3 min read
January 24, 2011

The Press, December 2010

From banking to baked beans, from The Hyperfactory to The Hobbit, from wine to Watties, 2010 has been an interesting year for marketing.

While many of us have just been trying to get through it, some have done a lot more.

In advertising 2010 saw one era end and another begin. After 11 years the Ira Goldstein character was finally retired after years of extolling the benefits of banking with ASB. In the sea of sameness that is bank marketing, the Goldstein campaign stood out and helped ASB differentiate its brand.

A new age began for Nestle’s Milky Bar brand, with a new ‘milky bar kid’ chosen from hundreds of aspirants. In a world first they choose a girl, 8 year old Hinetaapora Short from Rotorua. It is a welcome departure from the cookie-cutter blond boys of the past.

2010 saw some exciting achievements in the technology sector, the result of different styles of marketing. Mobile technology company The Hyperfactory realised the potential of their smarts and their aggressive international sales approach to receive a reported $22 million buyout by US media company Meredith Corporation. At the more steady end of spectrum was Tenderlink, the New Plymouth-based online tendering system provider for which local media company Fairfax paid $21 million .

In terms of global profile The Martin Jetpack got another shot at glory, being named as one of top 50 inventions of 2010 (no matter that it was launched in 2008). It was the second year in a row a Kiwi technology had made the list, with the YikeBike being recognised in 2009.

This exposure is welcome, given technology usually plays second fiddle to ‘sexier’ export sectors like wine. That industry saw a change in marketing terms with Montana renaming itself Brancott Estate, a brand name they previously only used in the US market. Discarding a brand with such heritage must have been a huge decision, and will hopefully turn out to be the right one.

Strong brands are exactly what the wine industry needs at this time, given it’s under enormous pressure. Numerous vineyards are for sale and some wine producers are facing ruin. Too many of them have failed to invest enough in their brand, that picture in a consumer’s mind that helps them choose your product over another, and are suffering because of it.

42 Below showed clearly how to build a powerful brand with their incredible growth story and subsequent sale to Bacardi. Founder Geoff Ross knew the value of, along with quality output, building a strong, unique reputation for a product.

Ross is at it again, this time with home fragrance company Ecoya, and has recently invested in Marlborough-based beer company Moa. Maybe he should start looking at some wine acquisitions, and work his brand magic with them.

However, we could all learn from those old masters of building brands, Watties. 2010 saw them topping the Readers Digest most trusted brand survey. Consistently getting the right mix of product, well-promoted, widely distributed and competitively priced is the key to this success.

Cadbury fell from its previous top position to 36th, the legacy of last year’s product changes and palm oil fiasco. More than many they would understand Benjamin Franklin’s assertion that “It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.”

The award for brand self-destroyer on a global scale must go to BP. The massive oil spill in the gulf of Mexico and the slowness of the response wreaked havoc on BP’s reputation and commercial value.

All the fancy advertising campaigns in the world can’t overcome simply getting it wrong. Delivering a great customer experience is the best marketing you can do.

A local organisation to spectacularly self-immolate its brand value was the Council of Trade Unions. Their cynical attempts to make capital from disrupting Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit film project was exposed for what it is, as average Kiwis realised Jackson has done more for the New Zealand film and tourism sectors than a thousand union officials ever could.

On a more positive note, the 2010 FIFA world cup showed again how powerful sporting events can be at helping companies market their products. The tournament earned $US 1.2 billion in international marketing revenue, made up of $1 billion in sponsorship, $110 million in hospitality and $80 million in licensing. It was interesting as a ‘business’ spectacle as much as a sporting one, ahead of New Zealand’s own world sporting event in 2011.

A star of that tournament may be New Zealand’s newest, and possibly now one of the biggest, individual sporting brands – everyone’s favourite rugby player and part-time boxer Sonny Bill Williams. His impact on New Zealand rugby has been immense, drawing media and fan interest of unprecedented proportions. Commercially he is helping drive a number of brands, most notably fronting for Rebel Sport.

Not since Dan Carter and his famous jockeys have we seen a sportsman have such an impact. Let’s hope he can have the same impression on the field next year.

2011 will not only be exciting because of the Rugby World Cup. There are plenty of smart Kiwi companies out there using clever marketing to find and grow export opportunities. Let’s hope they can win big, like the All Blacks, in the year ahead.

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