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MEDIACOM – Marketing Digest - 30 MARCH 2005

MEDIACOM – Marketing Digest
30 MARCH 2005


Lip Service?

We've been told for years that New Zealand's demographics are changing - we're getting older and more ethnically diverse, and family and household compositions are changing dramatically - and yet marketers still persist in targeting the usual suspects. Is it any wonder that today's advertising doesn't always find its mark?

The just-released April issue of Unlimited Magazine weighs in with a cover story asking "are you ready for the new New Zealand?" For many, sadly, the answer seems to be "no".

We persist with advertising that presumes a common history and heritage amongst our audience. And yet we are becoming an increasingly heterogeneous society with a greater diversity of ethnic groups, nationalities, religions, languages, lifestyles and values. Four trends in particular have significant effects on our ability to share common communications as a nation, namely increasing ethnic diversity, continuing urbanisation, improving levels of education and the ageing of the population.

Ethnic Diversity Can Mean Irrelevance
The changing ethnic makeup of New Zealand's population is perhaps having the most significant effect on our sense of identity - and making many of our advertising messages irrelevant to a steadily-increasing segment of the population. Unlimited notes that twenty percent of New Zealanders - and 30% of Aucklanders - were born overseas. Non-European groups are growing at a much faster rate than the European ethnic group and making up an increasing share of the total population.

Historically, NZ's pakeha population has tended to identify with the culture and traditions of Europe, and Britain in particular. Until the 1970s these ties were reinforced by strong economic links and an immigration policy which gave priority to British migrants. In 2003/2004, nearly 80% of new migrants came from countries other than Britain, bringing with them different cultures, values and expectations. Worryingly, 51% of new migrants report that they have made new friends in NZ from the same ethnic group, suggesting that integration into traditional Kiwi society is a slow process at best.

City Celebrities, Country Could Care Less
New Zealand has also become an increasingly urbanised nation, as employment opportunities have shifted from the countryside and small towns to the cities - to the point where Country Calendar is the closest many of us have come to a rural experience. Those who continue to live in rural areas and small towns can end up having a significantly different perspective on life compared with city slickers, leaving them uninterested in, and unmotivated by, the urban dilemmas posed in typical advertising exploits.

Street Smarts vs College Kids
The growing importance of tertiary education and the shift in employment patterns from secondary to tertiary industries is also significant. New Zealanders now are more likely than in the past to have tertiary qualifications and to work in skilled white collar occupations. In the future, tertiary education is likely to become still more crucial to people's employment prospects. Those who have survived the vagaries of the education system are now likely to play a greater role in shaping our society, culture and identity than in the past. Is the self-made Kiwi battler now just a relic of a bygone era? And, if so, what does that say about our priorities and our passions circa 2005?

Forgotten Silver
We know that the world is growing older, we've all heard about the greying baby boomers. But it ain't just a coming attraction: The Twilight Zone is nearly upon us, as the first of that boomer generation turn sixty over the next twelve months. Yet these people are refusing to grow old gracefully. They're looking for retirement havens that are more like Disneyland or Outward Bound, not Bowling Greens & Bingo Nights. They grew up with Rock & Roll, and their surviving cultural heroes have discovered that they can be still loved when they're 64. Little wonder that the traditional rest home is on the endangered species list.

What does it all mean for the Kiwi marketer? Simply, that one size no longer fits all. Unless you're prepared to remain irrelevant to an increasingly larger chunk of your target audience, you'll need to find out far more about today's New Zealanders than you ever thought would be necessary. New millennium, new way of doing business. If you're already there, pat yourself on the back. If not, time to reinvent ...

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The Internet Changes Everything. Again.

Maybe it's just us, but it seems that everywhere we turn lately, we read some new stats proclaiming the supremacy of the internet in yet another arena. For example:

 More consumers are going to Internet search engines for local shopping information rather than their phone books. New research from the Kelsey Group and ConStat shows that 70% of US adults use the Internet as an information source when shopping locally for products and services - compared with 62% for the trusty Yellow Pages.

 New figures estimate that online advertising spend in the UK rose by over 46% in 2004 to £597m, as the medium closed in on radio advertising in terms of market share. Internet adspending, at 3.2% of total UK spend, is on the verge of taking over from radio, which accounted for 3.3% of spend.

 Now that eight in 10 US consumers have access to the Internet from any location, up from half in 1999, the percent of Americans who have listened to audio or watched video on the Internet in the past month has grown to 22 percent or 55 million Americans, up from 10 percent five years ago.

 Whereas before Internet broadcast usage tended to be a youth phenomenon, it is now more mainstream, among adults 25-to-54. About 20 million Americans or 8 percent of the population listened to Internet radio last week and about 20 million watched Internet video in the past week.

New Zealand internet penetration is now at similar levels to the US, with more than 80% of the Under 60s enjoying access to the internet from at least one location. Levels of penetration remain high across most ethnic groupings as well, except for Pacific Islanders whose access levels are around 65%, depending on nationality. However limited local content means that many of the international hot buttons are denied us, providing at least some protection for local media (for now). On the other hand, the global attractions flashing across our screen means that our hearts and minds are often lost to local media anyway ...

