Year in Review: Struan Abernethy, ReachMedia

Every year, StopPress asks players in the local industry for their reflections on the year that was. Here’s what Struan Abernethy, CEO at ReachMedia, had to say.

1. Favourite local campaign

Tourism NZ – Good Morning World. Just the best use of local Kiwis putting our place top of mind (obviously pre-Covid).

2. Favourite international campaign

Heineken – Boys Drink Cocktails Too/Cheers To All. Just love the gender stereotyping and play on everyone can enjoy a Heineken.

3. Least favourite campaign

Facebook – We’re Never Lost If We Can Find Each Other. Leveraging a global pandemic for self promotion as only Zuckerberg can do.

4. Three words to describe 2020

A hidden gift.

5. Most memorable moment from lockdown?

Doing a Sonny & Cher lip sync video with my partner Alix.

6. First thing you did in Level 1?

Drove to Wellington to hug my two sons who decided to stay in their university flats for lockdown.

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

Australia to visit family.

8. Heroes of 2020

Eddie Vedder. The Pearl Jam frontman spent time in lockdown writing a new single about a rare skin disorder called epidermolysis bullosa (EB). The song is called A Matter Of Time and the video shows bandaged kids battling the condition which causes fragile, blistering skin that rarely heals. Proceeds to fund research for a cure. Download it now. Vedder is too good…

9. Villains of 2020

The complete muppet who decided to complete a U-turn without indicating in a dual carriageway and hitting my brand new Triumph Bonneville with me on it. Dick Head! Zuckerberg, anyone involved in the manufacture and distribution of meth in Aotearoa. 

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

That it is precious and not to be taken for granted. And whilst we usually only get to hear about the bad stuff going on in the world, there are loads of fantastic humans doing fantastic things to make our planet a better place.

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

Work ethic translated to “work hard / play hard” …some hard playing was had at times!

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

My oldest son, East Abernethy, completing his university degree in Covid times. Very proud of his degree and proud that it was completed under challenging circumstances.  

13. Silver lining of 2020

On the work front and no doubt like many other businesses, Covid has accelerated our transformation plan to a point where we are seeing some real success in the market. On a personal front, spending time with my beautiful partner Alix. 

14. Best brands of 2020

Nike on the back of “The Last Dance” Michael Jordan documentary and Triumph Motorcycles because …well it’s Triumph Motorcycles.

15. Lamest trend of 2020

Celebrity podcasts overload and corporate webcasts trying desperately “not” to sell you something.

16. Best innovation

Hydrogen powered airplanes.

17. What died in 2020?

NZ First.

18. Guilty Netflix obsession?

The Last Dance – watched it three times. Jordan is a frickin legend.

19. Twitter or Instagram


20. What should be uninvented?

Social media.

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

Underestimating the power and audience reach of an online/offline strategy. It’s not digital vs print, but the combination that will sustain long term success.

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

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