Can Kiwiplates make personalised plates mainstream?

By Aimee Shaw

Tech entrepreneur Kim Dotcom is known for his love of personalised plates.
Tech entrepreneur Kim Dotcom is known for his love of personalised plates.

Can personalised number plates become a mainstream product? Or will they remain the preserve of show-off extroverts?

Kiwiplates, the company which has taken over from Personalised Plates, says it wants to make customised number plates the accessory of choice for the more mainstream motorist.

Managing director Rob Kent said the firm has ramped up its advertising spend in a bid to attract these new customers.

"Research shows personalised plates are polarised - they've typically been seen to be appealing to a showy extrovert, but we want to normalise personal plates to make it more socially accepted for everyone," Kent said.

"We want to normalise personalised number plates."

On August 1 multinational liability firm Publicis Communication received the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) tender to formerly take over from Personalised Plates. It was short-listed from four potential bidders.

Publicis Communication, which employees close to 230 people in New Zealand alone, has been operating in the country for more than 25 years.

In just under a month of operations, Kent said the plates business was off to a "solid" start.

"We rebranded the business and rebranded the plates," he said.

The firms' long-term goal was to become the accredited trader of second-hand personalised plates, Kent said.

"We aim to become the official method of selling second-hand plates, although at the moment it's a low priority as most are sold on TradeMe."

Customised number plates varied in price depending on the design and number-letter combination. The bulk of all plate proceeds were retained by NZTA and used to fund road safety campaigns.

"When you buy a personal plate you are buying the copyright for life. The price you pay is not going towards just making the physical aluminium plate, you are copyrighting the letters and numbers."

Plate prices start at $599 for a standard plate with a block colour and range up to $750 onwards for intricate designs, lettering and numbering.

We rebranded the business and rebranded the plates.

NZTA previously said it was looking for a new tender "to improve the level of revenue returned to the Transport Agency's road safety programme."

Customers can expect additional number plate designs next year, Kent said.

Predecessor Personalised Plates held NZTA licensing for 28 years.

- NZ Herald

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