New Zealand

Colenso BBDO’s creative vision behind Effie Award-winning work – stoppress.co.nz

While the work features on the wall outside an exotic dance club, on movie screens, takeaway coffee cups, and many other surprising locations, it’s no surprise Skinny’s ‘Phone It In’ has led to Colenso BBDO taking out three Gold awards at the 2023 Aotearoa Effie Awards. We chat to Rob Campbell, Colenso BBDO’s Head of Strategy and Chief Strategy Officer, about this campaign to find out why it struck a chord with Kiwis.


Winning Gold in the categories Telcos and Utilities, Most Original Thinking, and Sustained Success at the 2023 Aotearoa Effie Awards, the ‘Phone It In’ campaign for Skinny, has made effective use of traditional media in a cost-effective manner.

In the Telcos and Utilities award, Effie judges described the campaign as “showcasing a clever and flawless execution that effectively tackled their defined problem while authentically embodying the distinctive skinny brand”.

“The deliberate strategy seamlessly integrated Skinny’s unique identity, capturing attention and leaving a lasting impression in the market.”

For Most Original Thinking, the judges said the campaign set itself apart within its category.

“Its robust performance not only showcased significant outcomes but also left a direct and positive impact on the business, solidifying its position as a trailblazer in the industry.”

As Head of Strategy, Rob is “trying to build is a department that helps creativity win in ways that aren’t expected”.

And while he and his team have clearly already achieved that, with the work helping Colenso BBDO win Agency of the Year at the Axis Awards 2023 and securing six Gold awards, two Spikes Asia Grand Prix, along with other international accolades, Rob is not one to rest on his laurels and is already thinking about how to achieve more and better.

“When we [won], I said, ‘Everyone enjoy the moment. It’s phenomenal and we should feel proud. But that’s now the minimum benchmark.’ People probably hated me for it.

“My whole mantra is win better. It’s not just about winning. It’s about win better. Anyone can win, but if you win better, then you define how everyone else will then be judged.”

He says the most important part of any successful campaign is having a good team and good clients.

Rob Campbell.

“There’s a lot of really good people in this industry. I’ve lived everywhere, and maybe New Zealand has the greatest standard across the board or the least deviation.

“I genuinely believe creativity is the only thing that can overcome ritual, price, history, and heritage.”

Out of all the awards that Colenso BBDO won at this year’s Aotearoa Effie Awards, he says the Sustained Success category is the ‘Holy Grail’.

“This campaign has experienced consistent growth year after year, maintaining its relevance and resonance with the target audience,” the Effie judges said. “It continues to enliven the platform for its audience, elevating its results annually through diverse and innovative executions, solidifying its position as a dynamic and progressive force in the industry.

From his experience of working in the music industry, Rob has learnt that anyone can have a number one, but not everyone can have an album career.

“Staying at the top is harder than getting to the top” he explains, shaking off a suggestion that Colenso might be the next Taylor Swift of the marketing world.

“My friends would love to hear that. I might choose a different artist,” he laughs.

“I don’t want us to grow old, but I do want us to make sure that we build stuff that never stops evolving. Sustained success is great, but I see it not as the end line. I see it as we continue to run the never ending marathon.”

While acknowledging New Zealand’s exceptional work, Rob believes that there is always room for improvement, emphasising the need for the industry to continue pioneering and exploring new horizons.

“There’s work that I’m viciously jealous of, and I both hate that and I love it,” he says. “I hate it because I wish I’d done it. I love it because it means people are pushing things forward and seeing new ways of doing it.”

Colenso’s commitment to pushing boundaries and challenging the status quo is evident in its pursuit of pioneering work that has the potential to redefine the industry.

To do this and truly connect with audiences starts with heading outside into the real world and “looking in the shadows of society, not just the easy wins” he adds.

“It’s looking at what’s happening in the rest of the world, whether that’s in fashion, music, food, technology, it doesn’t matter. But seeing all the things that are shaping and changing attitudes, interests, just seeing what’s making things happen. My department’s job is an outdoor job, not a desk job.”

As for the future, Rob hopes to build Colenso up so that it is one of the most intriguing agencies in the world.

“I choose that word [intriguing]very specifically, because I believe if you do that, you will also help drive a different level of effectiveness. I’d love to show the breadth of how effectiveness can be brought through creativity. Creativity doesn’t have a limit, and I’d like to see that demonstrated in the effectiveness papers that are written and awarded in the future.”


To read more behind the scenes articles on the standout winners at the 2023 Aotearoa Effies Awards click here.

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