Teens shop online--but they`re SO going to the store to buy

US teens and the Internet are much on the minds of researchers these days. Harris Interactive has been studying how teens shop online. Their conclusion: Teens use the web for lots of research and some buying. They don`t buy more online for a few prime reasons, the main one being that Mom and Dad won`t let them. Second, they like paying shipping about as much as adults (not very much) and third, they don`t have a way to pay. But this is a generation that is growing up on the web and so their online shopping is sure to grow as they do.

Already, teens spend US$22 billion a year online, which represents 16% of their total spending, and make half-a-dozen online purchases a year. And they're big eBay users: a third of 10-17 year olds have bought at an online auction, and half of 18-21-year-olds have done likewise. eBay is the notable exception to the rule that teenagers crave gilt and flash from their Web sites. The site is by far the most popular online shopping destination for teenagers. According to ComScore Media Metrix, eBay had nearly 5 million visitors between the ages of 12 and 17 in January 2005, compared with about 3 million for, which ranked second.

Because teens generally don't have credit cards, they don't have the means for standard pick-and-click shopping. But that doesn't mean Web retailers aren't out to woo them.

The mall has gone cyber. Instead of being shuttled to and fro in their parents' cars, teens can now shop their hearts out in front of the home computer. And most online teen retailers let kids compile all the stuff of their dreams in a wish list, which parents looking for gift ideas can view.

Given the size of the current teenage market–and how much teenagers will be able to spend once they have their own credit cards–merchants are willing to try just about anything. According to Teenage Research Unlimited (TRU), the population of teenagers will reach about 34 million within the next five years, up from about 30 million in 1997 and about 33.5 million at present.

According to a study released late last year by TRU, about 49 percent of adolescent boys have bought something online, versus 41 percent of teenage girls. Fifty-four percent of 16- and 17-year-olds have shopped online.

“Sixteen seems to be the magic number online,” said Rob Callender, the trends director at TRU. “They can pilot around a car, which increases the amount they can earn. And when parents see them handle these responsibilities, they feel better about giving them a credit card for an online purchase.”

So - talk to teens online, but send them to the mall to buy. Got it.

More Music Coming Up After The Break ...

Radio listeners stay tuned through commercials more than you might think, or at least that's the finding from Navigauge, a research service which tracks in-car radio listening. 88.3 percent of audiences that tuned in at the beginning of a commercial remained tuned in through the end of it. Released last week, Navigauge's consumer behaviour index was based on more than 100,000 tunings to more than 1,600 advertisements on 20 radio stations in Atlanta for the months of January and February.

Men tended to stay tuned to the entire radio commercial more than women, regardless of age: 89.6 percent for men versus 87.4 percent for women. Older listeners ages 50 and older also exhibited higher commercial retention, 90.9 percent compared to listeners ages 35 to 49 (88.3 percent) and listeners ages 35 and younger (85.3 percent).

Women tended to be more discriminating about advertising based on the radio format and the type of ad. Women 35-49 will listen to an entire ad more frequently for non-prescription medications (92.1 percent) and TV and cable advertising (90.5 percent) more than other categories such as soft drinks (79.8 percent), movies (85.4 percent), airlines (86.0 percent) and consumer electronics (86.7 percent).

Women are also more likely to listen to the entire ad on Adult Contemporary stations (88.6 percent) compared to the average retention of 87.5 percent for other formats.

Come Back Gliding On & Lynn of Tawa, We Need You

Where are the great New Zealand comedy characters for the 21st century, the McPhail & Gadsbys of the new millennium? Who are the New Zealand Kath and Kims?

These and other questions about New Zealand humour will be examined in a comedy symposium run by NZ On Air on Thursday 31st March, at the Stamford Plaza Hotel in Auckland. The aim of the symposium is to identify options to deliver sustainable, innovative comedy programmes to New Zealand audiences. Attendees will include broadcasters, directors, writers, producers and performers.

Keynote speaker at the symposium is Ted Emery, one of Australia's most successful comedy directors. His credits include Kath and Kim, Full Frontal and Fast Forward and feature films, The Honourable Wally Norman and The Craic.

Recent research commissioned by NZ On Air on attitudes to local comedy and drama hints that our confidence in the potential of local comedy writers is growing, according to NZ On Air's Jo Tyndall.

“What we’ve found is that New Zealanders think homegrown comedy is getting better, with bro’Town taking an exponential leap forward, but there are still gaps, including the development of a sitcom that reflects life as we know it, based on rich and believable New Zealand characters.”

The results of the focus group research will be presented at the symposium, which will also feature sessions on finding a successful comedy concept, finding talent and finding the money to develop new programmes.

NZ comedy has struggled to find its voice in recent years (decades?), and the lack of a suitable training ground (the Shortland Street comedy equivalent) has seen each series forced to go through its own growing pains in a very public arena. We applaud any attempt to bring life to the genre.


MEDIACOM, with offices in 80 countries, is one of the world's largest and most respected independent media planning and buying organisations.

We create media solutions that build business for a wide range of local, regional and worldwide clients.

With $13 billion in global billings, a commitment to strategic insight, total communications planning, tactical media brilliance and tough but creative media negotiating, MEDIACOM provides unsurpassed value in today's chaotic media marketplace.

Published by MEDIACOM (NZ) LIMITED, P O Box 3369 Auckland New Zealand,
Phone 09 914 4940 Fax 09 914 4903
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