John Drinnan 's Opinion

John Drinnan is the Media writer for the New Zealand Herald.

Media: ANZ gets its money's worth

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Valerie Adams' Olympic medal ceremony almost overshadowed by sponsor's unsubtle branding

Valerie Adams looked like a native of the nation ANZ Bank. Photo / Greg Bowker
Valerie Adams looked like a native of the nation ANZ Bank. Photo / Greg Bowker

An outsider tuning in to the Valerie Adams medal ceremony could be excused for thinking Adams came from the small Pacific nation of "ANZ Bank".

At times it was hard to recognise this was a transplanted Olympic ceremony - live from a stadium that is traditionally bereft of signage - rather than an extended plug for the ANZ.

The flag was a postscript to the branding.

Kereyn Smith, secretary-general of the New Zealand Olympic Committee, said she was more than happy with the level of bank promotion and without the bank the event would not have occurred.

It was a fact of life that New Zealand needed that sort of support from commercial partners, she said.

ANZ also insists that the ubiquitous presence of the bank logo was not over the top.

Now, even if you cringed at John Hawkesby's MCing style (he seemed quite loud and verbose) you have to recognise the bank paid up big time and was entitled to the big sell.

But you just have to wonder if the bank might have made a better statement and garnered more kudos by being a bit more subtle.

The ceremony illustrates how much ANZ has aligned its marketing with sponsorship of sports.

ANZ communications boss Peter Parussini said the bank spent about $12 million on sports last year including its coverage of the Olympics and Rugby World Cup.

Parussini - a former PR man for the All Blacks and sponsorship boss at Telecom - agreed that there had been a period when sports sponsorship had been unfashionable for marketing.

But ANZ saw that the alignment with a sports event was a smart way of cutting through the increasing number of media.

The rule of thumb in sports sponsorship, he said, was that for each dollar spent on sponsorship, $3 was spent in leveraging the deal through media spending and public relations.

TWEAKING

New Zealand Herald editors and staff have been receiving positive feedback on the new-look, new-format newspaper - a vast majority of the newspaper's internal reader panel has approved of the changes in early survey work.

The day after the launch of the new format, the paper increased print size slightly after reader reaction.

Initially the typeface for the new paper was the same size as the broadsheet Herald at 8.1 points, but some readers felt it was becoming harder work to read after a while.

"We increased it slightly to 8.3 points," said Herald editor-in-chief Tim Murphy.

There had also been feedback over the combination of news and sport in one section.

The Herald was considering changing to a more traditional combination of business and sports, Murphy said, though no decision had been made yet.

He said reaction to the compact format had been positive - that it was easier to read and did not have tabloid newsvalues.

COURTROOM JUSTICE

Media companies are at each other's throats trying to win advertising deals.

Yet newspapers have gone hand in hand with television networks to keep TV cameras in court, saying it is is a press freedom issue.

NZ Law Society president Jonathan Temm set himself on a war footing in a speech to the 13th international crime congress in Queenstown last weekend.

Temm said broadcasters never delivered on promises to educate and inform the public about justice when the judiciary opened up access in the mid-1990s and the easygoing rules should be reviewed.

He said TV reports over-hyped cases and sought to remove the reality that court hearings were often long and replace that with intrigue and action.

As in other countries the debate about achieving justice was conservative, but New Zealand was unique in introducing a system of cameras in court.

The sensational coverage was not delivering on the promise to improve our justice process and should be stopped.

TV news executives who have faced a run of high-profile and high-rating court cases have been caught short by Temm and his call for a review but they are ready to fight back.

Perhaps surprisingly, they are being backed by the print media, which Temm says should not be affected by any roll-back of access.

TVNZ news boss Ross Dagan and Mark Jennings of TV3 say there have been no complaints to the special judicial committee that reports to the Solicitor-General and New Zealand's open access guidelines are a badge of honour rather than a mark of shame.

Temm left for Ireland after the Queenstown conference and was unavailable for comment.

Law Society spokesman Geoff Adlam said that Temm's views were shared by many in the society.

It was expected they would be the foundation for a debateabout whether a review was necessary.

Temm's criticism was heavily focused on TV cameras, saying legitimate print media should remain and there should be still photos. Yet Herald editor-in-chief Tim Murphy had a passionate rebuke for Temm, saying it was "absurd" for the president of the Law Society to criticise televising of court cases for distorting reality.

CRACKER CASES

Broadcasters are represented on the judicial committee by Paul Norris, who, as the former head of news and current affairs at TVNZ, played a role in convincing the judiciary to open the door to cameras in the mid-1990s.

Norris, who is now a media consultant, says he does not know exactly what Jonathan Temm is seeking but there is no need for change.

Yet there are some who support the right to have TV cameras in court who believe that broadcasters have prompted a review by being too laissez-faire and incautious over standards.

The environment had changed since the mid-1990s with more media and a 24-hour news cycle while issues about camera access had come to the fore with a series of cracker court stories like the Clayton Weatherston case, which coincided with a debate about the end of the defence of provocation, the David Bain retrial, which led to a media circus over access, the Kahui twins trial and what Temm said was the demonising of Macsyna King.

Most recently there had been the Scott Guy case in which TV One's Simon Bradwell stretched the boundaries for expressing opinion in a murder trial.

Without naming names Jennings acknowledged there had been slip-ups in media protocol which did not relate to cameras in court.

These issues had been acted upon and there was no need to change, he said.

NEARLY THERE

Sky Television is probably in no great rush to get Igloo TV up and running.

After all it will only be a lower-cost alternative to the full Sky TV package.

However, I hear that TVNZ has been taking the more conservative approach that has led to yet another delay in the launch.

Sky owns 51 per cent and TVNZ 49 per cent.

Igloo was due to launch on September 21 but general manager Chaz Savage put it back for the third time, saying that it was still being hampered by software problems for the set-top box and was only 96 per cent ready to go.

A technical insider familiar with Sky thinking said Sky would have gone with 96 or 97 per cent, then arranged for replacement of set-top boxes that played up but Igloo was at a disadvantage because it did not have a service team, and customers would have to return boxes to retailers.

The source said TVNZ had also sought a delay because of its experience with the TiVo set-top box.

By the way, I popped into Igloo recently and saw the thing in action.

The box, which gives access to free channels, 11 linear pay channels and streaming of movies, was easy to navigate.

- NZ Herald

John Drinnan

John Drinnan is the Media writer for the New Zealand Herald.

John Drinnan is the media writer for the New Zealand Herald. A business journalist for twenty years, he has been editor of the specialist film and television title "Screen Finance" in London, focussing on the European TV and film industry. He has been writing about media in New Zealand since the deregulation of the television industry in the late 1980s. He is focused on the business side of the digital revolution in media.

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