A blog for the New Zealand creative advertising industry, now at www.campaignbrief.com/nz. Email news to: michael@campaignbrief.com

Tuesday, January 31, 2006



Newish from Mother. What do you think?

Hmmmm. No comments yet. Well, it's getting a lot of chatter over at CB. To see the thread look in comments on this post.



From campaignbrief.blogspot.com

"Cannes Lions chairman Terry Savage arrived back in Sydney from London on the weekend and is close to announcing the seven jurors allocated to Australia and the three for New Zealand. CB hears the Top three Aussie candidates for the Film Jury are Scott Whybin (Whybin TBWA), James McGrath (George Patts Y&R) and Ted Horton (Dewey Horton), while Jay Furby (The Furnace), Pete Buckley (Saatchi) and one other are vying for the Press Jury spot. Siimon Reynolds (Love) is one of three candidates for the Titanium Jury spot, whie Craig 'Moose' Moore (Clemenger BBDO Sydney) is a candidate for Radio and Andrew Tinning (Marketforce) is nominated for Outdoor.
This year will be more exciting than most as the Cannes Jury President is Australia's Dave Droga -- even though he is more from New York and Hollywood these days."

Monday, January 30, 2006

Psssst, Welly....come in Chch

Today is Monday January 30. It's Anniversary Day in Auk'alofa and all your Queen City peers are out getting pissed on their massive gin palaces somewhere in the Gulf. What a great day to get a head start on them. The media appearance close-off date for Axis is Feb 28. You have exactly four weeks to get something sold, signed, and out.


Telecom gets into big Porn

Can you imagine how pissed Ms T. Gattung must have been when one of her minions knocked politely on her door to say that they were about to spend untold millions on buying a giant pornography portal: www.ferrit.com ? Hmmm. Best practise is usually to clear up such matters before launching a new multi-million dollar on-line business. You know, checking your chosen brand name isn't shared with a US-based purveyor of XXX goodies called Pornville, based in Texas.

Anyway, somebody didn't, so they had to cough up a lot of cash. Or maybe it's just a publicity stunt to buy column inches for the faltering start-up. Whatever, this was reported on page 3 of Friday's NBR, who usually check their facts quite well before going to print.

Also in the current NBR, in their lovely, bitchy Private Bin, Ferrit gets a bit of a kicking for its advertising campaign. Worth a read.


Dudman, Stevens and Foster are off like a....

As reported in fastline, Directors Adam Stevens, Christ Dudman and Producer Mark Foster are leaving the Silverscreen family to become Robber's Dog. Bsed in Ponsonby, they can be contacted through mfoster@robbersdog.co.nz or on 021 641 150. At SPQR late last, a visibly tired and emotional Foster said " mhmmmmble driibbbblllle fuckin grumbleeshit". We have no idea what he was talking about, but he seemed to be in a top mood.

Refreshing Change

A good Heineken spot, for a change. Stands up to repeated viewings too. Out of Leo Burnett Sydney through Sydney Film Co.


Sunday, January 29, 2006

Web 2.0 Update : Cullen 1, Key 0

The story broke on the front page of NBR Friday 27/1 but was more comprehensively followed through in Saturday's analogue NZ Herald.

Trade Me are talking to the Gummint about using Trade Me as a share-trading portal.

Oh no it's not, inferred National's previously well-respected and likeable finance spokesman The Right Rich John Key. In fact, according to the Herald, he called the idea "crazy".

" There's a vast world of difference between buying a second hand motor mower and buying a share script, and I would have thought Dr Cullen would have realised that." he told the Herald.

"We just spent the last 10 years cleaning up the Wild West image of the capital markets.

Raising capital through an auction website would be an extremely risky business for everyone - companies and investors."

Really? Are you shitting us? Do you think we're all NCEA grads?

The nzcreativecircle economics faculty has it on good authority that there is fuck all differnce between buying a 500 dollar motor mower and 100 x $5 shares. Especially if you're talking about shares in a mower manufacturer.

Not surprisingly, NZX's Mark Weldon was spitting tacks.

Investors were best served, he told the Herald, " where they have access to all material information about the companies they invest in, and where there is a strong technology base not only for the trading of shares, but for their clearing, settlement and custody."

Which part of the Trade Me model don't they understand? How difficult do you think it would be for them to build an incredibly effective stock trading mechanism? Not very.

If I was NZX I'd be afraid. Very afraid.

thanks to www.nzherald.co.nz

Hunt ( not his real name)
nzcc it

( Have you ever noticed that if you drop the S in Story you get Tory? Frenchy)

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Thanks for Stellar week

In the past 7 days nzcreativecircle has, according to the beanies at Google, served 3,105 impressions ( whatever that means - Hunt?) and generated an undisclosed number of clicks and an equally hush-hush number of direct referrals ( Hunt!??) and earned a stunning $2.06 (US) for kids with cancer (NZ).

During January to date, visitors have "donated" USD $5.05 and the all-time total... "Judy, I think we have a new total!?" - an all-time total now of USD $14.53.

Which as you can appreciate makes this almost a tax deductible amount. I think . Bit hazy on New Zealand tax law actually. Anyway. Better go talk to Busty about it. Her and Trusty can recommend a good tax accountant. ( Lusty's at a hen party on Waiheke. Bit of a binger.)

Well done. Keep up the good work.


( Little Hintie: 1 x Firefoxie downloadie equals about one yankee doodle buckeroonie)

Friday, January 27, 2006

The Web 2.0.

This is the first time our IT guy Hunt (not his real name) has written for the blog so please give him the benefit of the doubt.


First of all, this isn't pointed at those readers of this blog who have Macs, who accept invites to Gmail, who use Google Video and upload stuff, who know how to use Appleton Live or Fruityloops and Final Cut Pro and were hanging out for GoogleEarth to be released for Mac ( apparently it has been ) and who read Contagious and who... not you guys.

It's just for the three or 4 of you who don't. The ones who asked Neil at a piss-up before Xmas, what exactly was a blog and is there a catalog?.

In this week's Listener, Russell Brown's Wide Area News gives one of the best and most succinct explanations of where things appear to be going.

Hunt ( not my real name)
nzcc it

Thursday, January 26, 2006

This week nzcc is channelling: Kerry Packer!

The big, gruff man who said a lot of funny,insightful things - including, after being clinically dead for eight minutes ( the first time ):

" I've been to the other side son. And you know what? There's nothing fucking there."

( or something like that)

Blog will be down from about 1pm today

From the clever clogs at Google:

We'll be taking Blogger down on Wednesday the 25th at 4pm PST to fix a bit of a switch that's gone wonky on us. The outage should last about 15 minutes. Blogger.com and Blog*Spot blogs will be inaccessible during this time.

This repair will fix the problem that caused the brief outage last Friday night. We're also using this down time as an opportunity to tune our databases for more efficient spam catching and deletion.

Hot girls.

Advertising must have the hottest chicks in the
Which agency does not have at least one or two hot
I think nzcreativecircle should get together with
Caanz and some photographers and produce a
calender...for charity of course. Featuring all the
girls in their underwear.
Make your nominations now.

Send instant messages to your online friends http://au.messenger.yahoo.com

Heaven or Hell?

Clever or Crap? Discuss.

