, Holden, Vodafone and Tourism New Zealand all suspended advertising on YouTube on account of brand safety concerns due to their ads appearing on unsavoury sites. This forced Google to work closely with the marketing teams to ensure they won their trust back.

Tourism New Zealand ends up on Breitbart

Tourism New Zealand was called out by grassroots movement Sleeping Giants earlier this year for appearing on the Alt Right site. The government body acted quickly, joining the hundreds of other brands to have also blacklisted the site.

Facebook measurement woes

Facebook faced a tough year, being forced to acknowledge a range of measurement errors. In its defence, the social media giant did take steps to correct these errors but the company still took a hit in terms of advertiser trust.  

V Energy’s nail gun calamity

The energy drinks company had to pull a controversial ad featuring a construction worker using a nail gun as a weapon. Given the strict health and safety rules being introduced in New Zealand, the content was deemed inappropriate for local viewers.  

BurgerFuel’s racy napkin holders

BurgerFuel was rapped on the knuckles by the ASA this year for sexist serviette holders that featured hyper-sexualised caricatures of two women. The ASA board said that the illustration was likely to cause widespread offence, in turn leading to the burger chain pulling the imagery from stores.   

2Cheap Cars’ sweary wordplay

The most-complained about advertiser of 2016 continued its run in 2017, facing a string of complaints about an ad featuring the phrase ‘ah sold’, which when repeated by kids sounded a little sweary. Around 27 viewers found this offensive enough to lodge official complaints with the ASA.

EY Journalism Awards implosion

What was meant to be a night of celebrating the best in journalism, turned into a massive fiasco when NBR journalist Karyn Scherer’s hard-hitting story on the questionable sales tactics and dodgy accounting at photocopier and printing company Fuji Xerox New Zealand (an Ernst and Young client) was disqualified on account of a conflict of interest. This didn’t sit well with the journalism community, sparking a mass exodus as all major media companies pulled their entries.   

Spiked Punch gets spiked  

V Energy was accused of contributing to rape culture with a new variant called Spiked Punch. The brand then ran into further trouble when advertising for the product was emblazoned onto the back of a school bus. Suffice to say that parents did not find this appropriate.  

The Scaramucci/Bannon Stoush of the Year Award

National vs Labour

Amid the so-called Jacindamania, National attempted to focus on one of the major perceived weaknesses of Labour and created an attack ad – Let’s Tax This – that focused on its supposed penchant for new taxes (and conveniently neglected to mention some of the new taxes it had enacted in its time). Elections are always good for comparative advertising. And, when combined with the $11 billion fiscal hole that most economists said was porkies and the ads filled with fit National runners steaming past bedraggled Green and Red runners, there was plenty of prodding. But you never want to be the incumbent talking about the challenger.

Countdown vs New World

If we can’t deal with the mild inconvenience of getting rid of plastic bags, it seems there’s little hope for humanity. New World and Countdown have been in a plastic bag standoff for years, waiting for the other side to make the first move. After New World came out with a campaign asking people if they should start charging for bags (but not offering the option many wanted of completely phasing them out), Countdown swooped in, claimed the moral high ground and said they would ban plastic bags by 2018.  

Josh Moore vs the Comms Council

In an interview with StopPress this year, Y&R NZ’s Josh Moore took a rare public stand against the industry body that represents local agencies: “My view is membership makes you complicit in the behaviour of an organisation whose values are inconsistent with the direction of our industry both here and abroad. So for the foreseeable future Y&R will not renew its CAANZ membership.” Not only that, the agency has not entered any of the local awards this year. The Comms Council is yet to respond – publicly, at least.

The marketing civil war

As Simon Bird wrote recently, there’s a civil war going on at the moment. “Art and science, creative and big data, digital and traditional, mass and targeted, salience and optimised and emotion and information.” Sometimes you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone and, as the world increasingly goes digital, some are wondering if we’ve lost the ability to build brands and are instead being seduced by short-term sales metrics. With P&G admitting it had targeted too much, and pundits like Mark Ritson, Peter Field and Bob Hoffman calling bollocks on digital, and sophisticated tech companies and digital evangelists continuing to use their impressive tools and PR tricks, the battle continues to be waged.

Sky vs the media

Sky has long spoken of the raw deal it feels it gets from its media brethren, something it felt was due to jealousy of its large – but decreasing – revenue base. And it’s not shy about using the lawyers when it feels the rights it pays a pretty penny for are being infringed. As those competitors have increased their digital platforms, many of the highlights used on those sites come from Sky. Sky followed through on threats to take TVNZ, Fairfax, MediaWorks and NZME to court and, at the heart of the argument, is the question of whether reproducing clips online constituted reporting or entertainment.

NZME and Fairfax vs Commerce Commission

NZME and Fairfax wanted to get married. But Mum and Dad wouldn’t allow it.


The sand bottle fracas

The StopPress comment section frequently sees comparisons made between one campaign and another – it’s a classic advertising jab, was that work stolen or copied? This year, one idea – DB Export’s bottle-crushing, sand-creating machine – cause more than its fair share of debate, primarily because it was argued that the idea started its life in DDB and was eventually made by Colenso BBDO.

