Special Auckland has only 30 staff, yet the agency's world-class
creative work, impressive award performance, and strong new business
wins prove the agency has punched well above its weight to demonstrate
that size really doesn't matter.
With a confidence the agency could do things differently, do things
better and ultimately make a difference to a company's bottom line,
Special Group Auckland founder and executive creative director, Tony
Bradbourne, says that although 'CB Agency of the Year' recognition came
as quite a shock, it truly validates everything the agency has worked
hard to achieve.
"It was a huge surprise - and we very nearly didn't enter; we were just so busy at the end of last year," Bradbourne admits.
if I can be honest, last year was really challenging; we parted ways
with founding partner Rob Jack, we re-pitched a major client in
2degrees, retained it against overwhelming odds, and then after all of
that, very happily walked away from the relationship six months later,
and as a result, said goodbye to some good friends."
silver lining was just around the bend as Special put its collective
head down and continued to produce standout work for a host of ambitious
"We tried harder each and every single day, constantly
innovating, backed our people, believed in what we do uniquely well at
Special, won new clients, welcomed incredible new talent and finished
the year stronger and happier than ever," he adds.
managing partner Michael Redwood agrees the good news was
unexpected: "Special Group has enjoyed many years of seeing our creative
work dominate the award shows in New Zealand, but we always felt that
sheer scale would always tip things in the multinationals' favour," he
says. "We are over the moon that Campaign Brief has recognised Special's
pound for pound performance this year - it's a deeply satisfying way to
start our tenth year in business."
And dominate the award shows
they did. Last year the agency managed to win Campaign Asia's New
Zealand and Australian Mobile Agency of the Year, B&T Magazine's
2016/17 Australian and New Zealand Branding and Design Agency of the
Year, and were ranked Most Effective Independent Agency New Zealand and
Australia at the Effie Awards, along with a host of Axis Awards,
including a Grand Prix, four Golds, six Silvers and seven Bronze awards.
most favoured award winners from last year include the agency's
massively popular 'Data Hunt' campaign for 2degrees, a very different
modern style of campaign that created mass engagement on a mobile by
mobile basis, new work for Uber with 'Ask Sam', because he believes it
to be "equally ambitious and generous", and TSB 'Changes' because it
"goes to a place you don't usually see in bank advertising", along with
the agency's consistent work for Holden. He also nods to Tourism New
Zealand's 'Backpackagram' for being a totally unique way to attract
tourism to the country.
"But the truth is I like all of our work
across the board - in mobile, design, TV, innovation - rather than one
standout piece," he adds.
Special founder and creative director
Heath Lowe points to 2017 as the year of extension with some old
friends: "Karma Cola Co. launched a sunny little 'Fanta killer' called
Summer and, importantly, a sugar free version of its now infamous
do-gooding, globe-trotting original Karma Cola."
Lowe says the
Auckland Art Gallery also put on a brilliant show about nudes with a
fantastically tricky comms brief: 'You can't show the nudes'.