2011 was a fairly challenging year for MediaWorks, with management restructures, debt problems and tax bills. But there were plenty of positives too, with the new dual-channel approach that saw TV3 trying to snatch away some of TVNZ’s wrinklier viewers and FOUR becoming a mainstream entertainment channel seemingly starting to pay dividends. Amanda Wilson, head of marketing at TV3 and FOUR, lets her opinions on 2011 be known.
Through a series of huge product relaunches and lotteries innovations, as well as great campaigns for Lotto, Instant Kiwi and Big Wednesday, NZ Lotteries has increased its sales by more than $250 million in recent years, an increase bigger than the total chocolate confectionary category in New Zealand. And head of marketing Wendy Rayner has played an integral role in that rise. As a result, she won the prestigious TVNZ-NZ Marketing Marketer of the Year award this year. Here’s what caught her attention in 2011.
There was both joy and despair when Air New Zealand announced it had killed off Rico. And whether or not you liked the fur and fang, the digital trickery employed by .99 and the cute tie-in with Cluedo was a clever way of sending the non-specific spokebeast off. Now his murderer has been found and in a merging of mascots, Richard Simmons is back in front of the camera for Air New Zealand, along with the very talented puppeteer behind/inside Rico, Tyler Bunch.
Much like That Difficult Second Album Syndrome, it’s very hard for companies to keep up the growth required to make it back onto the Deloitte Fast 50 list. But, perhaps not surprisingly considering it now works with big clients like IAG, ASB, Volkswagen, Frucor, NZ Lotteries and Vodafone, Auckland boutique The Research Agency managed to do that this year, ranked as the 42nd fastest growing company in New Zealand after taking 29th position in 2010. Here’s what tickled the fancies—and got the goats—of its two partners Andrew Lewis and Amber Coulter.
Rico, the furry, double entendre-loving puppet, was a polarising mascot for Air New Zealand. Some felt his lewd conduct was ‘off’brand’ and a bad look for a premium airline that had lost its marketing way. Others felt it wasn’t aimed at New Zealanders and was a smart, fun way of gaining a heap of international attention via the airline’s social media channels. He was cerainly one of the most talked-about marketing things of the year, but now, in typically dramatic fashion—and with a smart digital tie-in to the boardgame Cluedo—Rico has been killed off.
At the beginning of 2007, Air New Zealand identified that to remain competitive and continue to build revenue and value it had to escape the ordinary and take a leadership position by creating a best-in-class long haul experience—and not just for the front of the plane, for everyone on the plane. Not only that, it also aimed to provide a story of Air New Zealand’s—and New Zealand’s—innovation to the world, build international talkability around the brand and give it a two-year leap on the competition.
Air New Zealand’s recent marketing win at the Airline Strategy Awards had some of you questioning the actual value of the campaign in regards to the airline’s bottom line. But it has continued its wit-inspired, celebrity-clad Rico videos and, much like Richard Simmons’ in-flight video appearance made some cringe, the latest celebrity to fly the online video skies with Air New Zealand could well have a similar shuddering effect. The latest online campaign sees Rico get Skycouch-cozy with a number of celebrities, first up, David Hasselhoff. That’s two seedy characters in one video folks.
Air New Zealand’s suave yet moderately offensive travelling mascot Rico has already laid down some beats with a couple of Wellingtonian musos. But he’s taken his music career up a few notches recently after recording his debut track ‘Hello Sunshine’ in Los Angeles. And it features a pretty special guest who’s also earned a reputation as something of a ladies man: Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr. AKA Tha Doggfather AKA Snoop Dogg.
2010 was a pretty damn good year for Air New Zealand and, whether it was picking fights with magazines, dreaming up the next borderline marketing campaign or collecting one of its many prestigious awards, there was certainly never a dull moment. Having recently snapped up a sizable stake in Virgin Blue, won a Wallpaper Design Award for its snazzy premium economy spaceseats and, after more than four years of design and development, taken delivery of the first big Boeing bird to be fitted with the much-drooled over economy sky couch, dullness has been avoided at the start of 2011 as well. But what about that strange furry Count von Count-esque spokesbeast Rico, we hear you ask. Well, he has been busy travelling the world, offending and delighting in equal measure. And his latest polarising performance for Australia Day, once again created by .99, seems to have continued that trend.
First it was naked staff. Then it was naked old ladies. Then it was blow up dolls. And the latest campaign from Air New Zealand to promote its new 777-300 planes, which take flight later this year, is also a bit raunchy, featuring as it does a budding travel author/furry lothario called Rico who has an entertainingly poor grasp of English and a talent for unintentional innuendo.