Colenso vs TVNZ

On a similar tip, TVNZ’s Blacksand launched a campaign to promote the inaugural season of Survivor NZ. As pointed out by a number of commenters, there are significant similarities between the Survivor spot and the work previously done by Colenso for the launch of Frucor’s V Pure product, which also claimed inspiration from other similar international campaigns. As FCB’s David Thomason said when asked about the issue: “It’s going to be difficult to prove ownership of a fast montage cut to intense music with various graphics flashing up on screen.”

Agencies vs clients

Appalling, shocking, laborious, unprofessional, unfair, expensive and time-wasting are just some of things agencies say about the pitching process. It’s often seen as a necessary evil in the hunt for new business, but ANZA and the Comms Council came out and said things need to change, releasing a Code of Best Practice around pitching that aims to help both agencies and clients. ANZA chief executive Lindsay Mouat said that clients had little awareness of the direct and indirect costs generated by pitches. So it’s unclear whether these rules will be followed.

Greenpeace vs Dairy NZ

Greenpeace and Dairy NZ are at opposite ends of the spectrum. But this year things got heated. Using kiwi kids splashing about in a clear stream, a Greenpeace ad pointed out that 60 percent of New Zealand’s monitored rivers are now unfit to swim in. Dairy NZ was not pleased and reported the ad to the ASA. But the complaint was eventually thrown out on the basis of scientific evidence.

Uber vs Government/drivers/taxi industry/some people

Uber, like most tech companies, claims to be ‘making the world a better place’. But not everyone likes the world they’re making (or the culture within the organisation). The incumbents are fighting hard (even though the fight is probably futile), the regulators are demanding that Uber drivers go through the proper processes if they want to ferry passengers around and many drivers aren’t too happy with the cut that Uber takes. A complaint about an ad talking about background checks for every driver was also upheld by the ASA.

Guyon Espiner vs Winston Peters

It could really be anyone vs Winston Peters, such is his disdain for those of the fourth estate, but one interview, in particular, stood out. Guyon Espiner asked for some specific answers on New Zealand First’s policies and Winston, typically an unflappable interviewee, flubbed it, reverting to insults of Espiner while struggling to talk about the costs or specifics of his party’s policies. It was the best interview of the election, by far.

Newshub vs the rest

Numbers are beautiful things and can be moulded to suit your narrative (as seen after every radio survey). But whenever you say you’re the biggest, you better be able to back it up and when Newshub campaign came out and said it was ‘New Zealand’s number one source of news’, its competitors responded, with NZME saying it was potentially misleading and TVNZ pointing out its audience (on TV) was bigger. MediaWorks stood its ground, saying that its big numbers are because of its true multi-media offering.

Sky vs the public

Ad creep means we not only see ads on the TV or in the paper, we see them on receipts, on jerseys, on foreheads, on the upper thigh region and pretty much anywhere else humans may look. But Sky, which runs plenty of ads even though people pay a hefty fee, found out the hard way that you don’t mess with the rugby. It tried to squeeze an ad in between the haka and the kick-off of an All Blacks test and it got an absolute bollocking on social media, before apologising and agreeing not to do it again.

Cadbury vs Dunedin

As well as the smell of vomit and burning couches, Dunedin also used to be filled with the intoxicating aroma of chocolate being created at the Cadbury Factory. But no more. Mondelez decided to pull out of the city and take the production of some Kiwi classics to Australia. Despite attempts to change their mind – and an attempt by Jim O’Malley to crowd-fund the purchase of the factory – it will be the end of an era when it closes in March – and it gives people yet another reason to buy Whittaker’s.

The ‘Buck Shelford Ripped Scrotum’ Award for Bravery 

Kiwibank pays for a TV show

Investing in a 30-second ad is risky and expensive enough, but to do so on a whole TV show would’ve left a few decision-makers sweating. But this didn’t stop the crew at Kiwibank from taking the plunge and splashing out on TVNZ’s Mind over Money. And if the results of the campaign are anything to go by, it’s a gamble that paid off.   

MediaWorks rebrands Three

Earlier this year, MediaWorks provoked public ire by putting the well-loved TV3 brand under the knife and completely revamping it. The social media outrage eventually subsided, leaving the brand with a contemporary look that has quickly grown on the audience.   

Y&R pulls out of local awards

In a response to a number of disagreements with CAANZ (now the Commercial Communications Council), Y&R chief executive Josh Moore made the decision to pull out of local awards. While this meant the agency missed out on silverware for 2017, it more than made up for it by picking up a host of new clients.    

Air New Zealand opts for transparency

Rather than wrapping controversies in a PR blanket, Air New Zealand has taken a more transparent approach, openly admitting its struggles with the gender pay gap, sustainability targets and a range of other issues. It’s easy to talk about the things that are going well, but it takes a brave business to admit when things go wrong.

Countdown takes for-good road

The green retailer has made a number of brave moves this year in banning plastic bags, introducing an ugly fruit range and adopting more inclusive LGBTQI staff policies.   

The Warehouse locks down sales

The Warehouse is another retailer that’s been on a transformative mission this year. The biggest shift exists in the decision to move away from sales and instead focus on locking down cheap prices. This marks a major strategic shift for a business that has always relied heavily on sales. Similarly to Countdown, it has also updated its LGBTQI policy to make it more inclusive.  