( pics courtesy of CB blog)

Pac Blue bumps Frank, upgrades to Lowe

For immediate release
January 26, 2006

Pacific Blue chooses Lowe

Virgin Blue’s international airline Pacific Blue^, has enlisted the talents of top advertising agency Lowe to help increase its market reach and brand presence in New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.

Lowe will work with Pacific Blue to build the airline’s brand position and drive sales in New Zealand and in the key Pacific market destinations including Fiji, Vanuatu, Samoa, Tonga and the Cook Islands. Lowe will handle all brand and retail marketing work for both the Pacific Blue and Polynesian Blue brands under the direction of group head Peter Brown.

Pacific Blue selected Lowe as a result of its highly successful brand and marketing work with Vodafone and NZ Lotteries, their strong focus on retail marketing as well as the passion which the agency felt for the airline’s business.

Peter Brown said the agency was delighted to have an opportunity to work with a marketer as savvy and committed as Pacific Blue.

“A shared understanding of what Pacific Blue is truly capable of in this market is what excited us both,” he said.

Pacific Blue New Zealand Marketing and Sales Manager Jo Wedlock said the company is delighted to be working in partnership with Lowe.

“Pacific Blue and Polynesian Blue have grown up over the past two years and we wanted an agency that would drive both the brand and the retail elements of the company.

“Over the past 12 months we've wanted to take our brands forward. Lowe has shown themselves to be a stand-out agency, delivering work with the results and ethics that we feel is a perfect fit for the Pacific Blue brand. We are really excited about the future together," she said.

Lowe General Manager Cameron Harland said that the opportunity to work with Pacific Blue was a great start to 2006, on the back of a year of strong growth in 2005.

“Lowe has built an enviable reputation for growing our clients’ businesses. We’re a team that’s focused on results and it’s paying dividends” he said.

Happy Birthday Australia

Sam's back.


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

We're not smiling

Sick of seeing Smile City on absolutely every bloody web page you vist? Even porn? Ever mistype a url and have Smile fucking City open in your Firefox? Write to
Smile City and tell them to back off.

Pissed Off of Pt Chev

The flash, apparently official...

25 January 2006


CEO of DDB New Zealand Group, Martin O’Halloran has been appointed Chairman/CEO of DDB New Zealand and Australia.

DDB is one of the largest communications companies in New Zealand and is the parent company of DDB Advertising, WRC, Mango Communications, Imagination, OMD, MediaWise and Tribal DDB. DDB Australia has offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

O’Halloran’s career with DDB spans 20 years, 17 of them in New Zealand – the other three in Australia. He has been CEO of the group for the past four years. In 2004 he was awarded CEO of the year, DDB was named B&T agency of the year and was the leading agency at the 2005 Axis Creative awards.

He is highly regarded within the local advertising community, having been president of CAANZ for four years and currently its vice president.

President of DDB Asia Pacific, Mr John Zeigler, says O’Halloran has done a superb job building the New Zealand DDB business to become one of DDB’s top 5 agencies worldwide. “Marty is one of the best managers we have in the DDB Worldwide network. He has built a leading edge agency that has achieved Asia Pacific regional top three creative status and has a people culture second to no other agency.”

Mr O’Halloran says it’s a great honour to be offered this challenging new role, which sees him assume responsibility for the Australian operation as well as maintaining overall responsibility for the New Zealand business.

“Part of my new challenge will be to continue the growth that’s been experienced in both the New Zealand and Australian businesses to date. We want to sustain our strong regional standing within both markets, while developing further opportunities to generate ongoing business initiatives,” Mr O’Halloran says.

“I believe there will be huge two-way trans-Tasman opportunities for DDB that I will be able to take advantage of in my new role.”

The new role will see O’Halloran based in Sydney but he will spend regular periods in New Zealand. It is expected that a new group managing director will be appointed to DDB New Zealand within the next three months.


For further information contact:

Martin O’Halloran

Chairman/CEO DDB New Zealand & Australia

021 949 822 or 00612 9363 4809

"Fuck you, Kiwis" - Maverick US mAdman coming to Auckland

The nzcreativecircle is pleased to announce the first in a series of book readings planned for 2006. Legendary Philadelphia-based alternative brand agency Gyro is sending over its CEO/CD and noted US historian Mr Steven A. Grasse to yell at everyone in a bar for an hour or so.

Mr Grasse is also expected to read from his new book entitled "The Evil Empire - 101 ways in which Britain ruined the world", which is being published later in the year.

This will be happening at a date TBC. Maybe March. Maybe not. It's hard to pin him down. Although Sonia did. But that was a few years ago.

For an idea of what to expect when his Gulf V touches down at Mangere, go to:




DDB Sydney standing ever so by...

Hot off campaignbrief.blogspot.com this morning:

"Stand by later today for a major announcement from DDB that has ramifications for both Australia and New Zealand. The latest development comes less than a week after the resignation of DDB national creative director, Garry Horner. CB hears an all staff meeting has been called for midday, at least in the Sydney office. Shortly after, all should be revealed as word gets out - so check into the CB blog around lunchtime today."

No more "C" word

After a couple of pointed comments from some of our more XX readers, nzcc has promised not to drop the "C" bomb on the front page any more. Not in headlines anyway. However, it is still available for use in your message text and in the comments bar. And in your letters to the editor. For a full list of words accepted by nzcc for publication, go to www.askoxford.com

Damail from Dabitch

After hearing of CB's selection for the global Battle of the Ad Blogs, nzcc made a pathetic, grovelling last minute pitch for inclusion on the shortlist. We used every trick we have learned in 3 decades of pitching new business, including dressing up reception with Nordic fertility gods, offering to pick her up from her home in a chauffeured Saab, and hiring Heidi the Temp to sit on the front desk. Didn't work. But she did get back personally with the bad news:

Hi Frenchy,

It's a bummer that we hadn't seen http://nzcreativecircle.blogspot.com
when we sorted through pour lists of nominees, but as young as it is we'd
likely not have it on the nomination list in the end anyway. We had so
many blogs that we liked in the pile at first and had to get mean so we
crossed out all the "young ones", that is, blogs that were pretty new.
Else that battle page might have been a hundred blogs long! ;)

But keep up the good work and you'll certain to be nominated next year!
You do have the advantage of being from the other side of the world -
another thing we wanted to make sure was that many blogs from not the US
got some attention for once. ;)

Meanwhile, I guess you'll have to root for you neighbours over at
campaignbreif. It's an interesting idea your blog, with the email in the
gossip thing. Does it not get a lot of spam? Looking forward to see how it

I've added your link to the adlinks collection so that other people may
find your blog.


Åsk Dabitch

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Sorry about that Boh - a reader confesses

Went along to Zoo Music the other night with my wee fella. He's 2. Lovely night. Warm. Cute little animals. Cutting to the chase. Boh Runga had been on for about 10 minutes when my son decided he wanted to go up and stand by the Tiger enclosure ( ie., have a poo).
So I went up there with him ( have a poo in his nappies I mean) which was pretty good really because It is high ground and we had a great view of the Rotunda. I was tapping my feet when all of a sudden Number One son sneaks up behind me and pulls down my pants. No poo.
No undies either. It was the longest 1.5 seconds of my life. A couple of the lovely ladies from Silk and Stace from Soundtrax were nearby but fortuately for them, their view was obstructed by a couple of hunderd people and half the band. So, ah, yeah. Boh didn't miss a beat. What a pro.

