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NBR Advertising Agency of the Year 2010

After a ripping 2010 from both Colenso BBDO and Special Group, NBR judges couldn't decide between them. They're two very different agencies with two very different types of success – both top-notch. Meanwhile, Shine and DraftFCB round out the hot li

Hazel Phillips
Fri, 26 Nov 2010

After a ripping 2010 from both Colenso BBDO and Special Group, NBR judges couldn’t decide between them. They’re two very different agencies with two very different types of success – both top-notch. Meanwhile, Shine and DraftFCB round out the hot list. 

Who could argue that Special has had an outstanding year?

Supreme Winner 2010: Special Group

When it scooped a haul of awards at Axis – including the hat trick of integrated/titanium/interactive – the agency staff could barely make it back to their seats before their next win was being announced. 

On the awards front, 2010 has been capped off with a Cannes grand prix for its Orcon + Iggy Pop = Together Incredible campaign. 

It has trebled its staff, significantly increased profit and upped revenue, all the while being the agency name on everyone’s lips.

“We just had this tremendous momentum, which kicked off at the Effies last year, with the Green Party campaign,” managing partner Michael Redwood said.

“Then the Orcon campaign kicked off in October and that’s given us a lot of momentum over the past 12 months.”

Special got stuck into much more work for new clients such as Mother, MediaWorks, Ecostore, Unitec and Lion Nathan’s Diageo portfolio. 

Creative director Tony Bradbourne points to overall growth as well as the obvious successes for his 2010 highlights, while Mr Redwood said he is honoured to share a podium with Colenso BBDO. 

“Being awarded agency of the year alongside Colenso is an incredible satisfaction. I rate the award because it’s not all about award performance but impact in the market.

“[NBR publisher] Barry [Colman] has got a very strong bullshit detector, so to be ranked as being as notable as Colenso in the market after three years in business is excellent. 

“It’s a good summation of the work, the business wins, and the awards.”

Having their own company – alongside partners Heath Lowe and Rob Jack – is another bonus. 

“It has been great to go out there and grow from six or seven people to 17 people,” Mr Redwood said.

Their best hire this year? Without a doubt, creative team Iain MacMillan and Antony Wilson, from Publicis Mojo. 

The only question left is, has the agency managed to transcend the indie tag? At the beginning of 2010, it was denied the opportunity to pitch for a big piece of business because it was “too small.”

“I would like to think now there’s not a piece of business we wouldn’t get a shot at,” Mr Redwood said. “When I first came to Special, I saw them as a sharp creative boutique and that was the perception for the first year or so. But this year that’s changed. Hot creative boutiques don’t clean up at Axis.”

Mr Bradbourne: “Banks and breweries don’t give their business to ‘interesting little creative boutiques’.”

Colenso BBDO

Supreme Winner 2010: Colenso BBDO

Having just had its record profit year since the agency was founded some Five40 years ago, Colenso BBDO is flying high. 

Winning the hard-fought Westpac account is the jewel in the agency’s crown for 2010, while it has managed to increase its TVNZ and Vodafone business organically. 

It has made some major hires, including Paul Wilson (ex-Barnes, Catmur & Friends), Dan Wright (ex-DDB), Andy McLeish from TBWA and Steve Clark from Publicis Mojo. 

Incoming managing director Nick Garrett, who hit the ground running in early 2010 from BMF Sydney, said Westpac was a big deal for the agency. 

“It was great to see the team galvanise and get really excited about new business. You see the best and the worst in an agency with new business, but seeing them step up and go for it early on in my time here meant a lot to me.”

On the creative side, Colenso has produced stacks of work, including major campaigns for the likes of DB Export and V energy drink. 

Mr Garrett said inaugural work for Westpac was up the sleeve and ready to go within a few weeks. 

“It’s always nice to work on exciting FMCG and beer brands – we feel lucky that we’ve got such a nice range and array of clients in our portfolio and interesting people to work with.”

The highlights for executive creative director Nick Worthington? 

“Doing things we don’t know how to do – including making a chocolate bar that outsold the best chocolate bar in the country. 

“Putting a cone on the Sky tower [via V jetpack] was pretty fun.

“And the Pacific work was fascinating for us.”

Looking to the future, Mr Garrett now wants to raise the bar even higher. 

“I want to make sure everyone’s still having fun and is excited and engaged, to do more in the innovation areas – ideas beyond traditional advertising. 

“To push the boundaries even harder. We had a great year at Cannes and Effies and we’re thrilled to win certain agency of the year titles. The bar has been raised – it just means we need to go even harder next year.”


