Four major New Zealand ad agencies currently engaged in a pitch for arguably the most prestigious e-commerce advertising account in New Zealand.
Trade Me chief customer officer Regan Savage confirmed industry rumours that he was on the hunt for a creative partner who would look after the core brand and retail aspects of the business.
According to Nielsen ad spend figures, Trade Me's advertising spend over the past three years has varied between $3.2 million and $8.3 million annually.
In commenting on the pitch, Savage said he was looking for a partner who could help lead the brand "through its next phase of growth, and who can service our Wellington and Auckland based teams".
The pitch has attracted four of the big names in advertising.
Agencies Colenso BBDO, DDB, Saatchi & Saatchi and VMLY&R have all thrown their hats in for an opportunity to get their hands on the account.
Savage, who switched from Kiwibank to Trade Me in March last year, said the appointment of a creative partner would bring an end to an 18-month patch during which Trade Me has worked with a number of different partners.
In his seven years at Kiwibank, Savage garnered a reputation for an innovative approach to his marketing efforts.
Included among some of his more interesting initiatives was the funding of the six-part primetime series Mind Over Money with Nigel Latta, which aired in 2017.
The move saw Kiwibank foot the bill for a TV show in which Latta looked at how our money decisions are impacted by psychological motivations we may not even be aware of.
The move was ground-breaking because of how far it veered from the remit of a traditional ad.
Savage was also an early adopter when it came to working with online influencers, investing in a multi-episode YouTube series feature Jamie Currie.
While an adept operator, Savage will, however, have his work cut out at Trade Me, which is currently going through a number of major changes.
Chief among them is the change of ownership, which has seen Trade Me sold to UK-based private equity firm Apax Partners for around $2.56 billion.
An immediate challenge for the marketing team will be to ensure that Trade Me solidifies its position as a New Zealand company despite its sale to a foreign entity.
In April, Trade Me named Norwegian online marketplace executive Anders Skoe as its new chief executive starting in July.
Skoe is currently the CEO of Finn.no - a similar business to Trade Me, operating across automotive, real estate and employment classifieds, as well as a general items marketplace.
Analysts will be looking to see how he develops Trade Me's push into new goods in the face of new regional competition from Amazon and Alibaba.
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