Electoral Commission: Māori Electoral Option

A campaign for the Electoral Commission, created in partnership with our friends at RUN Aotearoa.

FCB Aotearoa, RUN Aotearoa and the Electoral Commission have worked together to create an awareness campaign around significant changes to the Māori Electoral Option.

Sand Unity Kotahitanga builds on previous Māori Electoral Option campaigns centred around The Sandman aka artist Marcus Winter (Te Roroa, Ngāpuhi), who creates whakairo-inspired artworks using the medium of sand. This time, Marcus is out of his small studio, and surrounded by space, light and friends, all participating in making one of his jaw dropping creations on a giant lightbox.

Beacon Awards 2021

FCB Media has again dominated the 2021 Communications Council Beacon Awards, held at Shed 10 in Auckland on 13 May.

The agency won the coveted Best in Show for its campaign for Fire & Emergency NZ, “Fire Doesn’t Wait”, a campaign which helped Kiwis realise the unimaginable reality of house fires and the need to create an escape plan. This was the 7th Best in Show gong secured by the agency in the last ten years of the Beacons.

In addition the agency had the highest medal tally of any agency on the night, with 11 golds and 6 silvers.

Commenting on the Best in Show for Fire & Emergency NZ, Anne Lipsham, Head of Strategy at FCB Media commented, “Asking people to complete escape plans was no easy task, especially in a year like 2020. Genuine collaboration between our media team, client, creative, data teams and our media partners like TVNZ, was the key to being able to produce something pretty special. No ego’s or agenda’s, just focussing on what was going to get people to take action.”

FCB Media was also the only agency to win gold in three key digital categories: Best use of Data (Water Safety NZ), Best use of Technology (Mitre 10) and Best use of Social (PAK’nSAVE). They remain one of only two agencies to win gold in the data category since it was introduced in 2016.

Kate Grigg, Head of Digital Marketing at FCB Media said,  “We’re particularly proud to win four golds across three key digital categories. Having specialists such as performance, data and tech and digital production all under one roof, is such an advantage for creating great work.”

Managing Director of FCB Media, Blair Alexander commented, “We’ve put a lot of work in the last 18 months on our new comms planning process, underpinning it with the best tools from Mediabrands and FCB’s global network. And these awards are validation that our new approach is working. Our clients are telling us they increasingly value agency services, such as strategic planning, consumer insights, data and tech and we’ve managed to combine these into one cohesive solution in response.”

Alexander also paid tribute to his team, saying, “Ultimately we couldn’t have achieved this success for our clients without our people. Not only did we invest in new specialist talent, but also in record levels of training to continue to develop skillsets reflective of client ambitions. It was also great to back with our industry colleagues in person, after the virtual Beacons last year.”

Full List:

Best in Show – Fire & Emergency NZ, Fire Doesn’t Wait

Gold – Social Marketing or Public Service : Fire & Emergency NZ, Fire Doesn’t Wait

Gold – Consumer Services : Westpac NZ, Confidence Crisis

Gold – Best Use of Technology : Mitre 10, Finding Future Renovators Today

Gold – Best Use of Technology : The Electoral Commission, The Voter Concierge

Gold – Best Use of Data : Water Safety NZ, Personalising Danger

Gold – Best Use of Social : Foodstuffs, inStickman

Gold – Creative Media Idea : Fire & Emergency NZ, Fire Doesn’t Wait

Gold – Best Use of Insight : Westpac NZ, Confidence Crisis

Gold – Best Communications Strategy : Westpac NZ, Confidence Crisis

Gold – Best Communications Strategy : Fire & Emergency NZ, Fire Doesn’t Wait

Gold – Best Collaboration : Fire & Emergency NZ and TVNZ, Ads on Fire!

