Volkswagen peels off with supreme TVNZ-NZ Marketing award

Volkswagen peels off with supreme TVNZ-NZ Marketing award

The TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards turned 21 this year, and marked its newly minted adulthood with a new central theme of Everything Marketing and eight new categories, including financial, technology, automotive, utilities/communications, lifestyle/travel/leisure and sponsorship.

Coming out at the head of the field with the supreme award was Volkswagen, with ex-Westpac and soon-to-be BNZ head of brand Ian Moody named as marketer of the year, Whittaker's Jasmine Griffin named as rookie marketer of the year, Air New Zealand taking the marketing excellence award and Pfizer, Z Energy and Red Witch both picking up multiple awards. 

“Everything Marketing is a cry out to the boardrooms of New Zealand to take marketing seriously," says judge Mike Larmer, formerly of Mercury Energy. "If it’s done properly, marketing can be the real difference for a business in its category and I think the winning entrants this year are testimony to that."

Hosts Vincent Heeringa, publisher of NZ Marketing magazine, and Sue McCarty, chief executive of the Marketing Association (MA) were joined by returning awards MC Te Radar to dish out the awards.

Volkswagen's transformation from a brand that was seen by New Zealanders as being too cold, too expensive and too European into a brand that convinced buyers it had 'A car for every Kiwi' earned it the top honours, as well as the automotive industry category win.

“What they have shown is that you can change a business proposition into a brand proposition, and a lot of people would look at that journey and put it in the too hard basket," says Interbrand managing director and round two judge James Bickford. "They didn’t. They were prepared to learn from it and through it, and they genuinely believed in the insight that they were going to create and build their brand around, and I think also a testament to their achievements over the past three years, is that Volkswagen globally have seen this as best practice in their territory."

Pfizer New Zealand took away four awards (innovation, marketing leadership, consumer and lifestyle/travel/leisure) for its brave, innovative and hugely successful initiative to fight the generic knock-offs at their own game and transfer brand equity from Viagra into its own cheaper ED drug Avigra; Z Energy won the retail and emerging business/new brand awards for buying up Shell's assets, listening hard to its customers, chucking out the globally recognised brand and starting afresh with something that was better suited to New Zealand; and RedWitch Analog Pedals won the technology and transformational categories for its Seven Sisters range, which showed how a premium manufacturer could play in the big boys mass market sandpit without diluting its main brand.

Frucor Beverages Mountain Dew Skatepark, Fonterra Brands Anchor Strong campaign in the Pacific, Kiwibank's Operation EasySwitch, The Electricity Authority & Ministry of Consumer Affairs 'What's Your Number, State Insurance's With You in the Water, MediaWorks TV successful relaunch of mainstream entertainment channel Four, ecostore's sustainability-focused recalibration of the business, and Dollop Food's PR-led launch of its premium store-bought dessert business each took a win each.

No awards were given in the business and not-for-profit categories.

Also celebrating was Air New Zealand and its departing chief executive Rob Fyfe after being awarded the new Marketing Excellence award for consistency and adherence to best practice over the past three years.

“Air New Zealand is an amazing example of marketing leadership from head to toe of the organisation, and I think the best example is the fact that the people on the ground, in the planes, in the Koru lounge, everywhere and at every touch-point, live their brand," says Wendy Rayner, 2011’s marketer of the year and judge this year.

Moody was awarded the coveted marketer of the year award after being acknowledged as a principal leader, not just within his team, but across a whole host of different cross-functional teams within Westpac. He focused on building partnerships, he helped Westpac profit from a focused housing campaign and he is an influencer and leader who helped inspire a whole company to put marketing at the forefront of everything it does.

Griffin was judged to be the best up-and-comer of the year for the instrumental role she has played in turning Whittaker's from a fairly traditional FMCG marketer into a company that's widely renowned for its digital and social media savviness.

The audience also had the pleasure of seeing two top performers inducted into the Marketing Hall of Fame, with George Hickton, the man at the helm of Tourism New Zealand when it launched the world-renowned 100% Pure New Zealand campaign, and Professor Rod Brodie of Auckland University, honoured for their commitment to the marketing profession and industry.

Basing the awards around the theme of Everything Marketing was an attempt to show how marketing isn't just an ad and some pretty pictures. It's a discipline that needs to reach across the entire organisation, from the customers to the products, the team, the service, the communications, the strategic insights and anything else that creates a brand experience. 

It was also an attempt to attract more entries from a wider cross section of the business community and, in so doing, spread the marketing gospel further than it may have been spread in previous years. And with a record number of entries received this year, up 49 percent on 2011, and a 32 percent increase in the number of unique entries, that’s been successful. 

A full list of winners can be found below or at


TVNZ Marketing Hall of Fame

George Hickton

TVNZ Marketing Hall of Fame

Professor Rod Brodie, The University of Auckland Business School

Colmar Brunton Marketer of the Year

Ian Moody, Westpac New Zealand 

Marketing Department of University of Otago Rookie Marketer of the Year

Jasmine Griffin, J.H Whittakers & Sons 

Marketing Excellence

Rob Fyfe, Air New Zealand

Fairfax Media Supreme Award

Volkswagen New Zealand, Brand Launch


Dollop Foods T/A Dollop Puddings, Dollop PR Strategy

&Some Emerging Business/New Brand

Z Energy, Z is for New Zealand (the launch of Z)

TVNZ Innovation

Pfizer New Zealand, Pfizer Avigra Launch

Boston Digital Transformational

RedWitch Analog, Seven Sisters


Ecostore, Brand Transformation

University of Waikato Marketing Leadership

Pfizer New Zealand, Viagra = Avigra


Volkswagen New Zealand, Brand Launch

Hypermedia Consumer

Pfizer New Zealand, Pfizer Avigra Launch

NZ Trade & Enterprise Export

Fonterra Brands (NZ) – Export, Anchor Strong

Financial and Banking

Kiwibank, Green Ops

Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG)

Frucor Beverages, Mountain Dew – New Flavour Launch & Skate Pinball Campaign


Pfizer New Zealand, Viagra = Avigra

Public Sector

The Electricity Authority & Ministry of Consumer Affairs, What’s My Number Consumer Information Programme

Morton Estate Retail

Z Energy, Z is for New Zealand (the launch of Z)


State Insurance, With you in Water


RedWitch Analog, Seven Sisters


MediaWorks TV, Feels like FOUR

This story originally appeared on StopPress

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