Five-Star Winner 2010: DraftFCB

After racking up one business win after another in 2009, most ad folk assumed DraftFCB would quieten down and stop winning for at least six months. 

But the agency wasn’t content with its 2009 wins – such as Alac, Westfield and the National Bank – and it has gone on to make one account win after another during 2010. 

It has picked up business – either creative or media – such as NZI Insurance, Sony New Zealand, Save the Children, Statistics New Zealand, Stella Travel, Hoyts and Bonus Bonds, to name a few.

It was in the luxurious situation of being able to decline seven pitches, including big accounts such as Sanitarium and Griffins. 

Meanwhile, its revenue and profit have skyrocketed. 

For chief executive Bryan Crawford, the agency’s excellent showing at this year’s Effie Awards was a highlight. (The agency scooped nine gold awards, hot on the heels of major winner Colenso BBDO.)

“The pleasing thing was our hit rate is always pretty high. I also think it’s a sign of the times that Effies is becoming the currency clients care about.”

DraftFCB Media managing director Derek Lindsay said the agency’s ability to deliver awards as a united brand across different disciplines is a bonus. 

“Given that we’re an integrated agency, what you actually want as your ideal is for everybody to be strong – across RSVPs, the Media Awards, Effies and Axis.”

The agency has brought in several key hires, such as group account director Toby Sellers, retail guru Kamran Kazalbash, and PR head Angela Spain. 

“Bringing those senior people in at all those levels has been a real positive and has strengthened the team.”

Growth and revenue is also a standout for Mr Crawford. 

“It’ll be one of our best years ever – and not off a small base.”

He rates The Journal/National Depression Initiative, the Alac work and repositioning the National Bank as work highlights for the year. 

“It would’ve been very hard at the start of this year to look back and say, could we top last year? But somehow we’ve been able to. I think we did a lot of great work in 2008 and 2009 that served us well now, in terms of building the brand.

“Our challenge is going to be backing up this year, next year, again, and delivering another performance. Where to next?” 


Five-Star Winner 2010: Shine

After winning a handful of new accounts – such as RaboDirect, some Tip Top business and a slew of Fonterra goodies  – industry minds are starting to sit up and take notice of this indie on the rise. 

It has now got the likes of Kapiti, De Winkel, Country Goodness, CalciYum and all of Fonterra’s Food Service business – taking it from fellow agency of the year winner Colenso BBDO. 

As a result, 2010 has been a case of heads down, bums up, for the creative shop which has just celebrated its success by moving into some flash new offices in Britomart. 

Managing partner Simon Curran is satisfied – for the moment.

“The most pleasing thing about our year has been that we’ve won assignments from exactly the kind of clients we work with best – those who are looking for strategic brand thinking and ideas and new ways of working – and we also deepened relationships with longer-standing clients like Lion Nathan and Healtheries.”

The agency has also had a significant increase in revenue and a clutch of new staff. 

Creative partner Lucien Law is hitching his wagon to a star.

“We want to be thought leaders in the industry, a shop that every ideas person wants to work for or with,” Mr Law said.

“That means we have to be really smart about the clients and talent we work with and how we develop our capabilities.”

A feather in the agency’s cap this year has been the win of RaboDirect after a competitive pitch. 

The bank’s general manager Mike Heath told NBR he found Shine a good cultural fit.

“Shine really understood who we are and what we’re trying to achieve in this market.”

Fonterra Brands New Zealand marketing director Dominic Quinn is also singing the agency’s praises.

“Shine are the ideal partners for us in the parts of our business where we are looking to make step change through challenging existing conventions.”

Special Group: Back row: Tony Bradbourne, Antony Wilson. Front row: Annabel Rees, Claire Beatson, Michael Redwood, Kim Fraser, Iain MacMillan 

Colenso BBDO: Left to right: Jen Storey, Steve Cochran, Kyle Melnyk, Jim Moser, Nick Worthington, Aaron Turk, James Hurman, Lou Kuegler

DraftFCB:  Left to right: Donna Baylis, James Mok, Bryan Crawford, Anne Lipsham, Matt Scott, Olivia Prentice, Laura Goldie, Murray Watt

Shine: Back row: James Blair, Brendon Eastlake, Hamish McArthur, Lucien Law. Front row: Noah Butcher, Michelle Burke, Kate Smith, Simon Curran

Hazel Phillips
Fri, 26 Nov 2010
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NBR Advertising Agency of the Year 2010