2degrees is attempting a fairly difficult telco trick at the moment as it tries to morph from a challenger brand with lots of low value customers into a grown-up company that’s more appealing to the high-rollers—and it could be argued its agency Special Group is on a similar trajectory as it evolves from a small indie with small clients into a serious multi-national network that’s competing with the bigg’uns. And now the pair are set to launch a very grown-up stunt to celebrate Auckland’s 175th anniversary, its new phone plans and the launch of Samsung’s new Galaxy S6 by turning the Auckland Harbour Bridge into an interactive light show.
Browsing: Special group
When clients shack up with a new agency there’s a tendency to torch the previous work and start afresh. 2degrees and its new partner Special Group certainly took a different approach with their recent business push, but it’s kept Rhys Darby on as the frontman and maintained the quirky, colloquial and self-reflexive style of the previous work for the pair’s first big brand ad.
There’s gold in them thar hills and the rural sector is still the undoubted engine of the New Zealand economy, but agricultural clients aren’t generally regarded as being particularly creatively rewarding for the shiny arsed agency folk and the vast majority of campaigns for rural products tend to stick to a tried, true and fairly bland formula. So Special Group has tried to add some humour to the mix with its ‘Prevention is better than cure’ campaign for Zoetis’ Teat Seal that shows what farmers could be doing instead of dealing to mastitis.
Entertainment has long been part of advertising, as evidenced by the (paraphrased) old Saatchi & Saatchi mantra of ‘if it’s interrupting you in your living room, it better be good’. But that idea has evolved over the years, to the point where Cannes added a branded content category into the schedule this year and Mumbrella recently held its inaugural Australasian Branded Entertainment Awards. And Special Group managed to take home a silver for The Gravity Coffee Run in best integration of brand story-telling (non-fictional) and a gold for The Smirnoff Night Project in transmedia. Air New Zealand’s Kiwi Sceptics campaign by Host Sydney took two bronzes in the same two categories.
Unitec’s brave ‘Change Starts Here’ campaign by Special Group and Naked helped change perceptions of the institution, and its latest ‘We make the people who make it’ push ramped up the brand’s cool factor by showcasing some of the impressive constructions its students have been involved in around Auckland. But it certainly didn’t stop at TV because that quest has continued through a range of smart campaign extensions and media partnerships organised by Beat PR, including one with George FM that’s given a group of Unitec students the challenge of constructing the ultimate DJ booth.