Spark Father’s Day ad

Spark and Colenso BBDO went completely off-script this year by launching a Father’s Day ad that told the story of a single mum rather than a dad. Beautifully executed, the ad delivered a huge punch in the feels and became a major talking point around the day.

Fairfax powers up Energy Club

Fairfax has spent a number of years looking at how to diversify its revenue model, and the latest effort involves the acquisition of the Energy Club. It might not seem a natural fit for a media company, but it shows a willingness by the organisation to try new things as it strives to build a long-term, sustainable business.    

Miles Gandy’s Bureau

Magazine sales veteran Miles Gandy launched a solo venture this year called The Magazine Bureau, which brings together independent magazines and their audiences to create a range of reachable demographics that advertisers can buy. It’s a smart idea, and you always have to respect someone willing to give something a shot.

The ‘build a wall and make them pay for it’ Idea of the Year Award

DB Export Beer Bottle Sand

An environmental mission to save Aotearoa beaches led DB Breweries to come up with a crazy, yet innovative, idea to turn empty beer bottles into sand. Known as DB Export ‘Beer Bottle Sand‘, the product is designed to lessen some of the impacts inflicted on New Zealand beaches by sand dredging. And it worked – with the brand collecting a gold at the Effies 2017 for most effective PR/experiential campaign.

‘Go Balls Out’

It was a ballsy move by Testicular Cancer New Zealand and FCB New Zealand to run the ‘Go Balls Out‘ campaign, but it got people exercising and talking, and earnt three golds at the Effies 2017.

Black Hands podcast

From the brain of award-winning Stuff journalist Martin van Beynen, Black Hands looks at one of New Zealand’s most infamous and controversial murders; the shooting of five members of the Bain family in Dunedin in 1994. Since its release in July, the 10-part series has topped podcast charts in New Zealand and overseas with more than 2.7 million downloads.

Pedigree selfie stix

With the popularity of selfie sticks for humans, why not dogs? Pedigree and Colenso BBDO brought this to life with Selfiestix; a phone attachment that holds a Pedigree DentaStix treat, designed to capture the dog’s attention so they will look at the phone while the photo is being taken. It’s perfect for those occasions you and your pooch need a photo session.

Escape My House

Through virtual reality technology and 360-degree video, Fire and Emergency New Zealand and FCB New Zealand’s Escape My House put users in a burning house to encourage them to make an escape plan. The campaign showed the realities of escaping a house fire and included features that demonstrate the emotional and psychological barriers that those caught in the event are often faced with. Taking five golds at the Effies 2017, this campaign had shock factor that connected with its audience.

ASB Fasta

To help runners carbo-load in the lead up to the ASB Auckland Marathon event, ASB and True created ASB Fasta, a 250g of edible tagliatelle pasta embossed with supportive messages such as ‘Know your limits and then run pasta them’. The pasta was then sent out to 1,000 randomly selected race-registered people nominated by friends and family. People were also able to create a personalised support message to go on the front of the box.

Vodafone TV

Another chance to have everything easily accessible in one space, Vodafone TV brings together Sky TV, free-to-air and a range of online and app-based entertainment services such as Netflix (if the user has an existing Netflix subscription) in one system that allows viewers the clever option to switch between watching on their smartphone, tablet and television.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand – Snapchat stories

Following comedian Thomas Sainsbury’s hilarious political impersonations during the election period, Fire and Emergency New Zealand and FCB New Zealand took advantage of his popularity and got him to use his snapchat skills to ‘face swap’ with a smoke alarm, barbeque, frying pan and mouse to tell witty tales about their roles in house fires.

Lewis Road Creamery booze

While Lewis Road Creamery is well-known for its butter and milk, it added a naughty side to the brand with the introduction of its Chocolate Cream Liqueur. This combines the finest cream and chocolate with a touch of liqueur for an adults-only treat.

Soberself chatbot

An interesting psychological experiment, the Cheers NZ campaign encourages New Zealanders out on the town to chat with their sober selves via Facebook Messenger to make sure they do all the right things – hydrate, eat food and go home at the time they originally planned. Accessed via the Messenger app, the @SoberSelf chatbot, created with Rush Digital and True, sends messages to revellers from their sober-self.

Say it Tika

In an effort to preserve and protect Aotearoa’s indigenous language, Kiwis took the opportunity to pin more than 8,900 incorrectly pronounced te reo Māori place names on an online platform developed by Vodafone and Google Maps – with te reo tika (correct) place names set to be heard on mobile devices from late this year. The campaign, done by FCB New Zealand, was launched during Te Wiki O Te Reo Māori (11 to 17 September).

Magazine 360

A new online tool by the Magazine Publishers Association is providing the industry with a more holistic view of the reach of magazine brands. A great help for advertisers and media agencies, the data on Magazine 360 can be used to give a broad overview of the total audience of a single publisher or can be segmented into categories, target audiences or individual publications.

Little Garden bee house

As part of the relaunch of New World’s popular Little Garden campaign, FCB Media went beyond a simple ad to include a buzzy large-scale bee house billboard. The bee house could house over 750 leafcutter bee cocoons and was donated following the campaign.

