JWT, Assignment Win Tourism New Zealand

NEW YORK The team of WPP Group’s JWT and New Zealand boutique Assignment Group has won global creative duties on Tourism New Zealand after a review, JWT said. Estimated billings are $25-30 million.

Other contenders included Omnicom Group’s Colenso BBDO, DDB and Whybin\TBWA and Publicis Groupe’s Saatchi & Saatchi, said sources.

The incumbent, independent M&C Saatchi, resigned the account after winning Tourism Australia in July.

The business will be run out of JWT’s Auckland, New Zealand, office in conjunction with Assignment Group, which also is located there. Assignment Group’s principals are Peter Cullinane, Howard Greive, Kim Thorpe and James Hall.

The two agencies will share duties under the banner of JWT/Assignment, though JWT has no stake in Assignment Group.

“The win is incredibly important for us in New Zealand,” said Mike Connaghan, JWT’s managing director for Australia and New Zealand. “We have been rebuilding for the last year, so securing Tourism New Zealand at this stage is wonderful.”

The assignment includes traditional advertising, buzz marketing and promotional efforts, according to JWT. Executives from the agency’s offices in London, Australia, New York and Los Angeles contributed to the pitch, and the U.S. piece of the account will be handled by either Los Angeles or New York, depending on the client’s needs, the shop said.

The first work, which will continue to use M&C Saatchi’s “100% Pure New Zealand” theme, is expected in early 2006.

“JWT/Assignment clearly demonstrated its strategic and creative potential to further develop the highly successful” campaign, said Tourism New Zealand CEO George Hickton, in a statement.