Silver – Social Marketing or Public Service : Water Safety NZ, Personalising Danger

Silver – Social Marketing or Public Service : The Electoral Commission, The Voter Concierge

Silver – Retail or Etail : Mitre 10, Finding Future Renovators Today

Silver – Best Small Budget : Foodstuffs, inStickman

Silver – Best Communications Strategy : Water Safety NZ, Personalising Danger

Silver – Most Effective : Mitre 10, Finding Future Renovators Today

Escape My House

This week sees the launch of Fire & Emergency NZ's ‘Escape Week,’ in partnership with FCB.

From the 8th to the 15th of February, Escape Week encourages New Zealanders to understand the very real risk of house fires and to create a plan for every member of the household to escape safely, in the event of fire.

The campaign focuses on why New Zealanders need an escape plan and how to create an escape plan.  Communications highlighting the fact that a house fire becomes un-survivable in less than 3 minutes, drive people to Fire & Emergency’s Escape Planning Tool. The step by step process points out potential blind spots in helping people to prepare their own life saving escape plan: 


“Using our escape my house tool will make you think about important things that you may not have considered,” says National Advisor Fire Risk Management, Peter Gallagher. “Things like a second exit in case your normal exit is blocked, making sure you know where your keys are if doors are deadlocked and having a safe meeting place for everyone in your household.”

To support the campaign, FCB created a three-minute TVC, which uses a unique soundscape to tell the story of a family trying to escape a house fire and extended its use across radio as well. Partnering with TVNZ, FCB also delivered a first of its kind ad-break takeover. Smoke and flames fill what looks like a normal break of 30” spots from TVNZ and other FCB clients until smoke totally eclipses the screen – demonstrating the speed of fire and the importance of an escape plan.

In addition to the three minute ad takeovers, the promotion of Escape Week included:

  • A partnership with NZME, sharing a story of a real family losing a loved one to a housefire, plus a “Faces of Fire” article featuring NZers who have lost loved ones in a housefire and those who have escaped – to encourage NZers to make an escape plan themselves.
  • A partnership with TVNZ featuring book ends during Breakfast with Matty McLean speaking of the importance of escape plans, throughout Escape Week.
  • “720 word story” full page press ad – telling the story of a house fire breaking out in the middle of the night. The average person can read 720 words in three minutes; the amount of time a house fire can kill you.
  • “Escape the Paper” press executions – the story of a house fire which unfolds over several harrowing pages of the newspaper, helping to build the disorientation of being trapped in a house fire.
  • Digital and social elements – with thought-provoking questions such as ‘what if your way was blocked’?
  • 30” radio and Spotify partnership, exploring the speed of fire.

FCB Executive Creative Directors Peter Vegas and Leisa Wall said “We wanted to build on the work we created last year and thanks to the great opportunities our media people created for us we’ve been able to do that. We’re thrilled with the results.”

FCB Media welcomes Terri Collier back

FCB Media welcomes Terri Collier back into the fold.

FCB Media has today announced Terri Collier as their new General Manager, effective immediately.

This newly created role serves to further bolster the senior leadership team and will help grow the FCB media business and lead their most senior clients.

Terri Collier says “ I am so thrilled to be back with FCB. It’s been amazing to watch their growth over the last three years I’ve been away, and I am particularly excited by the close partnership Blair has forged with Mediabrands. FCB has always offered unparalleled communications strategy and media creativity and the access now to Mediabrands’ global suite of tech and tools only helps to supercharge our offering.”

Blair Alexander says “We are so rapt to welcome Terri back into the fold. Due to her sharp commercial acumen she will make a huge contribution to the growth of our business as well as the growth of our client’s businesses”.

Terri Collier previously worked at FCB as General Manager of Media Investments and Operations and left in 2017. In the interim she has held senior leadership positions within Group M and Harvey Cameron.

FCB Media win Best in Show at IAB Awards

FCB Media won Best in Show and the highest awards tally of any agency on the night at the 2020 IAB New Zealand Digital Advertising Awards celebrations held at The Wharf on November 12.