New Blood

An experimental initiative from TVNZ, New Blood consists of more than 20 short-form pieces of content created collaboratively, and able to be found on TVNZ.co.nz, YouTube and Facebook. New Blood is also about experimenting with distribution methods and being specific and considerate about where content lives; giving TVNZ an opportunity to create viewing that is authentic, provocative and champions diversity. 

The ‘melting iceberg’ Move of the Year Award

Dan Martin

Following the retirement of former chief executive Brian van den Hurk, UK import Dan Martin took the big seat at FCB in August this year. He arrived after a stint as the chief operating officer at Ogilvy & Mather London.    

Paul Catmur

Shortly before moving into the swanky Dentsu Aegis offices, Paul Catmur was appointed the chief executive of Barnes, Catmur & Friends Dentsu. This move coincided with the shift of former chief executive Daniel Barnes to a position focusing on strategic projects and client relationships.     

Toby Talbot

Creative veteran Toby Talbot’s career went full circle this year as he returned to Saatchi & Saatchi after ten years. His arrival at the agency followed a nine-month stint at Assignment Group.  

Kath Watson

A decade at the helm of OMD came to end for Kath Watson in July when she announced her resignation from the agency. This also brought an end to 20 years in the Omnicom Group.

Nigel Douglas

Taking the place of Kath Watson at OMD was Nigel Douglas, who left his leadership position at Mediacom to take on the role. The reins at his former agency have since been picked up by Matthew Vogts.    

Emma Bolser and Linus Hjoberg

When the joint managing director roles at Ikon were disestablished and replaced with a single position, agency bosses Emma Bolser and Linus Hjoberg decided to leave the business. Bolser has since been appointed managing partner of media at Contagion, while Hjoberg has joined OMD Wellington.    

Jules Lloyd Jones

Mitre 10 general manager of marketing Dave Elliott departed for a position in the US earlier this year and was subsequently replaced by Jules Lloyd-Jones, who joined from Foodstuffs where she held a group brand director role for five years.  

Levi Slavin

Levi Slavin returned to New Zealand this year to take on the position of chief creative officer at his former agency, Colenso BBDO, which he left in 2014 to take on a role at US-based agency Anomaly.

Simon Tong

After managing the business through a period of enormous turmoil and transformation, former Fairfax boss Simon Tong announced his resignation in March to take on an executive role at ASB.  

Sinead Boucher

Fairfax took its time to announce who would fill Tong’s role, but eventually promoted from within, handing the reins to Sinead Boucher. Her appointment also coincided with a rebrand of the local arm of the business to Stuff.    

Paul Dykzeul and Paul Gardiner

After a busy period of launches and innovation, the two Bauer executives left the local side of the business to take over the Australian arm. Both Dykzeul and Gardiner had been with Bauer since 2007.  

Che Tamahori

One of New Zealand’s most talented digital experts, Che Tamahori left Digital Arts Network (DAN) to join Air New Zealand early in 2017. This drew the curtain on a 21-year stint at DAN.   

Martin Yeoman and Jamie Hitchcock

Assignment Group Auckland head of strategy Martin Yeoman and creative director Jamie Hitchcock left the agency in April to start a new venture, dubbed The Enthusiasts. They’ve since picked up a number of interesting creative projects. 

Livia Esterhazy

General manager Livia Esterhazy departed Clemenger BBDO in February, after two years at the helm of the agency. She has since been appointed as the chief executive of the World Wildlife Fund.    

Rob Jack

In June, Special Group creative partner Rob Jack left the agency he helped found, bringing an end to a 10-year stretch in his career.  

Fleur Head

FCB general manager Fleur Head announced her resignation from the agency earlier this year to move back to her hometown, Wellington. She is set to depart later this year.   

The Jeff Jefferson Account move of the Year

Countdown creative

Countdown ended its creative partnership with Ogilvy after two decades, appointing Y&R NZ and Wellcom Group to the account.

Air New Zealand media

Following a pitch process that started at the end of 2016, Air New Zealand handed its media account to the Dentsu Aegis-owned agency Carat. The account was previously held by OMD.     


The yellow bank severed creative ties with Saatchi & Saatchi after five years, handing its business to With Collective and True.


Special Group initially retained the telco’s creative account after a pitch last year, but, only seven months later, the partnership ended and 2degrees has since appointed DDB.

Goodman Fielder

All three parts of the Goodman Fielder portfolio – dairy, baking and grocery – were put up for pitch this year. Y&R picked up the dairy and grocery sections, and independent agency The Enthusiasts, launched earlier this year by former Assignment Group employees Martin Yeoman and Jamie Hitchcock, won the baking portfolio. The incumbents on the account were Shine (dairy and baking) and Assignment Auckland (grocery).             

Auckland Council

Auckland Council brought together the Auckland Council, ATEED and Auckland Transport accounts under a single pitch this year. The government body then appointed a creative panel consisting of 99/OMD (Clemenger Group), Federation, MBM and Ogilvy & Mather, any of which could be called on for creative or media services.      


Another big account move this year was Genesis, which ended up in the Shine ledger after a three-way creative pitch. The client previously worked with 99 and JustOne.


