DraftFCB win Air NZ account

16:00, Jan 20 2012
Rico
COLD CASE: Last month Air New Zealand's slightly sleazy rodent was killed off in a viral campaign. Now the plum account has switched agencies.

Responsibility for Air New Zealand's creative advertising campaigns has switched from Clemenger Group to DraftFCB after a competitive pitch, with Saatchi & Saatchi also on the airline's roster.

Air New Zealand is one of the most sought-after advertising contracts in the country, and spent about $11 million on buying advertising media from January till November last year, according to ratecard calculations collated by Nielsen AIS.

That puts Air New Zealand at 43rd on the list of New Zealand's top 200 advertisers, but it's the progressive and creative approach that the award-winning airline has recently taken to its advertising campaigns that will provide a welcome challenge for DraftFCB.

Air New Zealand recently had its puppet mascot Rico "murdered" in a creative stunt that drew an end to the controversially foul-mouthed ambassador's stint as an airline spokesperson.

The national carrier has just been named Airline of the Year by Air Transport World magazine for the second time, and attention-grabbing in-flight videos and sponsorship link-ups have been a characteristic of the company's attempt to get potential tourists' attention overseas.

Air New Zealand did not respond to a request for comment on the change. Auckland-based DraftFCB declined to expand on a press release in which chairman and chief executive Bryan Crawford said the agency was thrilled about its new partnership with the company.

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It would take over the account in March.

DraftFCB was ranked the 21st most awarded agency in the world according to the industry "bible", The Big Won Report, and was the second most awarded agency in the Direct Advertising category.

It was ranked the eighth "most effective" advertising agency in the world last year according to the inaugural worldwide Effie Effectiveness Index, which measures client business performance as well as advertising creativity.

However the agency grouping which most recently had Air New Zealand's business, Clemenger Group, is no slouch when it comes to winning awards – mainly through Colenso BBDO.

It was Clemenger's specialist retail agency, .99, which had to relinquish its hold on Air New Zealand's account. The agency would not make any comment on the loss.

DraftFCB also has proven experience with retail giants like Mitre 10, Bond & Bond and Pak'n Save.

The agency has a specialty in "social change" campaigns such as the National Depression Initiative with John Kirwan, the "Shouty Sam" adverts for the Alcohol Advisory Council, and the "What's Your Number?" campaign for the Electricity Authority which have all provoked significant behavioural changes.

In the last 18 months it has attracted new business from National Bank and telecommunications company Orcon.

Taking a "supplementary" role in the arrangement, Saatchi & Saatchi chief executive Nicky Bell also said she was thrilled to be part of the team.

"Air New Zealand is an iconic New Zealand brand that has been on the edge of what's new." said Bell. Fairfax NZ

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