Name supplied but witheld by request

From Lynchy's (formidable) archives


Attached is a rather nasty one that killed rock promoter Bill Graham in


Gotta pxt opf the chopper. may be the accident story is full of shit


From campaignbrief.blogspot.com

In preparation for AWARD’s AGM on Wednesday 15th February @ 5.30pm at The Dolphin Hotel, Surry Hills, ballot forms and nominee BIOs are being posted out today.
Calling on Gold members to vote, there are 19 nominees in the running for the 5 places available on the 2006 Committee. AWARD co-chairmen Darryn Devlin and Paul Prince remain for another term.
Ballot forms need to be completed and returned to AWARD by Monday 13th February 2006. Meanwhile, members and non-members alike, any thoughts on what AWARD got right and what it got wrong last year?"

( They look like a smug couple of bastards.Neil)

Does anyone know how to programme a cunting Blackberry?

I bought one from ( name supplied ) of DDB in the toilets atthe Strand Tavern the other night for $50 bucks and a Viagra. It's a parallel import apparently. Can't for the life of me figure the fucker out. If you can, please email me french.neil@gmail.com

You could be our new IT guy. We're hiring.


Raghead writes:

موقع عربي متميز في مجال التجارة و التسويق الالكتروني

مئات السلع و المنتجات الشيقة ... إن لم تكن تريد الشراء فبإمكانك البيع


Monday, January 23, 2006

NZ Girl

What happened?!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

How do you top Grrrrr?

Like this.Nice.

Update: Well we like this ad. Interesting ( in a disturbing way) to see what is being written about it on the CB blog as we speak, so over to them for an update:

(Live - from campaignbrief.blogspot.com)

Anonymous said...

Is this serious?? I mean really, this is actually sscraping the realms of shithouse quite deeply. They actually think consumers will go for this? Just another self important vanity project.

Sweet jesus what a waste of $$, ut full credit to the agency wankers that talked them into it


(continued in comments)

The quick brown Firefox jumps over the lazy dog

Repeat until bored.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Back Lynchy in the battle of the Blogs

Campaignbrief.blogspot.com is a contender in Battle of the Blogs, a global ad blog contest organised by ad-rag.com, a site many of you will probably be members of already. It's kind of the eBay of blogs from what I can see, with about 900 or so people online at any one time. Rather hugse and very smooth.

Go check it out:



Vote for your faves - a very slick app takes you through all the categories, takes a while to do but it's interesting.

And unlike the Aussie Rugby Union when it came to the crunch in the World Cup bunfight, maybe you could give your vote to the Australians. Lynchy's done enough favours for  all of us.

The people who do this sort of thing are sickos

Surely one of the more disturbing jpegs which has been sent to my inbox lately. I nearly opened it in front of my children. Nutbars.

If you have any sick photos you'd like to share with nzcc, especially if they were taken yesterday at Ericsson, send them to neilfrench@nyc.com


Update: Shit shit, sorry, actually didn't immediately clock the ransom note. laid out in closely curned replica Letraset it said "Hey - mildly retarded Amish boy, if you don't hand over the money by Wednesday at noon, Bombo will never play the piano again" Sorry about that, a bit edgy in the mailroom today. Rough comedown. Bloody Charge pills.

Soft news. Easy listening News. It's the weekend after all.

From Ananova.com:

Superman's bulge worries movie bosses

The new Superman is giving movie bosses a headache - because of the size of his bulge.

They fear Brandon Routh's profile in the superhero's skintight costume could be distracting, reports the Sun.

Hollywood executives have ordered the makers of Superman Returns to cover it up with digital effects.

The Sun's source said: "It's a major issue for the studio. Brandon is extremely well endowed and they don't want it up on the big screen.

"We may be forced to erase his package with digital effects."

Brandon, 26, has taken over the superhero's cape from the late Christopher Reeve.

Wardrobe artists have had to fit him with a special codpiece for the new film out next year.

(actually I think this is old, soft news, but kind of interesting anyway. Appealed to me anyhow. Neil's still not bck from the BDO.... hope he's in a good mood. The cat went poos on his Herman Miller chair and I've been blooging on his Powerbook. It's easier to get forgiveness than permission, right? I hope so!!)

Heidi the Temp

Friday, January 20, 2006

Ummm....this is probbaly worth a post.

Just saw this on the TVNZ One News website while surfing:

Bin Laden offers truce for pullout
Jan 20, 2006

Osama bin Laden warned that al Qaeda was preparing new attacks inside the United States, but said the group was open to a conditional truce with Americans, according to an audio tape attributed to him on Friday.

It was the first purported tape by bin Laden since 2004. Al Jazeera television, which aired the tape, said it was recorded in December.

"The operations are under preparation and you will see them in your houses as soon as they are complete, God willing," said the speaker on the tape, who sounded like bin Laden.

A CIA official in Washington said US intelligence analysts have authenticated the audio tape as a genuine message from bin Laden following a "a technical analysis".

Gee. I know it's not really an advertising story but...holy smoke, it's a pretty big story if it's true, eh.. I hope Neil doesn't mind because I was just supposed to stay here and answer the fax and make sure the pot plants were irrigated every 10 minutes. But if Baycorp call up I'm supposed to tell them to fuck off and get a life. I shouldn't really tell you that, should I? Oh well. This blogspot things real easy isn't it. I haven't even got NCEA. January, fingers crossed. When I hear about my results I mean. How was the BDO?

LOL, Heidi


Why is cheating wrong? Ummmm....

There have been some remarkable opinions expressed on this blog in the past 48 hours in respect of the scandalous unnamed scam. Very naive stuff.

Most remarkable of all is that many of you think that cheating, and lying is okay, if there's a gong at the end of it. Whatever it takes...

This kind of attitude reflects badly on all people working in advertising, in whatever sphere. It merely serves to confirm what the general public think of us as a rule, rating us somewhere between car dealers and politicians. But I know some reasonably honest politicians and quite a few guys I'd buy a used car from. Then there's a couple of ad people I wouldn't trust to look after my wallet. Let alone my business.

So, why are scams wrong? Well, they're not all wrong. It's not so black and white The traditional scam ad is a "good idea" which is retro-fitted for a convenient minor brand or retail business. Or a minor brand with an easy peasy creative direction - the sort that a 14 year old could make a funny gag out of. Then they are run, usually once. And entered into awards. That's not wrong either, it's just not brilliant. Not genius. Not moving us forward.

15 years ago, scams were the rule. Ads for dog training schools and ant obedience courses were cleaning up at awards shows in this part of the world. As were charity ads, which back then didn't tend to be fenced off into their own category.

So big serious business problems for big multi-national brands answered by insightful strategies and genious creative were disadvantaged by cheap shots at very easy targets - like a couple of dogs pissing against a urinal for some spurious dog training school. Funny? Yes. An example of the creative process at its best? No.

There was a definite backlash against this - typified by an ad run by AWARD back in the early 90s featuring a photo of a hand holding a dead dog and the headline - "here's a dead dog. Where's my award?" This was a direct reference to an AMV ad from London which featured a pile of dead dogs ( Aushwitz-style) for a charity which cleaned up in the shows around that time. I'm hazy on exact dates. Too much claret/ But that's when the industry in this part of the world started to behanve like...well, grown-ups. Like pros.