The ‘crying Michael Jordan’ Best Mascot of the Year Award

Dave the Goose for Air New Zealand

While Air New Zealand is a strong local brand, it made a clever move to take the mickey out of Kiwi-isms in a bid to woo Australian passengers and promote its long-haul flights to America. And Dave the Goose proves the right character to do it, with the perfect combination of charm and sass.

Richie McCaw for Fonterra

Richie McCaw promoting Fonterra is a marriage of two Kiwi icons. And with McCaw unable to do anything wrong in New Zealander’s eyes, he’s also a very strategic choice for a company that has been known to raise a few eyebrows over its practices.

Taika Waititi for Green Party and The New Zealand Human Rights Commission

Taika Waititi’s had a busy year directing box-office hit Thor: Ragnarok but he’s still had time to lend a hand to a few smaller projects, including a cameo in a Green Party campaign and face of the The New Zealand Human Rights Commission’s ‘Give Nothing to Racism’ campaign. As New Zealander of the year, he has the nation’s trust and any brand is lucky to have him.

Stickman for Pak’nSave

Did Pak’nSave really have a sale if Stickman didn’t grace our screens? The animated character, voiced by comedian Paul Ego, demonstrates the retailer’s no frills approach both through his look and matter of fact, yet humorous tone. His videos inject some fun into the potentially mundane task of grocery shopping and his years of doing so would earn him a place alongside Briscoes Lady (Tammy Wells) and Beaurepair’s Vince Martin if adland had a hall of fame.

Pete the Sheep for Allbirds

Who better to promote an all-wool running shoe than a sheep. Like Pak’nSave’s Stickman, Pete is a simple animation but his simplicity makes him the perfect demonstrator of where the product originates. His woolly coat comes on and off in videos and we only hope he doesn’t mind the public nudity.

Will Hall for Jockey

Former Shortland Street star Will Hall deserves a spot among the finalists for his bravery in appearing alongside the All Blacks in Jockey campaigns. Initially introduced as a ‘real man’ in a ‘Real Men’ campaign, he’s since become one of the boys in Jockey videos, however, he remains slightly covered in a robe.

Rachel House For ASB

The delightfully funny Hunt for the Wilderpeople star had a new role to play recently for ASB, that saw her travel the country to remind people to “stay alert, stay diligent and stay…getting heaps of rewards”. Called the ‘True Rewarden’, House’s character was the perfect outlet for her comedic tone and we hope to see more of the True Rewarden in the future.

Nigel Latta for Kiwibank

Nigel Latta has long been on our screens tackling weighty topics in programmes like Beyond The Darklands and The Hard Stuff with Nigel Latta. His ability to explore complex subjects and translate them into easy to understand programmes has made him a trusted figure in the local media and this year, Kiwibank put that to use for Mind Over Money with Nigel Latta. As the host of the show, Latta talked about the not so comfortable topic of money and explored how Kiwis behave with it.

Grandpa Leo for CleanPaleo

Brand ambassadors can be fictional, a celebrity or even the business owners themselves and Grandpa Leo is a combination of all three. The impossibly well-nourished Grandpa Leo (PaLEO, get it?) is sadly just a figment of the imagination but he is, however, played by Arthur “Art” Green, director of CleanPaleo and eponymous star of matchmaking show The Bachelor NZ. His use, according to Green himself, was to take the piss out of the ‘Art Green’ brand and have some fun.

Nigella Lawson for Whittaker’s

It’s not a rundown of the best mascots without the inclusion of Nigella Lawson for Whittaker’s. The English foodie has long been making food an indulgence and she’s given the same treatment to the chocolate. Without her Whittaker’s would still be a well-loved local brand but Lawson’s own obsession with it and her sultry tone make it hard to resist the chocolate goodness.

The ‘Leveraging Synergies’ Award for mashup of the year

Karma Cola and Best Ugly Bagels Roxy Cinema

Think cola and bagels…. Now think cherry and cola. Karma Cola has been busy the last six months teaming up with Best Ugly Bagels and then Wellington’s Roxy Cinema to deliver some delicious treats. The Best Ugly Bagels mash-up saw a cherry and cola jam bagel served for a limited time with $1 from each going to the Karma Cola Foundation while Karma Cola created a Roxy Cherry Cola to complement the cinema’s Hollywood glamour.

Meridian and Whittaker’s

To celebrate the fact that Whittaker’s has chosen Meridian as its electricity provider, the chocolate company released a limited edition ‘Brooklyn Block’ (named after Meridian’s Brooklyn Turbine). Whittaker’s was keen to partner up with the energy company due to the fact that it only generates from pure ingredients, while Meridian was keen to work with the chocolate company because of its sustainable track record.

The Spinoff’s and the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies at Victoria University of Wellington

To make it easy to find out what was on offer during the election, The Spinoff and a team of researchers, editors, developers and a designer, sourced information about parties’ key election policies and put it in one place for users to browse and breakdown. The Policy tool launched on 14 August and by 20 September had been viewed by more than 12,000 people.