Celebrating success and effectiveness in digital advertising, FCB Media secured six wins across three campaigns for Chorus and Reckitt Benckiser / the New Zealand AIDS Foundation.

Chorus’ Coincidentally Convenient campaign, delivered in partnership with NZME and TradeMe, won Best Use of Display and Best Performance Campaign. Best Use of Native was also awarded to Chorus for their campaign Project Connect, delivered in partnership with NZME.

Reckitt Benckiser / New Zealand AIDS Foundation’s Better Safe than Syphy campaign won Best Use of Mobile and Best Charity Campaign, as well as the night’s grand award for Best in Show.

Really proud to see our clients and the agency so well-recognised last night. It’s testament to what’s possible through truly integrated data and digital capabilities that connect with people and change behaviour.

Qassem Naim, Head of Data and Technology

In addition to campaign wins, FCB Media also celebrated an award for James Butcher (General Manager, Digital Media), who was recognised for Service to the Industry.

It’s a privilege to work with such a bunch of diverse, kind and talented people that make this industry what it is. At FCB, we always say, “Success doesn’t happen by accident.” These awards are a reflection of the huge group of people who do truly amazing work.

James Butcher, General Manager – Digital Media

The night’s announcements sees FCB Media maintain their position as the IAB Awards’ most-awarded agency for the second year in a row.

It was great to see our digital excellence recognised last night at the IAB Awards. We want to thank our clients, media and technology partners for letting us push the boundaries.

It was also brilliant to see James recognised for his contribution to the industry. We certainly appreciate the fresh perspective his unique sales background brings to our business.

Blair Alexander, Managing Director – Media
FCB Media was recognised in the following categories:

2020 Best Use of Display
Chorus – Coincidentally Convenient
with NZME and TradeMe

2020 Best Use of Mobile
Reckitt Benckiser / New Zealand AIDS Foundation – Better Safe than Syphy

2020 Best Use of Native
Chorus – Project Connect
with NZME

2020 Best Charity Campaign
Reckitt Benckiser / New Zealand AIDS Foundation – Better Safe than Syphy

2020 Best Performance Campaign
Chorus – Coincidentally Convenient
with NZME and TradeMe

2020 Service to the Industry
James Butcher – General Manager, Digital Media

2020 Best in Show
Reckitt Benckiser / New Zealand AIDS Foundation – Better Safe than Syphy

A full list of winners can be found here.

Switch off before you walk off

Addressing the issue of unattended cooking with Josh Emett

Fire and Emergency New Zealand, together with renowned chef Josh Emett, address the main cause of house fires in New Zealand: unattended cooking. This issue is particularly relevant during NZ’s Level 4 lockdown timeframe, when the campaign was launched.

April Market Update: Bringing Media Home

Head of Investment David Turner takes a moment to reflect on the rapid evolution of the local media market in response to COVID-19, and key opportunities for brands on at-home channels.

Words cannot explain recent weeks, but one thing’s for sure: it’s been intense and extremely stressful, but equally as rewarding. No-one really knows when or how we’re going to pop out the other side, but the strength and positivity of everyone in the industry has been amazing. Though we all operate differing businesses, we’re largely under the same pressures and challenges.

So, what does this all mean for the marketplace? There’s too much to cover at this point, but I’ll touch on a few key thoughts and predictions.

As unfortunate as it is, we will see the end of more brands in the market. The first was Radio Sport, then the extremely sad news that Bauer was to close permanently in New Zealand. Every single media owner in New Zealand is working through cost reductions, and doing their best to limit the potential damage, however for some this will not be enough. I can also guarantee the revived talks of NZME buying Stuff are off the table.