Some of New Zealand's success in award shows in the past decade has been due to work which is at best, dodgy. Young creatives have made careers on the strength of work which is not at all robust. But hey, that's not wrong either. However, would you rather have in your book an award-winning campaign for a pubic hair straightener, or a major international telco? Which do you think is ultimately going to make you a hero? Which is going to make you a milllion dollar creative?

Smart scams are basically capers, and there'll always be a place for them. Under the radar, cheeky and cheerful. Picking up the odd award and giving everyone a laugh.

Where scams go bad is when they are not only vapid and vacuous, but fraudulent. When a piece of work has been produced, hustled, and lied into the award books - like when someone hypes a piece of work that has never been seen by the client, possibly never appeared anywhere except on the agency toilet door, and then it wins a gong. Not cool guys. Not particularly clever, either. Just a creative wank, I'm afraid.

Think of the biggest, most successful New Zealand ads ever. Go on. You can summon up a few, I'm sure. Are they for farting classes or douches? Nah, they're for really big brands like Toyota, Lotto, Instant Kiwi, Telecom, Sky TV etc. The ones the public and the award juries agree are the bomb.

The same applies internationally. The best UK and US ads are for big jobs. Almost every Asian award-winner is a scam...look at any issue of CBAsia and you'll agree. Clever ideas, sure, but it's a bit like trying to win the US open by practising mini-putt. Low-hanging fruit and all.

It seems like a given, but it's worth repeating: if you truly want to impress a CD, don't turn up with a campaign for condoms or a new nasal hair trimmer. That's not impressive. It's a no-brainer.

Try creating a really clever ad for a difficult business problem. That's the trick, and there's your value.

If you can do this, and do it consistently, you'll never have to worry about where your next house is coming from. That's why the big guys and girls get the big bucks.

Okay? Stop cheating. Stop scamming. Start doing great big wonderful, inspiring advertising. ( and it doesn't have to be that big. Just smart.)

Now go immediately to the BDO and get fucked up. See you Monday.


Thursday, January 19, 2006

Excuse my ignorance...

... but can somebody please tell me (in plain English) which piece of
scam work it is that everyone's bitching about?

All this code language and confusion is making my roids flare up.

First day for Baylo and Ollie

Everyone at M&C give a warm welcome to Nick and Oliver who are starting work today. It's been a while, so please be nice to them, and make sure they know where the toilets are and the coffee and stuff. Rob knows where the tea is. Nice.

Boh Runga brings stellar sounds to Auckland Zoo

Award-winning singer-songwriter Boh Runga, with special guest Nathan King, get the Coca-Cola ZooMusic series off to a stellar start on Saturday 21 January.

Nathan King, lead singer of the former smash hit Kiwi band Zed, takes the stage after acoustic brother duo Chris and Graham Sanders, to perform an acoustic set of new songs from his upcoming solo album. King says he’ll also be happy to throw in a few old Zed favourites should he get any requests.
Boh will be joined on stage by stellar* bassist, Kurt Shanks, and Stevie G from Rhombus, on keys. Along with material from her new album, she will also be performing hits from the chart-topping albums, Mix and Magic Line.
Aside from a guest performance at the 2005 Music Awards, this is Boh’s first live gig in a few years, so one she is excited about.

Concert-goers are invited to come early and make a day of it with friends and family at Auckland’s best park. Most of the animals will still be up enjoying the warmth of the summer evenings during the series. Food and refreshments will be available at the licensed Darwin's café, or the bar and BBQs set up near the Band Rotunda. A range of delicious food hampers can also be pre-ordered from Darwin's café (phone 09-360 5261), and Weta Café will be open late.
Coca-Cola ZooMusic tickets can be pre-purchased now at the Zoo (ph 360 3805, www.aucklandzoo.co.nz) or through Ticketek. With limited capacity, and tickets expected to sell fast, we recommend advance booking. Tickets: Adults $20, Children (4+yrs) $10 and $50 for a three-concert multi-ticket or family pass (2 adults, 2 children). Every pre-purchased ticket enters you in the draw to win some fantastic prizes, including a $3000 music package from MusicWorks.
To find out more about Coca-Cola ZooMusic, happening in the lush and intimate surrounds of Auckland Zoo, visit www.aucklandzoo.co.nz.

Cannes or Clio? Or both. The world is not enough.

Ex. our friends at campaignbrief.blogspot.com, who are much better connected than us:

Delegates and Journalists wishing to attend the 53rd International Advertising Festival can register online at www.canneslions.com from today (Thursday 12 January 2006).
This year a Boutique Hotel category featuring new accommodation properties has been added to the regular choice of hotels on offer to delegates. There are also additional hotels, residences, serviced apartments and villas available in 2006.
The deadline for inclusion in the Delegate Handbook is Friday 12th May 2006.
Entries open online from Thursday 2nd of February.

Also from Lynchy:

Deadline for Clio Award entry submissions is as follows:
• January 16, 2006 – Entries first appearing between January 1, 2005 and December 31, 2005, all mediums except Content &Contact, Design, Internet, TV: Technique and Student entries.
• February 1, 2006 – Final deadline, entries first appearing between January 1, 2005, and February 1, 2006 for Content & Contact, Design, Internet and TV: Technique.
• March 1, 2006 – Final deadline, entries appearing during the First Quarter of 2006 (January 1, 2006-March 31, 2006), all remaining mediums, deadline for all Student Entries (TV and Print).

For additional information, please visit www.clioawards.com.

You're baaaaack

It's official. The google metrics do not lie. Actually, they tell a bloody brilliant truth. (Some day those google guys are going to make a lot of money, or my name's not Neil French.) 550 or so visits today. Above average for the all-time blog-life average, except for all those naughty, bitchy days in November/December when we pulled 800-900 twisted souls per scandal. And it's only January...what day is it? Thursday? Is it Thursday? Shit it's Thursday already, already. Which means tomorrow, Friday, is the BDO. See you there son. I'll be the old balding guy with the big smile and the even bigger cigar, charging on party pills with the lovely and talented 19 year old creative intern. In the mosh pit. If that's what you young guns still call it. Big day, must shoot.


Always one to ne well prepared for a big meeting, I took my BDO party pills tonight. Was that wrong? Help me out here. Please.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

19 January: International scambient day

Today, the 19th Jan is international ambient scam day. So
choose a fringe client and get busy. Extra points if you use
one or more of the following...

-A lampost (1 point)

-A rubbish bin (1 point)

-A drain grate (2 points, plus inclusion into D&AD)

RE Coastguard

Both the Coastguard 60 sec TVC and the consecutive double page execution 'waves' were both approved by client,  and ran legitimately.

Anyone who says otherwise is misinformed.

Josh Moore

Lowe shocker

I've heard through one or two sources that Vodafone's fired
Lowe as an agency. Is this complete rubbish or is there some
truth to this gossip?

subtle hint from nzcc

Number of times we've plugged Firefox: 3

Number of Firefox downloads: 0

Number of US dollars paid per d/l
to nzcc and donated to nzccf 1

As Tim Robins said in Hudsucker Proxy, " you know...for kids"

(With cancer)


Busty, Lusty & Trusty

Whenever we need some law, nzcreativecircle chooses to go with Busty Lusty & Trusty.
Maybe you should too.

