Year in Review 2023: Sally Feinson

Each year, StopPress asks a group of talented professionals in the local industry for their reflections on the year that was. This year, we speak to individuals who made their mark on 2023 and brought us truly impactful work.

Sally Feinson is Marketing, Brand and Communications Director at New Zealand’s leading auction and classifieds website, Trade Me. She shares her thoughts on 2023, and what could be in store in the marketing world this year.

I will remember 2023 as the year… / If 2023 were a brand, what would its slogan be?

For me 2023 is the year that women dominated the global zeitgeist, we celebrated strong leadership in Aotearoa with Jacinda Ardern’s resignation and a ramp up into Barbie and pink everywhere, the Fifa Women’s World Cup, Taylor Swift’s eras tour, girl dinner, girl math and so on.  

What felt different in 2023 was that we are comfortable now embracing the joy and fun of femininity as a form of empowerment. 

The slogan that sums it up for me is: 2023: She’s everything and everywhere

How would you sum up your professional year in three words?

Daring – we took our brand into new territory in look and feel, and how we are bringing it to life through experiential marketing. 

Rollercoaster – it would be remiss not to say it has been a tough year for lots of marketers and agencies. The constant juggle of trying to do great, innovative work with fewer resources can be difficult but also rewarding when it all comes together.

Proud – so, so proud of our amazing Marketing team here at Trade Me and the mahi they do whilst always being their best, most caring and fun selves at work.

A personal achievement I’m most proud of in 2023 is…

Being voted “best babysitter ever” by a friend’s children.

What was the best innovation/launch/invention of 2023? What technology made the most impact on your day-to-day work this year?

The explosion of generative AI, particularly in how we are using it within imagery. I see huge potential to enhance speed to delivery and creativity. That said, I think that having defined ethical principles on how we use this technology is super important particularly in the creative space.

From a media perspective, what were the biggest lessons brands learnt this year?

How important it is to remember that the power is with your consumers and recognising what is happening in their context matters. 

The cost of living crisis this year is a good example of where some brands really came into their fore and leant into ensuring their value proposition was right for the times. We also saw some that were completely tone deaf.

Who inspired you in 2023 and why?

Mitre 10 – I think they’re a great example of a brand who walks their talk. 

Skinny – they are bang on for the times and do some very clever marketing on a shoestring budget.

Kiwibank – A brand marketer’s dream brand to work on in my opinion, their alignment across product, purpose and marketing is slick from the outside. 

What are you most looking forward to in 2024?

Celebrating a big birthday in January and entering my 50th era.  

Quick fire 10:

Most impactful local campaign of 2023:
Correct the Internet by DDB, this is an incredibly powerful campaign that drove consumer action and quickly became a synonym for gender equality. 

Most underrated international campaign of the year:
McDonald’s “Raise your arches” I just loved the understatedness of branding that only such an iconic brand can play into. 

A campaign I wish I worked on: The Barbie movie promotion. 

A news event that didn’t get the attention it deserved:
The Fifa Women’s World Cup 

Most listened to artist of 2023: Taylor Swift – she is any mood of mine.

A 2023 trend you’re ready to bid farewell to: Crocs – do I need to say any more?

Most innovative use of social media in a campaign this year:  Stanley Cup and their response to the car fire video was so on point. 

Most bingeable TV series of 2023:
Hmm toss up between Poker Face and Totally Completely Fine – love me a quirky female protagonist. 

Biggest flop of 2023: Twitter becoming X and Threads.

Best piece of advice you’ve been given: Nothing is permanent. 

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