16/07/2008 - 22:00

Meerkats delivers for WA brands on the rise

16/07/2008 - 22:00

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Two advertising campaigns launched at the same time by the same agency have made iiNet and Murdoch University the most improved brands in this years' WA Business News branding survey.

Two advertising campaigns launched at the same time by the same agency have made iiNet and Murdoch University the most improved brands in this years' WA Business News branding survey.

Both managed by Meerkats, iiNet came at number one followed by Murdoch University at number two.

Fortescue Metals Group, which was ranked the number one emerging brand, comes at number three in the most improved brands table, followed by Red Rooster, which has re-emerged after losing its spot in the most recognised brand category in 2006.

iiNet's latest campaign, which was launched last year only two months before the 2007 WA Business News Branding Survey results, already had a strong impact on the marketing and advertising professionals.

Meerkats brand planner Ronnie Duncan said the objective of the campaign was to reinforce the iiNet heartland in Perth and to put it on the map in Sydney.

"Before the [iiNet] marketing was tactical around a practical sale, the promotion was selling a specific product before the launch [of the new campaign] last year," he told WA Business News.

"Now it is about a more consistent presence of the brand, the product forms the golden frame around iiNet bringing you a better internet product."

Mr Duncan said that the central character of the iiNet campaign, Fin, was generated by the outcome of a survey in Sydney and Perth.

"We asked people who they would trust the most on advice on technology; they said they would trust a bright 20 year old with a good sense of humour," he said.

Mr Duncan said that the iiNet brand is also seen as a challenger to the usual suspects, namely the two major phone companies.

While iiNet is a market leader in Perth - being the only market where Telstra is not number one, according to Mr Duncan - further growth on the east coast is planned for the Perth-based ISP.

"Ultimately iiNet is a national brand. A lot of people think that internet companies are on-sellers of the Telstra network, while iiNet has their own kit," he said.

Launched at the same time as iiNet last year, but in a rather low-key fashion, was the Murdoch University advertising campaign.

The campaign was a first for the university, which decided to implement a long-term strategy.

And judging by the response from local advertising and marketing professionals, the campaign has already gained recognition only a year after it was publicly launched.

But the Murdoch University branding strategy was started well before the public launch in April 2007.

Mr Duncan said Murdoch approached Meerkats in April 2006 to start working on a strategy planning project, in a climate where Curtin University and Edith Cowan University had already been active on the advertising front for a number of years.

"Both ECU and Curtin had already worked pretty well, 'Curtinnovation' went live in 2003 and the ECU campaign received an award from the marketing industry around the same time," Mr Duncan said.

"They [Murdoch] were a very quiet and understated university, they needed to be very clear when they did promote themselves to remain as authentic as possible," he said.

Mr Duncan said that Murdoch opted for a long-term strategy that ultimately led to the roll-out of the "Discoverers Welcome" campaign within the organisation before going live on television a year later.

According to Mr Duncan, the university branding market is experiencing tremendous growth, with an average spend on media increasing by about 15 per cent each year for the past two to three years.

Fast food chain Red Rooster, which featured quite strongly in the most recognised brands list in 2004 and 2005, dropped from the survey in 2006 only to reappear in this year's most improved brands in fourth position.

One of the survey respondent commented that Red Rooster improved in terms of revitalising its brand to be more 'hip and contemporary'.

The City of Perth makes its inaugural inclusion in this year's branding survey, ranking at number five of the most improved brands.

Prior to that, the City of Perth featured in the top waning/underachieving brands in 2006.

"The change of leadership appears to have reinvigorated the brand," according to TMP Worldwide WA general manager Rowena Smith.

The 'where it all comes together' campaign was developed by Marketforce Advertising over the past twelve months.

"Our first job was to look at the changing nature of the City of Perth, which has gone through a massive period of growth. It is a refresh of the city campaign," Marketforce CEO John Driscoll told WA Business News.

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