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Year in Review: Leighton Howl, The Pond

Every year, StopPress asks players in the local industry for their reflections on the year that was. Here’s what Leighton Howl, Talent Director at The Pond, had to say.

1. Favourite local campaign

BCITO Tricky Chat Stake Out TV campaign, EightyOne, Wellington.

2. Favourite international campaign

Kennards Rental Hire TV, quite silly concept, but a good laugh, Australian agency.

3. Least favourite campaign

The Covid-19 Govt Alert campaign, with the stripes signage design, and that ting ting sound effect, Clemenger, Wellington.

4. Pick three words to describe 2020

Global reality check.

5. Most memorable moment from lockdown?

Living five weeks in the sticks – away from civilisation.

6. First thing you did in Level 1?

Took everyone out for a team breakfast at Ozone, Grey Lynn.

7. First place you’ll travel to when borders open?

Nowhere, not a huge fan of planes to be honest – glad I killed the travel bug in my late twenties.

8. Heroes of 2020

Arianna Huffington, for her podcasts around the pandemic and the world’s underlying problems it exposed.

9. Villains of 2020

Department of Conservation, for moving the winter fishing spawning marker on the Hinemaiaia River, Taupo, 80 metres downstream without advising the public, and then fining anglers who fished the 80m stretch. (A classic example of painting fresh yellow lines next to your parked car and then getting a parking ticket). Thanks DOC!

10.  What have you learnt about the world this year?

Working from home is rather overrated.

11.  What personality trait got you in the most trouble this year? 

Being professional, honest and trying to do the right thing (true, some people just hate the honest truth).

12.  What achievement are you most proud of this year?

Probably getting the Pond Recruitment Agency through 2020, keeping in place our services and capability for clients (who were hiring) and pushing out the other side ready for a new and exciting 2021.

Overall it was a tough year for the recruitment sector, it felt very much like a five all draw vs Petone in 1997, in a gail force southerly, 3 degrees in the middle of July – tough going, head down, a bitter slog to the end.

13.  Silver lining of 2020? 

Borders being closed, reduced Immigration levels over the 12 months. This then helped displaced people who had lost their jobs to regain employment quicker than expected (5.6% unemployment rate). Less candidate competition on full-time roles and salaries are starting to rise as an effect.

14.  Best brands of 2020

Labour Party and Act Party, Sky Neon, Allpress Coffee, New Zealand, and local Kauri Bay Boomrock (pull).

15.  Lamest trend of 2020

TikTok and the 1pm briefing every day.

16.  Best innovation

Covid vaccine.

17.  What died in 2020? 

Cigarettes slowly for another year.

18.  Guilty Netflix obsession?

Only watch Sky Neon – at least they pay company tax in NZ (well try to).

19.  Twitter or Instagram?

Neither (takes up too much time with little personal gain).

20.  What should be uninvented? 

Social media, after 15 years it now looks to be creating more damage than good.

21.  What’s the biggest mistake marketers will make in 2021?

Investing too much in Paid Google Search. Like whoever clicks on the Paid result anyway?

Year in Review is brought to you by Discovery New Zealand.

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