Anyone interested in good employment law?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

This year you rilly don't want to mess with NZ girls

The rumours are true, the nzgirl team will be attempting to emulate the
success of last year's Cannes Gold, Axis Best in Show winning, stunt of
last year at the Big Day Out.

It is suggested that BDO attendees look to the skies at around 3

Any queries to Jenene Crossan

Partridge, Alan

=Just in case you needed a little Alan today.


Monday, January 16, 2006

Okay we can't hype this any more...

In an unexpected legal move, the nzcreativecircle today applied for a suppression order on itself.

The controversial blog took the highly unusual step of applying to have its own story suppressed. This is surely public blogging at its most confused. Who can say? Certainly not us.

All nzcreativecircle is able to tell you is that there were two unnamed creative students on placement at a large and unnamed Auckland agency. During their tenure this unamed creative team produced an idea for an unnamed client. The unnamed team moved on to another unnamed agency, taking with them in their portfolios the unpublished idea( which was their idea, remember.)

Excuse me....your Honour could we please have a glass of water? Thanks. (Glug glug.)

An unnamed creative allegedly involved in a review of the unnamed team's unspecified idea at the original (!?) agency later produced an allegedly identical idea for an unnamed charity client. What hapened next, nobody is talking about. But somehow the ad for the unnamed client appeared in an unnamed creative industry magazine and was allegedly displayed as a legitimate, sanctioned ad carrying all the names of the unnamed. Including the unnamed client. Trouble is the unnamed client hadn't ever seen or approved the unsaid work.

The very angry unnamed client has since written a letter confirming this, copies of which are sitting on unidentified desks at several undisclosed locations . Allegedly.

Sidebar: when challenged to name names, nzcreativecircle refused all comment and ran from its undisclosed premises in a strange zig-zag pattern with a blanket over its head wearing expensive jeans and some sort of top and there may have been a baseball cap but we're are not at liberty to confirm that.

More details as they are suppressed. We hope this clears everything up.

Actual pleasantry suppressed,

Can't Tell You

All we are allowed to say is we have a new lawyer. And she's hot!!!

Any minute now we promise

nzcreativecircle has got a new lawyer and she is hot! Anonymously hot, of course. We're just crossing the i's and dotting the t's and grinding out a few six minute units, as they say in the big firms. I never knew law could be this much fun. Anyway, 6 or 12 minutes we should be all finished and ready to post.


O'Sullivan Moonlighting

For those that are filling out D&AD forms at the moment, go to
http://www.dandad.org/awards06/ - then click on the judges - then click on
writing fro advertisng - then click on Mike O'Sullivan.

This is what it says...for those who can't be arsed doing the above.

Mike O'Sullivan (New Zealand)

Mike is Creative Director for Nike at Wieden + Kennedy US.

He hails from Philadelphia and attended Georgetown University in Washington
DC. With a background in playwriting and poetry, he took his passion for
writing and creativity to the ad world, joining Wieden + Kennedy in their
new New York office in 1996, working on the ESPN account. He joined the
Portland office in 2000 as a writer in the Nike group, becoming Co-Creative
Director of the group within 2 and a half years. Mike has won awards at
home and internationally, pulling down the Grand Prix at the Cannes
Festival in 2002. He has also won an Emmy for his work on the Nike brand

This transmission is confidential and intended
solely for the person or organization to whom
it is addressed. It may contain privileged and
confidential information. If you are not the
intended recipient, you should not copy,
distribute or take any action in reliance on it.

If you have received this transmission in error,
please notify the sender at the e-mail address above.

Sunday, January 15, 2006


We have heard that the Advertising Police have raised the Scam Alert Threat Level ( SATL)from Yellow to Orange. This is based on unspecified intelligence picked up by monitoring services in the past 48 hours. ☝


Update: A scam has apparently been detected, the rumours are true, and when the facts are thoroughly checked they will be posted on the blog. Sorry for the delay, but sometimes it's important to have ones facts right. Even when soeone's been potted doing something really cunty.

Intelligent Design ( & Art Direction)

The more things change, the more they apparently stay the same, as someone said at some stage, somewhere. I think it may have been Devo, actually.

According to Steve Braunias in the big Sunday paper today, Charles Darwin visited New Zealand in 1835 on a masters rugby tour and he thought it "sucked shit bigtime". (For such a serious scientist, he sure had a potty mouth.) Anyway, Chuck Darwin visited Russell back in the day to do the Fullers trip through the hole in the rock and found the settlers were the "very refuse of society" and the beach was strewn with broken booze bottles. (Back then of course, the legal drinking age was 6 months, but kids as young as 2 months were crawling into bottle stores and buying earthenware flagons (early RTDs) using false IDs. Sometimes they got an older brother to buy it for them. We digress). Nothing much has changed. Darwo, at the time, apparently suggested to Governor Hobson or whatever his name was that a liquor ban on beaches and public spaces would probably reduce crime and other burning colonial teething problems. He quite rightly pointed out that we were a fledgling nation of absolute pissheads. "Shouldn't you raise the drinking age to 20?", suggested Charlie at the time. Did the colonial government listen? Did they fuck. It took another 160 years before the current Labour ubersturmbahnfuhrer's Thought Police started to realise maybe 18 is too young to have kids getting pissed and driving their hot-hatches at high speed into trees, and by that time I'm afraid Darwin was history."Told you so",he would have said.

Interestingly,if Darwin had visited New Zealand today, he would probably have done what Mike O, Nick Worthington, Catmur and all those other big-thinking Brits have done. Get a big job, have big ideas, make big things happen, buy a big place on the beach, and spend lots of time catching big fish in a little country at the bottom of the world. Catmur or Mike O would have taken him out on their boat, and Chazza would have had the time of his life - possibly even caught a 20 pound Kawhai on a salt fly.

Of course, if Dars had liked NZ and wangled himself a job with Colenso ( originally formed to bring the first printing press to nz or something - Hylton Mackley was running the whole show back in the 1830s, he'll be able to fill you in on the full story) then the world wouldn't have been blessed with Darwin's Theory of Evolution. Or would it? In fact, The Origin of the Species probably would have been bigger, more original and backed up with a smart ambient campaign, a few busbacks, adshels, a truly interactive read/write website. And the Darwinster would have had a blog, not just a log. JPGS instead of drawings. Maybe even streaming video and a link to GoogleEarth, which would have been quite useful back then. hell, even Google Maps would have saved everyone a lot of trouble. George Bush would never have risen from the Texas swamp to rule America... hey, we might never have needed to have the Darwin Awards.

Have a look at the UK viral mentioned in the post below. And thank your lucky stars you live and work in little new Auckland and not dirty old fuckn' London.

Brainias' feature is probably at www.stuff.co.nz . It's a good Sunday read. Much better than this one.

Apologies to Unauthorised History of NZ who were the first to uncover Russell's seedy past and present it to a disbelieving and thoroughly shocked nation. Let's hope that series gets a re-run soon... it was over way too quickly.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Could your Doctor do this?

You've probably seen this. If you haven't you should. It's probably already sitting in your inbox at the office just waiting for you to open on Monday morning. But if you can be arsed going to this url ( the download's a bit slow ) and watching we  are sure you'll agree it's worth a couple of minutes out of your weekend.