Without a shadow of a doubt, the outdoor sector has been worst hit, with no commuters, no shoppers, no students and no travellers. Outdoor contacts have hit an all-time low, and as a result, expenditure has been pulled in favour of in-home media. A resurgence of television viewing is occurring, and audiences are at levels I haven’t seen since the GFC (and, in some cases, exceeding these). News and current affairs are leading the charge, with 1News often peaking around 18 ratings against AP25-54. Not only are these genres drawing massive audiences, this is also having a knock-on effect across entire schedules. Linear TV is currently the place to be if you’re after reach efficiency.

Streaming, of course, remains a large part of many Kiwis’ lives and will continue to grow through this period. Disney has by far outshone all other SVOD providers and absolutely nailed it, bringing forward the release of Frozen 2, showcasing their breadth of family movies (offering some relief to parents), and enticing new subscribers with a 7-day free trail. Although SVOD platforms make up a large proportion of viewing, and these offerings remain ad free, SVOD platforms are not the only ones drawing large audiences. Ad-funded services such as TVNZ On Demand are experiencing significant spikes, so much so that the CPMs on offer in April are lower than we have ever seen before. Get in touch with your Account Management team if you’re wanting to take advantage of these rates.

So much is changing at the moment, and at such a rapid pace, that I’m sure come tomorrow there will be more to talk about. Take care of yourselves out there, and if you ever want to talk about the market and any predictions, feel free to reach out.

The Internet of Media

Our homes are full with things connected to the internet, meaning more traditional media channels are now "logged on", Christina So explores.

More and more of the things we own are connected to the internet. Even without crazy products like internet-enabled fridges or toilets, I can count more than 10 devices in my home that are currently connected to WiFi.

Traditionally offline media channels like TV have become internet enabled and it’s changing the way we consume media. Connected TVs have become the device of choice for more than 50% of catch-up TV viewing according to both TVNZ and MediaWorks, with Smart TVs, Apple TV, Chromecast and FreeviewPlus (just to name a few examples) making it a lot easier to stream content from the biggest screen in the house. This shift opens up many more ways for advertisers to use previously digital-only capabilities, like targeting and programmatic buying methods, to reach specific audiences on a much larger screen.

We are also seeing an increase in people streaming live TV across all sorts of digital devices, including their TVs. Offline and online media consumption and measurement is more blurred than ever: linear TV ads are being streamed on all devices, but not being measured. Networks are reacting by introducing the capability for advertisers to digitally insert ads within live streams to engage this new audience, allowing brands be more targeted with their messaging than is possible on traditional TV. It also enables smaller advertisers or campaigns to have a form of TV presence without having to make a national TV investment.  

As fibre gets rolled out around the country and people continue to upgrade their TVs, the ways that people choose to access content will continue to change. TV aerials are likely to become a thing of the past. While buying digitally inserted ads on live TV may feel like buying media where we already are, if this becomes the way people routinely consume TV content, this form of digital buying may be how we transact TV advertising in the future.

AV isn’t the only medium that’s seeing this shift. Radio networks are making similar moves, developing mobile apps that digitize radio content to reach new audiences, and re-engage listeners who don’t have radios outside of their cars. These apps offer people new ways to listen, not only to broadcast radio, but also curated content and podcasts from radio personalities. As with live TV streams, stations are digitally inserting ads within streamed audio to capture additional revenue.

We’re also seeing a digital shift in OOH, where companies are making large investments into digital sites, making it a lot easier to dispatch and update creative, and paving the way for programmatic out of home, more granular targeting and dynamic creative capabilities that used to be exclusive to digital.

While we still differentiate between online and offline when we buy media, how it’s being consumed is less easily defined and measurement is still playing catch up. A screen and speaker agnostic planning approach for AV and audio activity is a start, but the ways we are able measure as an industry need to improve to better reflect the way content—and in turn, our ads—are being consumed. We also need to think about what these new capabilities mean, and how we can deliver the best experience for our customers.

Mastering Organic Search Queries

Key considerations to help brands master their website content and their ranking for organic search queries, from Marie Taupiac.