Spark Arena

Having already entered partnerships with Spotify and Lightbox, Spark’s takeover of the naming rights to what was Vector Arena was the next step in its journey to build experiences for its customers through partnerships. It also gave the telco a reason to launch a major campaign, to train Kiwis to say “Spark Arena”, not “Vector Arena”. The Breeze’s Macarena remix—“hey Spark Arena!”—was an earworm following the takeover and while the song and campaign may have died down, we now have the remarks about the Vodafone Music Awards at Spark Arena to look forward to later this year.

The ‘Catfish’ Award for Best Ad That’s Not an Ad

Geoff The Film

Heinz Watties and Y&R
Y&R NZ and production company Assembly placed a quirky bean-lover named Geoff at the centre of a short film, which aimed to help Kraft Heinz Australia rebrand the iconic Heinz Beanz brand.

Holden works with Miss FQ

In a move away from its bogan heritage towards a modern, urban target market, Holden turned to Miss FQ for the Miss FQ Intern project. It saw 21-year-old Aucklander Ashleigh Ilton employed at the publication as an intern and fittingly, she drove around in a Holden for the entire campaign.

Media tie-ups for the election

While the majority of political messages focus on rousing an individual’s sense of civic and democratic duty (such as Rock the Vote), Vice NZ took a slightly different route by partnering with the Electoral Commission and creating ‘We Are New Zealand’. The short-form series focused on six young and creative individuals who shared stories about their lives and because they believed politics, society and culture are intrinsically linked through an overarching notion of identity.

On a similar note, the Electoral Commission, via Saatchi & Saatchi and Starcom, teamed up with TVNZ and three Shortland Street stars, who in a series of videos opened up about what matters to them. The hope was the series would encourage young voters to consider what their personal participation in the election meant.

Microsoft and artists

Microsoft and Y&R
Microsoft recruited conceptual photographer Garth Badger, architect Angus Muir and illustrator Kelly Thompson to launch its Surface Studio product. The trio appeared in a series of videos, by Y&R, featuring interviews on the influence of technology on the creative process. Microsoft wasn’t going for the hard sell, instead, it attempted to show how the product can be used to help the creative process and with that in mind, the campaign was distributed via social channels and trade media regularly read by creative professionals.

Battle to the Beehive

Vice, JWT and Heyday
With 34 percent of 18- to 24-years-olds not enrolled to vote, Vice, JWT and Heyday teamed up to gamify politics in a bid to get the country’s youth to the polls in the September election. They created ‘Battle to the Beehive’, an online game that borrowed from the Street Fighter aesthetic to drive youth engagement by conveying political battles in gaming language. It explored the electoral process, the parties and the politicians who fought against ‘policy monsters’, including transport, global warming, housing, the economy and education.

Sophie for Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand and Soul Machines
Air New Zealand has been trialling a new team member in the form of Sophie, a digital human created by Soul Machines to answer questions about New Zealand as a tourist destination and the airline’s products and services. Powered by artificial intelligence, she has an advanced emotional intelligence and responsiveness in order to answer questions.

Kiwibank, TVNZ and Ruckus

Our relationship with money is typically something of an afterthought, generally restricted to advice columns and finance pages. However, Kiwibank took it mainstream in a new series called Mind Over Money with Nigel Latta, a fully funded series exploring the the psychology of money. Veering away from the usual TVC was a bold move by the bank but one that paid off as show audience won its time slot a number of times and 76 percent of those who tuned in enjoyed it.

The ‘Jim Jones Kool-Aid preparer’ Sage of the Year Award

Damon Stapleton

DDB’s chief creative officer is a regular feature in the StopPress newsfeed, sharing his thoughts on the industry from the perspective of his own experiences, like judging D&AD and attending Cannes.

Earlier this year, he recalled a series of conversations he’s had with taxi drivers in America to share a lesson about being distinctive and interesting. And more recently, he opened up about his son’s dyslexia to encourage readers to consider the importance of humanity in the work they do.

“The truth is another word for creativity could be humanity. And, if we lose that, in a business that is all about talking to other human beings we will be in deep trouble,” he writes.

Paul Catmur

Barnes, Catmur & Friends Dentsu chief executive Paul Catmur doesn’t always say a lot, but when he does it always matters. This is an advertising executive who doesn’t wrap his columns in a PR blanket. His writing is always sharp, to the point and loaded with insights. It’s no wonder his ‘And Another Thing’ column has become so popular in the industry.

To put this into perspective, here’s a great quote taken from Catmur’s recent piece on the death of the social media dream:  “This state of affairs existed happily for hundreds of years. Well, hundreds of years in digital terms, in reality, just a couple. Then out of the blue came the meteor that killed the dinosaurs. Facebook decided they’d had enough of providing free media to their friends in brands and pulled what has been called ‘one of the most lucrative grifts of all time.’”      

Colleen Ryan

As head of strategy at TRA, Collen Ryan has a unique perspective of the industry as someone who can advise the agencies and her insights have been shared in the StopPress newsfeed and across the pages of NZ Marketing. This year she’s tackled business transformation, business mergers and human behaviour.

“… thinking of everyone as automatons simply playing out their hardwired behavioural tics and decision-making biases – like characters out of Westworld – is tendentious thinking because it focuses on only one force driving our behaviour,” she wrote when considering the impact culture has on our interpretation of hardwired behaviour patterns.