Parental Advisory: Don't open it in front of the kids. Language is very colourful. Probably not Office-Safe in some less progessive agency cultures. Check with your HR person before turning volume to full and yelling " hey you guys, come and look at this, it's bloody brill!!". You don't have an HR person? Oh.

This viral was written and performed by two young doctors from London who wash their hands more than most of us. This was probably backed ( and possibly conceived ) by Special Ops creatives from British Labour Party. Very clever. New York solved it's train strike at Xmas by throwing law at the union and threatening them with multi-bazillion dollar fines. This is much smarter. Maybe Brittania is still cool after all.

Friday, January 13, 2006

BBDO…sounds like…

Batten Burton Durston & Osborne (or something like that), some wag once

"Sounds like an empty suitcase falling down stairs."

How about a John Webster Day?

Better still, how about a Glen Cocker Day? - in honour of the days when
the creative circle was a bunch of creative people who got together with
the slenderest of pretexts. Get together - non partisan lies - get

I regret not taking Glen up on his offer to visit at his studio/retreat
at kawhia, where he was an accomplished painter. Does anyone remember
Glen's mad red rimmed coke bottle glasses and huge lizard hands and
fingernails? Might have been the hallucinogens…

The only ads I know he made (for sure) were the ones for the push bikes
(can't remember brand-avanti), 'parently he convinced is old mucker from
Liverpool Alexi Sayle to come down and reprise his 'ullo john got a new
motor' ballad for the campaign. In the next issue of our mag we're
talking to Roy from Meares Taine (Gruppe?) who gave me my first ever
'proper job' in the biz - he showed me a double-head of the brilliant
Mel Smith / Gryff Rhys Jones campaign for Steinlager and I was sold - by
the ad and by Roy's incredible excitement for the work. It is a thrill
to be in the company of people who just care so damn much.

Who are the mad, the bad and dangerous to know in advertising now?

Question - Is there a bohemian ideal in advertising now - or is it just

David MacGregor
Founder / Creative Director

Thursday, January 12, 2006


So what's the general consensus on the Ferrit.co.nz
advertising/posters/websites etc?


If your office is anything likes ours, come 5 o'clock all work stops and creatives of all hues pour out of their veal fattenin....ergonomic workspaces and head towards the Scrabble™ table for a mindless game of thingamybob.

The scittery scattery sound of tiles shuffling and clattering and the somehow comforting click of plastic on wood soon flushes the last of the planners from their burrows and very soon it is game on.

Failure to play all of your tiles is, according to international rules, a compulsory down-trou.

To improve your Scrabble™ game and perhaps in doing so improve overall agency writing skills I recommend these sites:

www.wscgames.com - the pro circuit. How badly do you want that triple word score?

Scrabble FAQ - http://home.teleport.com/%7Estevena/scrabble/faqtext.html - a fan sitev which would make even Peter Jackson nervous if he played Scrabble™ and still hade a Q and a Z left on his original 1930s mahogany Scrabble™ stand.*

A. Nonymous

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Today is BBDO day!

Well, it is in New York anyway. Campaignbrief.blogspot.com reports that NYC mayor Mike Bloomberg, has proclaimed that today, January 10th in the US), is "BBDO Day". This is the first time an ad agency has received such an honor from a New York mayor, according to the agency.
"For more than a century, BBDO has worked diligently to keep our city economically and culturally dynamic," wrote Mayor Bloomberg in the proclamation. "New York City joins the advertising industry in honoring BBDO as agency of the year.

Now theres an idea for Dick Hubbard. Might take the heat off the Queen St massacre.

CampaignBrief says Advertising Age named BBDO as its U.S. Agency of the Year, and Adweek named BBDO its Global Agency of the Year. Three weeks ago, Campaign in London picked BBDO as its Advertising Network of the Year. It was a huge 2005 for BBDO, winning 21 individual Agency of the Year awards around the world, and two Global Agency of the Year Awards. An extraordinary achievement, and an industry first.

Everyone to New Zealand wants to come

Hello (name supplied), I am Cristian Ulloa, I write to you from the distant country of Chile, saw your Page and I found your photo in your day of fishing likeable. I believe that we lived in very similar countries, here also are pretty rivers for the fishing and places very green plenty of native trees and nature. Recently time friends went to New Zealand and they tell me that it is a very pretty place. Good, hopefully that everything is in favor well of there, greetings from the other end of the world.

(Excuse by my English

McCann's former premises in Union St, early January 2006. #14 in an occasional series.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Legendary Creative Dies

Further to yesterday's news, this from Campaign London via campaignbrief.blogspot.com:

"John Webster, the creative brains behind some of the most memorable TV commercials of the past 30 years -- from the Smash Martians to the Sugar Puffs Honey Monster -- has died aged 71.
He collapsed after a heart attack while jogging near his home in Barnet, Hertfordshire, on Friday morning and was dead before help could arrive.
As head of the creative department at the then Boase Massimi Pollitt (now DDB London), Webster honed his reputation as one of the most talented creatives of his generation. The film director Alan Parker once described him as "quite simply the best TV commercial thinker the British advertising industry has yet produced".
The performing dog in the John Smith Bitter commercials, the cockney Hofmeister bear and the cool polar bear who promoted Cresta fizzy drinks were all Webster inventions.
He spent almost his entire working life at BMP, having been one of the senior managers from Pritchard Wood who established the agency in 1969. He was still working at DDB at the time of his death.
Yet despite his success, which included two Grand Prix awards at Cannes and the D&AD President's Award, Webster will be remembered as a modest and shy man who was nervous when talking of his achievements."

To see some of the tributes to John Webster which some legendary Australian names have already left on campaignbrief.blogspot.com ( under their real names) go to comments.

I am sure there will be a number of creatives in NZ with similar sentiments.


But seriously...

This blog was started as an experiment and depending on who you talk to it's either a good thing or the most evil thing since  link-testing.

For good or ill, it has found an audience and in amongst the purile garbage has been some valid comment and the odd little scoop.

We have kept it pretty much completely Open Source. In four months only 3 incoming posts have been removed. Two because of legal advice and one this morning because it was completely fucked and negative and a bad way to start the first week back at work.

This year nzcreativecircle.blogspot.com is going to be more agressively administered.

There are 3 ways to do this:

1. Status Quo +. Anyone can post anonymously, or comment anonymously, but if the editor deems it  offensive or  we think there could be a legal niggle involving loss of the family house, we'll remove the post. That's what Lynchy does.

2. Registration. Anyone can still post anonymously, but you have to apply for a pseudonym and use it every time you post.

3. Formal membership. Which is never going to work.

We favour option 1. What do you think?



Is the new boss at FCB?

Sunday, January 08, 2006


is Blood Magazine?

Axis year ends February 28

An un-named CAANZ source confirms the final media appearance date for the 2005 Axis Awards will once again be Feb 28. So you have about 6 weeks to get a good Xmas idea through the process and onto the telly, billboard or student in a funny suit.

Where do you fit in New Zealand's creative future?

Did you pick up a copy of Idealog over the Christmas break? We hope so, because it's an inspirational read. And it puts most other New Zealand business magazines to shame. Idealog bills itself as the "voice of the creative economy" in New Zealand. That's all you fine people ; writers, art directors, designers etc. plus directors, animators, musicians, scientists, architects, fashion designers, technology inventors and yes, even marketers.

