Parcel service advert leaves some staff less than rapt.

A New Zealand Post commercial has annoyed some staff, who are upset by the cost at a time when posties are being taken off the streets.

The first of five ads ran last year, featuring Game of Thrones actor Charles Dance, and drew negative comment from some staff who saw it as extravagant.

Now, the second commercial in the series, featuring dancer and choreographer Parris Goebel, is drawing flak as well.

Goebel has choreographed and starred in music videos and movies in the US for Justin Bieber, Niki Minaj and Janet Jackson, among others.

Advertisement

In the ad, she dances to express her appreciation of the NZ Post parcel service.

E tu union organiser Joe Gallagher says the expensive ad is annoying a lot of staff at a time when the state-owned firm is going through layoffs and there is poor job security.

Disruption all round

Other companies and staff facing job cuts due to disruptive technology might well understand the challenges facing NZ Post.

Several industries - including media - are having to reinvent their business models to survive. At NZ Post, the Goebel ad promotes the parcels business at a time when letter post is shrinking.

What is different at NZ Post is that it is a state-owned firm that is (a rare thing these days) also heavily unionised.

On March 29, NZ Post announced it planned to lay off a further 500 staff, many of them posties.

Tina Morgan heads NZ Post's branding, marketing communications and sponsorship. She says: "We have three more TV advertisements playing on a number of digital channels, including Facebook. Customers will also see online ads and billboards."

As for the cost and the pushback from staff, "we're a big company and of course there are different views on the advertisement".

"However many of our people have told us they are excited and proud of it," Morgan says.

Olympic caution

Television New Zealand remains wary about signing an Olympic video clips deal with Sky TV, say media industry sources outside NZME.

The broadcaster has committed to sending a media team to Rio, in contrast to digital and newspaper publishers who are staying home.

As of print time, the state broadcaster had not agreed to a Sky deal spelling out how much video content TVNZ can use on air and online.

The issue is expected to be cleared up after a regular meeting of the TVNZ board, held yesterday.

Chief executive Kevin Kenrick is said to be interested in the long term effects of accepting the Sky TV offer.

Like NZME and Fairfax, TVNZ has a significant interest in online media such as tvnz.co.nz, and using video on its OnDemand service.

On May 27, I wrote about Sky cracking down on TVNZ over the use of Sky video of the Joseph Parker-Carlos Takam boxing match (tinyurl.com/jypyt35).

At that time TVNZ backed down, but news boss John Gillespie said it had an obligation to present news coverage of sports events.

The clash has arisen because of developing online arms that need sports content, but sports rights are dominated by Sky TV.

MediaWorks, owner of TV3, has accepted the deal offered by Sky.

MediaWorks' producer for the Olympic team, newsreader Mike McRoberts, has criticised publishers (including Herald publisher NZME) for rejecting the Sky offer.

If TVNZ were to reject the video offer, MediaWorks would have an advantage. There will also be wall-to-wall Olympics coverage on the Sky sports channels, while Sky-owned free-to-air channel Prime TV will run the Olympics 18 hours a day.

Sky has said it will seek an injunction against media that it believes take more content than they are allowed under its interpretation of "fair dealing" rights.

As it stands - with publishers reporting the Olympics from New Zealand and uncertainty over TVNZ signing the Sky deal - it is unclear what Sky video content will be shown on online platforms.

Publishers claim Sky's offer imposed onerous restrictions and signing the deal would have unfairly limited their interpretation of fair dealing in the future.

Sky says it is being more generous with competitors than other rights holders around the world, though publishers reject that.

Getting together

The global convergence of telecommunications and media has implications locally.

The global purchase of Yahoo! by the giant US telco Verizon is a case in point. In this country, Vodafone plans to buy Sky TV, meaning a heightened battle with Spark and its subscription video on demand service, Lightbox.

Meantime, challenger telco brand 2Degrees is considering a new agency after three years with Special Group.

The call for pitches coincided with the appointment of a new chief marketing officer, Roy Ong, and Special is up against three other agencies.

2Degrees has a creditable history in advertising, including its popular campaign featuring comedian Rhys Darby, made when the telco was with ad agency Whybin TBWA.

Vodafone's NZ agency FCB has focused on the lost pig campaign, which has been around for a long time now. Spark uses the agencies Colenso, BBDO and Shine, and has embarked on traditional commercials with a "heartland" theme.