David Thomason

One of the more cerebral figures in the industry, FCB head of strategy has regularly lent his massive brain to StopPress/NZ Marketing over the last year, writing thought-provoking pieces that challenge the trends, fads and gimmicks taking hold of the industry. He has railed particularly hard against short-termism, calling on marketers to remember that successful brands take time to build.   

Thomason’s combination of humour and insight was clearly evident in his recent feature for NZ Marketing: “Alan Morris was the ‘Mo’ of Mojo, the legendary ad agency behind some of Australia’s most iconic eighties ad campaigns. While presenting a global advertising concept to Coke in Atlanta, Mo was interrupted by another ad man. He challenged Mo to define the target market in terms of both demographics and psychographics. Mo stood up and spoke clearly into the microphone: ‘Any c*** with a mouth.’”

Louise Bond

Having been the president of the Commercial Communications Council for little over a year now, PHD CEO Louise Bond’s leadership has steered it through a name change from CAANZ to the CCC and formation of the Diversity and Inclusiveness Council.

Earlier this year we asked for her thoughts on transparency, walled gardens and what an agency of the future might look like, and while that saw her point out the biggest issues facing media, she did so in a constructive manner, proving her investment in making the industry the best it can be.

Michael Goldthorpe

Hunch founder Michael Goldthorpe has an uncanny knack of reducing big complicated issues into short, digestible articles. A consummate creative, he often weaves simple observations or experiences into his opinion pieces, making them readable, informative and always entertaining.

A brilliant example of this was his recent zoological tour of automation. Who would’ve thought a duck-billed platypus could find room in a piece on programmatic advertising?      

Human of the year

Rob Harvey

Backed by a holding company willing to invest in the local market, Dentsu Aegis boss Rob Harvey has made a range of big acquisitions and investments over the last year. He has steadily built the group into a conglomerate that picked up both Air New Zealand and ASB as new clients this year.


Bridget Lamont

In addition to maintaining a strong creative aesthetic in Countdown’s advertising, the retailer’s marketing boss Bridget Lamont has also played a strong PR game this year. She’s taken a stand on LGBTQI issues, banned plastic bags and introduced an ugly fruit brand. Smart marketing doesn’t just involve pretty ads.

Josh Moore

As far as agency bosses go, there have been few that have had more to celebrate than Y&R chief executive Josh Moore. Countdown, TAB, Go Healthy and Goodman Fielder are just some of the clients the agency has picked up while producing a steady stream of eye-catching creative work.

Rufus Chuter

FCB Media general manager Rufus Chuter again took to the stage at the Beacons this year to claim the Agency of the Year award. Under his leadership, the agency has adopted an integrated approach that looks to tap into skills from across the full-service business.

Regan Savage

The Kiwibank marketing boss has made some big calls this year. First came a significant investment in TVNZ’s Mind over Money series, which was the single biggest marketing splurge the bank had made in two years. Then, several months later, Savage made the decision to change the way Kiwibank works with agencies. Both of these have been bold moves, but they’ve driven results for the bank and also won the respect of the industry, which ranked Kiwibank as one of the top performers in the recent NZ Marketing Marketing Perceptions survey.

Nadia Lim

What might seem an unusual pick for an industry rag, Nadia Lim has emerged as a media juggernaut. She’s a co-owner and face of a hugely successful brand, she has her own magazine, appears across media channels regularly and shows no signs of slowing down. When it comes to selling your own brand, there’s no one better in the business.     


Paul Thompson

As far as degree of difficulty goes, RNZ’s Paul Thompson certainly had his hands full when it came to reshaping RNZ to meet modern consumers’ needs. Under his watch, new platforms such as The Wireless have launched, John Campbell has started broadcasting through Facebook and the new RNZ website has become one of the most respected sources of news.  

Mark Berry

If ever there was human embodiment of the ‘You shall not pass’ meme it would be Commerce Commission chair Mark Berry. This year, he has blocked both the major merger applications and served as a major obstacle to the ambitions of New Zealand major media companies. It could be argued that no one has had a bigger impact on the industry over the last year, than Berry.  


Jodi Williams

There seems no limit to the resilience of Air New Zealand general manager of brand and content marketing Jodi Williams. Managing an in-flight magazine, an in-house content team, advertising partnerships, a loyalty scheme and a range of innovations, she takes the brand from strength to strength with each passing year. This year was no different, with Air New Zealand concretising its position as one of the nation’s most well-loved brands.

Sinead Boucher

Starting out as a digital editor in a tiny team, Sinead Boucher has played a central role in growing Stuff into the behemoth it is today. This year, her years of loyalty and commitment were rewarded with her promotion to the position of chief executive of the business.

Group of Humans of the Year


Countdown, TAB, Goodman Fielder and Go Healthy are just a few of the accounts the crew at Y&R has picked up over the last year. Add to this an impressive array of interesting creative work – ranging from a short film for Heinz Watties to Steve Hansen’s acting debut – and you have an agency at the top of its game.


The Beacons, the Effies and the TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards all belonged to FCB this year. Alongside showing how strong the agency’s full-service offering is across disciplines, these awards also provided an indication of how good the agency is at delivering business results for clients. Each of these awards events place enormous emphasis on the effect of the advertising on the revenue of the business, and if these results are anything to go by, then there are few agencies better at turning advertising into money than FCB.  