If you haven't read Idealog yet, do pick up a copy - there are about 15,000 laying around the country, mainly in magazine racks. Pay for a copy if you can, because it's well worth $8.95.

Shameless plug? Nah, Idealog is a bloody good idea. And an example of what can happen if you have a bloody good idea over lunch (as they did) and get up the next morning and follow it through.

nzcreative circle

Friday, January 06, 2006

What do Peter Jackson and Paul Middleditch have in common?

1. Both placed highly in the Spot-On video competition while at school.

2. Both come from the Wellington region.

3. Both are vertically challenged.

3. Both were inspired to make movies by seeing King Kong - Jackson as a 9 year old and Centretrench as a 10 year old.

4. Both own extremely rare Kong memorabilia - Pete has the original ape's steel skeleton from the 1933 movie, Paul has the only known copy of a King Kong lobby card signed by Fay Wray.

5. Both have made epic motion pictures which have earned them many glittering prizes and the respect of their peers - Pete with the Rings trilogy and Paul with Big Ad for Carlton.

They have never been seen together in the same room at the same time.


Thursday, January 05, 2006

Dear Ad Media

Here are some things I would really like to see happen with your mag this year.

1. Get rid of What's New. It's probably very profitable but it's a flawed showcase that attracts too much mediocre work. Some people reading the magazine may think this work is actually good and seek to emulate it. Or if What's New stays, see point 2.

2. Introduce some creative critique. This is tricky to do in a little fishbowl like ours, but it has been done before and it's instructive. The Aussies do it in Campaign Brief. The Brits do it in Campaign's Private View. It doesn't have to be bitchy. It could be done by guest reviewers from off-shore. It's always interesting to have informed opinion.

3. Add a Bottom 10 to your Top 10 sample. It would be interesting and useful to know what people are hating throughout the year without having to wait for Fair Go to tell us in November.

That's all really.

A. Reader

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Got Firefox?

Still buggering around with the evil IE? Firefox is the one browser readers have found to be completely unproblematic with blogspot on Mac or PC and it's easy to get. Google rules prevent nzcreativecircle from directly promoting its availability but let's just say is not hard to find.

Ed's note: Firefox also enables RSS (really simple syndication) so you get a continuously updated version of the blog in your toolbar... if you're into that sort of thing.

(If you are using RSS for live updates, you can click on the new or relevant headline in the drop-down menu and see the whole post plus comments laid out neatly on one page, instead of having a pop-up window.)

Things are not alwaays what they seem

An extract from the diary of Lieutenant Colonel Mervin Willett
Gonin DSO who was among the first British soldiers to liberate
Bergen-Belsen in 1945.

"I can give no adequate description of the Horror Camp in which my men
and myself were to spend the next month of our lives. It was just a
barren wilderness, as bare as a chicken run. Corpses lay everywhere,
some in huge piles, sometimes they lay singly or in pairs where they had

It took a little time to get used to seeing men women and children collapse as you walked by them and to restrain oneself from going to
their assistance.

"One had to get used early to the idea that the individual just did not count. One knew that five hundred a day were dying and that five hundred a day were going on dying for weeks before anything we could do would have the slightest effect.

(Story continued in comments )

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Revenge of the Velveteen Rabbits

Another year clicks over on the odometer of my life. The 43rd.
I don't feel any older. Well not perceptibly. I feel rather sprightly,
actually. The greying hair and thickening waist are simply my
camouflage. A way of blending into the mature world. My inner world is
as creaseless as a cosmetics commercial, not quite so airbrushed but I
certainly feel more capable now than at any time before.

At the launch function of Idealog I spoke about the headhunter who
pronounced me dead, in effect, with the grand insight that, after 40 it
was time to hang up my creative spurs. No self-respecting advertising
agency would hire a creative director as old as me. The remark hardly
phased me. As a matter of self respect I wouldn't hope to work within
the confines of an advertising agency. I left the mainstream of that
business in 1990, which, by my calculations, made me a mere lad of 30. I
walked away from the position of creative director of Young and Rubicam
and its medical division Sudler & Hennessey in disgust. I had never been
in such a non-creative environment. For all of the pronouncements from
on high about 'resisting the usual', it was rarely ever anything but
business as usual. The job of Y&R in this country was to service Colgate
Palmolive as part of the parent organisation's worldwide commitment to
the account. Winning advertising awards was simply a diversion to
distract the creative talent from the fact that we were actually
velveteen rabbits in the cut and thrust of business.

I have to take issue with the concept of 'Creativity' in advertising.
The reality is that advertising agencies make a crucial mistake in their
taxonomy of talent. By siloing creative into a 'department' it indicates
a lack of insight that has made agencies less and less valuable and even
relevant to their client's business. The definition of creativity in an
agency, given that job descriptions tend to be either copywriter or art
director (even creative directors are regarded as copy based or art
based), is consequentially executional or craft oriented. The ability to
come up with an ad concept that is an insightful expression of an idea
(the proposition), cleverly and arrestingly executed is the Holy Grail.
And that is the problem.

Sometimes the answer is not an ad.

Which, in itself is a problem. If the answer is not an ad, then why do I
have all of these velveteen rabbits sitting around reading magazines,
surfing the Internet and watching DVDs of The Prisoner (waiting for a
client on whom to apply the retro chic show's iconography in pastiche
with post modern irony)? Why indeed?

And if I make my income from media commissions, shouldn't we commission
some media - and therefore we'll need 'creatives' to fill the hole?

S'not easy is it? Glad it's not my dilemma.

The cleverest thing I ever did in advertising was to create a template
model. Have a big idea, then run in myriad form for loads of clients,
retain the IP and create a sales and production organisation to stoke
the fires. I invented Family Health Diary in 1996 (admittedly I was
still under 40) and today it is the single biggest advertiser on New
Zealand Television.
The factors that collided to make it a reality were the following:

1) I returned to New Zealand after my first wife's death and did not
have a job. I began toying with the idea of creating a syndicated media
property - where multiple, luxury brands could combine to develop
promotions mutually and reduce the cost for each brand and leverage
their common audiences - in many cases a case of co-opitition. I went a
long way down the path with the product when I met a former colleague,
who introduced me to one of his close friends. We three were all looking
for the next thing in our careers and had been considering similar,
though quite different ways of communicating brand ideas. Brands were
the common thread that stitched us together. We formed a business -
BrandWorld and set out to change the face of the marketing world.

No one was buying. Our ideas and innovations fell on deaf ears - or met
with agreement, but no motivation to change behaviour. The world wasn't
ready for an organisation that orchestrated the brand story for clients,
but did not necessarily execute (the concept of disintermediation was
just beginning to capture headlines in the 'new economy' press).

My partners and I survived by pitching for pharmaceutical accounts.
Isn't it funny how often Drucker is right? He said that most businesses
begin with an intention to occupy a certain space, but usually find
themselves in another as a matter of practicality and meeting market demand.

By becoming, by default, an ad agency I found myself consigned to the
role I had shucked off in 1990 - the creative guy.
And I hated it. I had become the velveteen rabbit of my worst
nightmares. Words and pictures. Worse, I had become sucked into the
vortex of the mid 90's empowerment by computer dilemma. We bought
expensive Macs to create artwork and I found that I had to learn how to
use them at a level above Word and Excel (which had suited me fine until
them - preferring to leave the art function to someone else). But we
were small and it was all hands to the pump. Or rather, …my hands to the

I would find myself left to develop ideas for pitches and presentations
on the computer, sitting alone in the middle of the night, while my
partners went home to their families and friends. The seeds were sown
for a revolution.

