WELLINGTON: Advertising is continuing to provide a substantial payback for brands in New Zealand, even in categories suffering during the recession, winning entries from the CAANZ Effie Awards 2009 show.

The CAANZ case studies – available to Warc subscribers here – cover sectors from alcoholic drinks to public services, and demonstrate how marketers in the country are meeting the challenges of the downturn.

Kiwibank, the financial services specialist, launched in New Zealand in 2002, amassing a customer base of 400,000 people by 2006, when it decided to mount a fresh acquisition drive.

This required a shift from being seen as a low cost and low service operator, as well as taking on rivals with a much longer history, and a reluctance to move provider on the part of consumers.

People aged 25–54 years old in the high income bracket were the target audience, and it was decided to appeal to patriotism, both as a "call to arms" and to depict the bank as a "challenger brand".

Over the period from 2006, customer numbers rose 67%, a trend that survived the onset of the crisis, as 42% of people thinking of changing banks earlier this year were still considering switching to Kiwibank.

The travel industry around the world has also come under pressure in the slowdown, as consumers aim to secure cheap deals or cancel trips altogether, with New Zealand being no exception.

As the only full service airline in the country, Air New Zealand had to compete against domestic discount carriers, and attract greater international attention to offset declines in its home market.

In response, the integrated Nothing to Hide campaign featured the firm's ceo and staff "wearing body paint and a grin", to demonstrate the transparency of its fares, and give it a distinct tone of voice.

Substantial global media coverage, and some nine million video views on YouTube, helped double benchmark awareness levels, and set new standards for cost effectiveness.

Facing similar obstacles in the auto sector, Ford sought to introduce its redesignedFiesta at a time when category sales were down by 31.9% on an annual basis.

To achieve success in such a climate, the US giant focused on a new audience of young, influential females, who would not only want to purchase a Fiesta, but also act as brand advocates.

Communications made the Fiesta "cool" by associating it with up-and-coming bands on Bebo and other websites, with over 80% of the target ultimately saying they would consider buying the car.

Data sourced from CAANZ; additional content by Warc staff