A few years ago, the way to optimise your page for keywords was straightforward. In 3 steps, you could optimise your page for any search query:

1). Choose the keywords for your page,
2). Implement them in strategic positions within the content,
3). Then, create internal and external links to the page. 

Nowadays, search engine algorithms and the answers they’re programmed to provide have evolved to such an extent that they can nearly instantaneously give you the number of minutes it takes to an boil egg or the names of the Queen’s sons!

Moving beyond traditional search engine results, local businesses can now appear on enhanced map views, automatically displaying their name alongside a phone number, address and links to their products. These sorts of changes have come from enhancements to the understanding and processing of search queries, and the introduction of what is known as NLP (Natural Language Processing). According to Wikipedia, Natural Language Processing is the act of “programming computers to process and analyse large amounts of natural language data and understand the meaning of the queries to provide a relevant result for the user.”

So, what does this mean for the set-up of your website? Technically, you still need to optimise your page for the user’s search queries, but the writing process changes a bit.  

Take, for example, the behaviour of people looking for visas in NZ and the US.

Why are keywords not enough?

Search engines’ algorithms have improved enough over the years to understand the difference between US citizens looking for a visa to go to NZ, and vice versa, even though the keywords will be the same in both cases: US, NZ and visa. 

It’s the position connectors here that hold the meaning of the query. The search engines’ ability to identify this nuance not only means that relevant pages will receive higher quality traffic, but also that they will be able to provide greater value to the reader and make the user come back. 

Think first about content quality

Because Google’s understanding of the language has increased over the years, it is able to determine if your page contains a complete checklist, opinion or review, and also can tell if your content will bring value to the reader.

Now, more than ever, the content creation focus should be on providing value and quality for the reader. The web is full of articles that are too generic, too similar to each other and don’t answer the user’s needs. By creating a unique, valuable and complete piece of content, you are making sure that you will not only satisfy the user, but also help your page to rank in a better position for related keywords. 

Use semantics analysis

Another recurring topic in SEO is keyword synonyms or related words. How can we ensure the same, relevant page appears, for example, for visa queries about travelling to NZ from the US, America, USA, North America, and all the different states?

Google is able to understand some synonyms and, in particular cases, can substitute one with another. The real question is not so much about direct synonyms, but the idea conveyed by words: for example, that the search results for Americans, US citizens and residents from other, specific states who are looking for a visa to go to New Zealand will be the same, because the process for all Americans is the same. 

However, if we take, for example, a website that is selling a bike, writing a page without speaking about gears or wheels would not make sense, and would be unlikely to not rank for “buy bike” synonym queries. 

This what we call semantics. “Semantics” refers to the concepts or ideas conveyed by words. Semantic analysis is about making any topic (or search query) easy for a machine to understand. Think about your page as an aggregation of words about the same topic. For the Americans going to NZ, we can consider: visitor’s visa, custom and border protection, apply online, embassy or consulate, visa fees. The overall words association will help the search engine to understand the purpose of your content, and make the page rank for related terms that are not in necessary included in the content of your page, but convey the same idea. 

The power of using topic clusters

Optimising a page is only the first step, you must also consider how your website appears as a topic

For example, if your website, overall, speaks about travel for Americans and the travel visas you need, your website will be optimised for all the different variations of USA words and visa words. None of the pages will necessarily rank on their own; it is only the combination of your pages and the different links you have between them that makes them rank. This is what we call a topic cluster

Topic clusters are a multitude of content pieces that live on your website and are all linked to a common, overarching subject. If executed properly, topic clusters can be the catalyst that launches your website to the top of the search engine results pages.  

Are we moving away from keywords?

Keywords will always be a way to analyse trends, people’s needs and questions. They will always be an essential part of SEO and will still need to be implemented within content. However, keywords are no longer the only part of the optimisations needed to make users visit your website; we need to consider the value of the content, semantics and cluster topics in order to be able to serve the best material for the search engine and the end users—in turn, driving the best case results.