2) A former client called me and invited me to lunch. He then ambushed
me and pitched Amway to me. In my brooding state of frustration it all
sounded good. In fact the message remains with me as one of the most
important philosophical constructs I have ever been exposed to. Listen
carefully, this is important: Trading a dollar for an hour will get you
nowhere. You need to do a job once, and then get paid for it over and
over and over…

I was ready baby. With one exception. I was ready for my wife to do it.
She was looking for something to do with her time. So I volunteered her.
And, as it turned out she was very good at selling cosmetic products.

The seed that Amway sowed lay planted in my subconscious. For better or
worse I am not much of a franchisee. I tend to look for new ways to do
things, or reassign information in a new role. Then it happened. My
partners and I were invited to pitch for a very large drug company's
account to launch a new class of medicine. Big, big budget. It was
important. We were briefed. My colleagues and I talked around in circles
but didn't really arrive at a compelling strategy. The account had some
Australian executions they liked. We adapted them and I set about
developing a brand language for this market. In the space of 48 hours I
doggedly developed hundreds of executions, ranging from ballpoint pens
to vehicle signage, advertising and direct marketing concepts. It was a
marathon and largely performed alone. Once again while my colleagues
were off in a restaurant somewhere, whooping it up.

We won the account. Probably by dint of the sheer volume of work presented.

But there was one small problem.

We had a competitor's account (though it was small and dormant - a drug
that had the rather nasty side effect of causing death in some cases).

"Fire the other brand or you can't have our business'
To my colleagues horror I said "Sure, but you will have to spend more
money with us."
The room fell silent.
"Show us how…"
Now that is the kind of client I like.

3) My wife of the time worked for an ad agency that held the master
account for the consumer products division. I recalled that she had
beefed to me on more than one occasion that she had to work on accounts
that were impossible to make a dollar from because the budgets were too
small. By the time there had been a meeting to brief the agency, some
concepts had been developed and produced there would be no money left
for media. So, $20,000 here, $30,000 there was simply left on the table.

Within the framework of a traditional advertising agency this was just
an annoying fact of life. Their response was to concentrate on the
products and brands with sufficient budget to make the kind of ads the
agency liked to make and ignore the rest. Of course, the fact that the
velveteen rabbits didn't want to touch products for hemorrhoids really
left the back door ajar in a critical strategic mistake that I was quick
to exploit.

Over a weekend I developed the concept for Family Health Diary. As ever
my colleagues were nowhere to be seen and when I pitched it to them they
were somewhat disinterested. In part because of 'not invented here
syndrome' and in part because they felt it was not core business, too
risky, …wouldn't be bought by client. I insisted that we try, at least.
I worked up the presentation and invited the client to our office to
take a look.

I had noticed that the client had displayed a sign on their reception
counter proclaiming that the business would be number 1 in all areas of
it's operation by 2000.

My presentation kicked off with the question: "So, how is it looking for
2000? Will you reach the goal set in your mission statement?"
"It's not looking good."
"So, moving forward incrementally won't change your business enough to
propel you to the next level?"
"That's right."
"What if we could do something different?"
"We need something different."
"Do what you always do, get what you always go, right?"
"That's right."
(At this point everything Amway taught me is clicking perfectly into place).

I demonstrated my concept, an umbrella brand that aggregated many small
budgets to create something with a little more heft and with lower costs
to implement - from conception to production. In fact there were no
conception costs; because the model was that our company retained the
copyright and title to the concept. We would license it to the
participating brands.

"I like it. Come to our next sales meeting at Gulf Harbour; pitch it to
the team. If they like it, we'll trial it."

They liked it, we trialled it. It has become the dominant force in
medical and health advertising in New Zealand. It is so respectable that
the government now uses it, rather than create advertising for things
like bird flu preparedness.

The seeds of my own demise
The epilogue to the story is also a salutary lesson for creators.
By creating an autopilot product I effectively made myself redundant.
The work we put into developing the brand - especially convincing other
brands to come on board was costly. The product did not return
immediately high profits. It also became the staple of the business. The
drug we pitched for was very successfully launched and we relied on
income from the account (amongst other, smaller projects) but the cash
stopped flowing suddenly when budgets were slashed in response to the
product's success. The client reached the PHARMAC funding cap far sooner
than expected and was forced to pay millions to the government. We were
in crisis. Under the stress of losses my colleagues and I began in
fighting over accounts and accountability. I felt that we were
profligate and was vocal in my criticism. Within days I was couped out
of the daily operation of the business and things got ugly.

I lost control of my intellectual property and, ironically the product
that had initially received a luke warm reception became the most
significant asset of the business. I was left in limbo for over a year
while we wrangled over the matter and the valuation of the company. It
was a terrible time for me and contributed to the failure of my marriage
and an enormous, personal financial loss - I had been funding my
participation in the business largely out of my savings - my account
were beginning to show all the signs of an Ethiopian river bed in a bad
year. It was tough. And I learned a series of bruising lessons.

The irony is that I now work with the business again and have developed
a spin-off, Eating Well and another IN2IT (for a general youth audience
- which failed to get traction with ad agencies and clients). We are
looking a new properties and I have no real issue with my former partner
(who also maneuvered our other colleague out of the business).

Let that be a lesson to you.

And - creative people - it's not about ads. It is about intellectual
property. Make sure you look after yours.

(Blows candles out - cut to credits)

David MacGregor
Founder / Creative Director
Idealog magazine

P.S. One of the basic principles of the web is: YOU own your words. I
find it remarkable that, on this blog, no-one seems to want to take
credit for their ideas. Hmmm...unlike veleveteen rabbits, usually keeen
to take credit for anyone's ideas.

(c) the author. All rights reserved. No part to be reproduced without
licence agreed with author/copyright owner. ;-)

55 sleeps until Axis goes to bed

To all of you starting work again on Wednesday 4 January, Happy Old Year ; you have approximately 55 days to get those bottom-drawer ideas out and up before the Axis 2005 year closes off at the end of February 2006. By which we mean, if it hasn't run by Feb 28, you must wait til next year for your gong.

This is historically a productive time of the year for creatives to get good stuff happening due to low workloads and the general happy post-holiday mindset.

Note: If we are wrong about the close-off date for the 26th Axis Awards we are sure one of the nice people at CAANZ will let us know post haste. (It's hard to tell details from their site where everything but the actual Awards presentation date is still marked TBC.)


Blog ends year on growth surge - chooses favourite charity

For the four months to December 31, the nzcreativecircle blog had 43,192 visitors and earned a total of US $9.49 which was significantly above forecasts. For the 31 days before Christmas (including weekends) the blog had an average of 409 visitors per day. The board is delighted with these results and looks forward to maintaining that growth during 2006.

Wednesday 4 January

Having achieved our financial goal of being able to buy everyone a beer ( just the one), it has been suggested a local charity should be the recipient of future Google Adsense revenue from nzcreativecircle. We'd like to point this towards the New Zealand Child Cancer Foundation - and that's what we'll be doing when the first and future cheques arrive. So remember, as petty and spiteful as you all are, every spleen-venting will ultimately further a worthy cause.