CEO Update | March 2022

Kia ora koutou katoa,

This is my first update from the Comms Council. Thank you to all those who have been so generous with their time as I get up to speed with our organisation and the needs of our members. I’d like to use these updates to provide a deeper insight into the work we do on your behalf and keep you informed on issues I think will be of value to you and your agency.

This month, I’d like to give you a snapshot of the world of advocacy; the conversations we have every day to ensure we remain able to advertise, get heard by people who make decisions that affect us, and champion the value our industry creates for New Zealand. Here are some of the conversations I’ve been having in 2022:

Advertising Standards Authority: I attended an ASA Board meeting and would draw your attention to the two items from Hilary Souter in this newsletter. Of particular importance, the review of the Children’s and Young People’s Advertising Code Review. I would advise you to begin conversations with your clients, particularly those who promote occasional food and beverage products to ensure we have a robust self-regulation code in place that continues to support childhood wellbeing. Do also please explore the webinars the ASA provides to ensure you are following best practice and acting within the codes.

ANZA: We work very closely and collaboratively with ANZA, the industry body for NZ advertisers. Our goals are unsurprisingly aligned with many of the goals of our clients. The close working relationship that the Comms Council has with ANZA ensures we present a united front on matters of common cause. I have had multiple meetings and weekly dialogue with Lindsay Mouat from ANZA.

All of Government panels: I met with MBIE, commencing a quarterly formal engagement to provide feedback on the AoG process, and to ensure that our members see the intended benefits of moving to the AoG panel process. I provided feedback about a live RFP that was brought to my attention, asking MBIE to give the government agency in question feedback and try to avoid unreasonable RFP timelines. I encourage any agency that observes a process that is likely to jeopardise best outcomes to bring it to my attention so that I can raise the issue with either MBIE or the government agency. MBIE indicated that they will be aiming to provide greater visibility of how participating agencies appear on the AoG portal in 2022.

Commerce Commission: We have made a submission to the Commerce Commission in support of the News Publishers Association’s request for approval to negotiate on behalf of their members as NZ’s news media enter discussions with Google & Meta regarding payment for content.

Voxcomm: The Comms Council is a member of Voxcomm, a global council comprising advertising industry bodies around the world (e.g. Ad Council in Australia, the IPA in the UK, AAAA in the US, the EACA in Europe). Voxcomm meets monthly and aims to work together to tackle common challenges. February’s meeting focused on thought leadership relating to agency value, development of an agreed stance on Agency Selection Principles, development of a global D&I census across our industry, and sustainability and the development of principles on greenwashing. All of these topics will result in actions here in New Zealand and I will keep you updated and informed as they progress.

In addition to the specifics above, we also attended a WeCreate Hui, bringing the alliance of creative industries together to meet with the Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, and have a meeting in late February with the same ministry to discuss strong public media. We understand that the recommendations relating to the proposed TVNZ/RNZ merger are due to go to cabinet imminently, and we will provide a further update when we have it.

Advocacy on behalf of the industry is just one facet of the Comms Council’s focus, and I will continue to update you on other aspects of our work in the next newsletter.

I’d like to finish with a huge thank you to the 65 agency leaders and representatives who joined a long (!) but very productive workshop to inform our future strategic direction. It was amazing to get such a commitment and the feedback and insights gained were invaluable. We are developing our future strategy currently, and this workshop ensured that the resulting strategic focus is representative of the aspirations of our members. It set the bar for ongoing engagement and an open and transparent dialogue to ensure we are focused on what matters.

Ngā mihi nui,