Dentsu Aegis Network

There are few agencies to have left such an indelible mark on the industry in the last year. In addition to acquiring the 40-strong independent agency Little Giant, the Dentsu group has also picked up a host of decent clients, including Air New Zealand, ASB, Fletcher Building, Les Mills and others. It’s no wonder agencies take them seriously when they appear on a pitch list.            

Kiwibank marketing team

The single biggest marketing investment Kiwibank made over the last two years was in the TVNZ show Mind over Money. This was a sign of a brave client not afraid to take risks when necessary. Further evidence of this bravery was seen in Kiwibank general manager of marketing and communications Regan Savage’s decision to change the way Kiwibank works with agencies, shifting everything to a project basis. As one advertising executive commented: “If you’re going to do this you’d better be a damn good marketer.” Fortunately, Savage fits that description.        

Air New Zealand marketing team

Under the leadership of Jodi Williams, Air New Zealand has delivered a consistent stream of innovative work that not only entertains viewers but also makes customers’ lives easier. Working seamlessly across a number of agency partners as well as building one of the best in-house creative teams in the business, it comes as little surprise that the airline consistently ranks as one of the most-loved brands in the country. And, according to our Marketing Perceptions study, it’s the one client everyone wants to work with.        


We may be a small nation at the bottom of the world, but the team at Augusto doesn’t let that define them. The agency this year expanded with a New York office, as well as winning Adidas Rugby work out of Germany. But this agency isn’t limited to ads. This year, Augusto also brought the ambitious Everest Rescue series to fruition for the Discovery Network. The effectiveness of the agency in working across these disciplines, while still keeping its clients happy is no easy task and makes Augusto one of the standouts of the year. 


Over the last year, Bauer has made a number of bold moves in a bid to show that magazine media done right still has a place in the world. The launches of Paperboy, Miss FQ and Nadia all provided fresh twists on production and distribution models, delivering strong products that were quickly picked up by new readers. This willingness to invest in new ideas and the ability to bring them to life makes Bauer one of the standout performers of the year.     


The independent agency has built on a few good years, further consolidating its ledger with the addition of ASB, Airpoints and Cheers NZ. The agency has also continued to deliver a steady stream of strong creative work for its existing clients, particularly Air New Zealand, which always demands something extraordinary. This balance of winning new business while keeping existing clients satisfied makes True one of the most solid performers in the market.         

The Spinoff

What started as two people writing entertaining stories about TV has transformed into a multifaceted beast that covers everything from Auckland and politics to Māori affairs and broader media news. Founder Duncan Greive launched a number of new sections this year, and the publication keeps attracting some of the best writing talent in the country to its Britomart office.   

Radio New Zealand

RNZ’s radio ratings alone would make a pretty compelling argument for the inclusion of the team in this rundown. Add to this the success of projects such as Ninth Floor, the continued growth of the Wireless, a Māori Wars documentary series, a number of great podcasts and strengthening web presence and arguably one of the most innovative media companies in the country. It comes as little surprise the new government is so eager to throw more money at chief executive Paul Thompson and his team.   

Gone but not Forgotten


When the news broke that the music-streaming company’s Australia and New Zealand offices were closing in June – to concentrate on expansion into the United States market – listeners were upset they’d no longer be able to access the service, and it was a disappointing end for the local sales team who had done some good work, especially on collaboration with brands.

Us & Co

While its aim to be the agency of the future remains unrealised, digital agency US & Co should be proud of the work it achieved over the past several years before founders James Polhill and Jose Alomajan decided to part ways. Started in 2012, US & Co’s work often demonstrated strong digital nous, as illustrated in campaigns for F. Whitlock & Sons and Movember.

Fan Pass

A loss for sports fans across the country, Sky Television took away the options for those who wanted to watch Sky Sports online without signing up to its satellite television service. In what was considered a surprise move, the company said it would no longer sell daily and weekly online passes to non-Sky subscribers through its Fan Pass service.

Yahoo’s editorial team

As editorial teams get smaller and smaller, the decision by Yahoo to axe all remaining editorial staff hurt. As part of the restructure, Yahoo also pulled its New Zealand Facebook audience into its Australian Yahoo 7 Facebook Page, meaning local subscribers would only be fed news served onto the Australian site, rather than stories curated specifically for New Zealand readers.

Mana Magazine

After 25 years of production, July heralded the end of Mana Magazine, a devastating blow for Māori and Māori media in New Zealand. The closure came after offers from its recent licensing company were rejected, leading to an outpouring of sadness and anger on social media and beyond.


With a memorable advertising campaign, it was with a heavy heart to hear of the demise of the online DVD and video game rental service. Coming in hot before the days of Netflix, it was an easy system to watch and play the latest and greatest.

Cadbury chocolate factory

The closure of the Cadbury’s Dunedin factory means not just a loss of some 350 jobs, but a loss of a part of every Kiwi kid’s childhood. With Pineapple Lumps, Jaffas, Chocolate Fish and Buzz Bars now to be made in Australia, it will be interesting to see if this hurts the brand and sales.

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