Nielsen: Kiwi adlanders are way trendier – but are they in touch?

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Advertising agencies have their finger on the pulse of hottest fashion trends and latest media technology, according to Nielsen NZ’s latest Agency Life in NZ report, which came out this morning. But are they in touch with the heartbeat of average New Zealanders?

“We enticed agency folk, or Adlanders, with the chance to win cases of wine to find out,” says Kim Nielsen NZ marketing &comms manager Kim McFadden. As they are tasked with reaching and appealing to Kiwis to inform, sell to or change behaviours, what are the differences between their world and that of their audience?

This report reveals agency employees’ media and shopping habits, their use of technology and their lifestyles and compares the findings against the average New Zealander (aged 18-54).

“In keeping with ‘media types’, we also included some questions just for fun,” Mc Faddedn said.

One resulted in important fashion advice: Men, if you think the bare ankle, rolled up trouser look wins you fans in the agency environment, think again – 58% said a big no to the look (that is 71% of those who actually care).

Use of new Technology and Consumption of Media

Agency folk love their gadgets with 92% owning a smartphone, much higher than the average New Zealander (68%). They are nearly twice as likely to own a tablet (57%) than the general population (31%).

This gap doesn’t stop at ownership. While 97% of Adlanders withsmart phones have used them to access the internet in the last month, only 67% of Kiwi smartphone users are doing the same. Perhaps that epic mobile campaign may have a higher reach against agency people than the campaign target?

Adlanders are early technology adopters; nowhere is it more obvious than when it comes to Apple TVs or 3DTV. Five times as many agency folk own an Apple TV (21% vs. 4%) and nearly twice as many own a 3DTV (15% vs. 8%) compared to the average person.

While Personal Video Recorder (PVR) ownership has now become a game-changer with one in two Kiwis having one in their homes, agency employees lead with more than two out of three being time-shift capable.

Kiwi viewers watch more TV across a week than agency employees, a whole four hours and 17 minutes more. In the Adland world, those with PVRs watch four hours 37 minutes a week of time-shifted content. This is enough time to catch up on your weekly Shortland Street episodes twice!

The urban media myth says, once you own a PVR you never watch ads again, but we now know that 80% of viewing in a PVR home is live. When we asked Adlanders with a PVR about their ad viewing behaviour when watching playback, 48% said they watched at least half of the ads. This includes 13% loyal rock stars who watched all ads to see what the competition is producing.

The Block NZ was Adlanders’ favourite local show, followed by 7 Days, My Kitchen Rules and of course Shortie. However this preference list has little in common with top New Zealand programmes watched by Kiwis in the last year.

For the latter, the top three programmes were New Zealand’s Got Talent, One News and Highway Cops.

When it comes to watching TV/video content online in the last seven days, agency people are again lead the pack (83% vs. 61%) and they also use more devices to watch video online. However they spend slightly less time watching video online, 38 minutes per day compared to 40 minutes for the average person.

Agency respondents estimated that 27% of New Zealanders use a tablet to watch video online in any week. Only 18% do, highlighting a need to better understand consumer trends.

Agency respondents were evenly split for streaming or downloading illegal video content; 42% admitted they did, 45% said no and 12% either don’t know or did not want to answer. 15% said they had visited The Pirate Bay website in the last month.

Websites visited in the last month

Adlanders are digital super consumers, engaging with social media and keeping up to date with the latest online news; nine in 10 having used Facebook in the last month and a similar amount visited either NZ Herald website or

The average Kiwi lags behind with 68% going to Facebook in July 2014. The gap gets larger still for sites like Twitter or Pinterest, with Adlanders being twice as likely to visit these sites each month.

Shopping and Socialising

Online shopping is more popular for Adlanders than the average Kiwi, 97% have made at least one online purchase in the last 12 months compared to just 68% of the population. They have also proven to be selective of where they go shopping in the offline world.

Around one in two Auckland Adlanders have been to Ponsonby and Newmarket malls in the last month, more than triple the average Aucklander aged 18-54. When it comes to visiting Westfields, Adland execs are more likely to have been to St Lukes and Albany compared to the average Aucklander, but a lot less likely to visit West City in Henderson or Manukau.

In fact, Auckland Adland employees are five times more likely to have been to Blue Breeze Inn, Chapel, Mexico or Ostro in the last week than to have visited Westfield Manukau in the last month.

Much of this is due to where they live and work, but does highlight the differences in shopping habits compared to the average New Zealander. One in six Auckland agency respondents (16%) live in Grey Lynn, Parnell or Remuera compared to only one in 100 Aucklanders.

Agency folk like to eat out and socialise. Nearly twice as many have been to a restaurant or a pub in the last month than the average New Zealander.

However, they are not big fans of instant coffee with two thirds of them not drinking the stuff (compared to 50% of the population) in an average week, and an additional 5% even saying “what is it?”

Hard workers

What else do these agency folks do when they are not out eating, drinking or shopping? Their work is demanding. More than four in five (83%) worked late in the last month, while only 55% of full time Kiwi workers have done the same.

At the same time 71% have been to a work function which makes us wonder if this is considered work or play!

In spite of work pressures Adland executives fit in more exercise, more travel within New Zealand or overseas, and go to the theatre, concerts or night clubs more frequently than most Kiwis. Their incomes are not spent entirely on rent/mortgages or going out.

They have a much higher propensity to be part of Kiwisaver, to own investment property, shares or a holiday home than the average Kiwi.

If you are a dog lover, you may want to know that 44% of agency folk do not have a dog, but nearly two thirds (61%) of those that do are allowed to bring their dog to work. There are some lucky dogs out there.

The thought of crossing the Auckland Harbour Bridge for work is too much for some. When Adlanders were asked would they change careers if the entire media industry (agencies and media owners) relocated to Auckland’s North Shore, one in five (22%) said either yes,definitely or even “Hell yes!” and 10% said “it’s a tough choice!”

Straw polls don’t cut it

This study highlights the differences in technology take-up, lifestyle and media habits of agency people and the audience that they are required to understand on behalf of advertisers. Illustrating that to truly understand the real world of New Zealand consumers, a quick poll around the agency office isn’t going to cut it.

Top tip

And finally the tip of all tips – if you really want to get the hairs standing on the back of the neck of those in agencies (or your colleagues), just slip any of the following buzzwords into the conversation: game-changer, ninja/ guru/ rock star, reach out, viral and epic. These were voted the top five most cringe-worthy phrases by Adlanders.

“You may have spotted a few we included to join the bandwagon,” McFadden says.

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