2019: That’s a Wrap!

2019: That’s a Wrap!

What a year, eh? 2019 was one of those years where it seems almost impossible to actually sum up my thoughts and opinions on. So you know what? I’m not going to… just let the sign above speak for itself on the going ons in Christchurch – New Zealand – and the wider world! 

What we’ve seen is a test of our resilience this year, and all staying on track it seems we may need to gear up for the test getting harder and harder each year (unless Greta Thunberg can actually save the day – can she? Can she please, though?) 

We’ve spent a lot of this year in our personal and business lives trying to come up with new and creative ways to be a little bit more kind to the planet and the people around us; shifting our eating to be majority plant-based, turning off our electronics and lights that we’re not using during work hours, attempting to use WAY less paper (digital presentations, anyone!?), refusing to work with businesses who have harmful business offerings and practises ‘just for the money’ and actively engaging in climate change protests and adding our voice to dialogues with the government. 



This year we gave back to some amazing causes and projects. A highlight for us was helping raise $1500 cash for the victims of the terrible terrorist attack on March 15th by designing and selling ‘Hate Has No Home Here’ tshirts. If you bought one of these – thank you!

For Christmas this year, we signed up to the Shoebox Christmas initiative to deliver Christmas presents to kids at low decile schools, pre-schools, Women’s Refuge, and community organisations who could do with an extra smile on Christmas Day!

It was really fun hitting the shops at Christmas time for a good cause and shopping for kids gifts – something we don’t get to do all that often. Looking down the aisles of The Warehouse’s toy section I exclaimed out loud to myself ‘what the hell is this stuff?’ to a shelf of what I can only really describe as pottles of colourful slime (apparently all the rage?) while a Grandma with an equally confused look on her face burst out laughing and responded she was about to ask the same thing but it’s what all her grandkids want so just ‘roll with it’. Sage advice..

Definitely not the same ‘Barbie Dolls’ and and ‘Puppy Surprises’ of my childhood wish lists, but whatever. Whaddya gonna do? The kids like goo, give them goo.

Image: some of the gifts we bought for kids for Shoebox Christmas! Also, please compliment me on my home-made, eco-friendly cardboard Christmas tree that I fashioned out of a massive box that was just sitting in my roof space when I bought this house… ha ha!

Don’t hesitate to get in touch in the New Year for any or all of those ideas you have bubbling out of your relaxed-holiday-brains for your business ready to be realised with a little help from your pals at G&A.

That’s it from us, we’re off on a whirlwind trip to the dark depths of the South Island for a few days then all the way up to the top for some time out in a caravan with no wifi and no cell signal – a luxury hard to come by in this industry where we rely on emails and web surfing!

MERRY CHRISTMAS from team G&A – The Giveback Agency.
See you in the New Year!

We will be taking our Christmas break between 
December 20th – January 6th

Giving Back: Road Traffic Accident Trauma Charitable Trust

Giving Back: Road Traffic Accident Trauma Charitable Trust

Welcome the first edition of ‘Giving Back’ – a newsletter and email segment sent out to all of our clients, friends, and family, to support a great local cause within our community, to the benefit of everyone involved.
By Emma Cameron of G&A Creative Agency



Here at The Giveback Agency, we’re in the business of, well, giving back. Specifically in our form of Social Conscience marketing. Social conscience marketing spreads benefits beyond the client’s sphere of influence. In other words, it’s marketing for good. A client’s product or service, and the marketing process itself, can reinforce social and ethical values for the benefit of communities – and it does not need to cost more than conventional marketing. The one proviso? Make it genuine.

This month I’m flipping the Social Conscience Marketing philosophy back on to myself and G&A, and teaming up with The Road Traffic Accident Trauma Trust.

A couple months ago, I met Sarah Dean at a Digital Marketing seminar and networking event for small-to-medium businesses, which was hosted by our very own social media expert, Moses Robbins. We got chatting, and she explained to me what she does with her charity, the Road Traffic Accident Trauma Charitable Trust (RTAT), which absolutely blew me away. This woman is passionate about her charity and she works damned hard day after day to support survivors of road accidents and family of those who were lost in road accidents.it.


Sarah personally founded The Road Traffic Accident Trauma Charitable Trust in 2010 to provide counselling, advocacy and advice to assist those that have been affected by road traffic accident related trauma which is largely an unmet need in the community. In particular, it was founded to provide a service for those that do not meet criteria for counselling support under the Accident Compensation Act. This is the first Charitable Trust of its kind in New Zealand.



Where we can Give Back:
Road Accident Remembrance Day™


In New Zealand a very topical subject is its steadily increasing road toll and crash rate. Last year, more people died on our roads than any year since 2010. As a direct result, post trauma is more prominent and produces widespread affects in our community.

What is unique and special about the Road Accident Remembrance Day™ is that it reaches those in our community deeply impacted by road trauma. Sponsorship will enable RTAT to continue to provide our free services to the public, which includes community education, counselling services (for survivors, witnesses or bereaved families), Canterbury Road Trauma Awards and the Road Accident Remembrance Day™.

The Road Accident Remembrance Day™ includes the families of those who passed away on the roads in Canterbury over the past year. To date the Trust has worked with over 138 families. Families have travelled as far as from Australia and across New Zealand for the event.

Partners of the RARD™ include the Police, Fire and Emergency, Order of St John, New Zealand Transport Agency, Canterbury West Coast Air Rescue Trust, Canterbury District Health Board and Canterbury Charity Hospital Trust


We’re putting the word out to our networks here at G&A to help RTAT with the hunt for potential sponsors for RTAT’s Road Accident Remembrance Day, which is happening on Saturday 3rd November, 2018 in North Hagley Park.


The Road Traffic Accident Trauma Charitable Trust is not Government funded and sponsorship is vital to cover its operational expenses for the Road Accident Remembrance Day.

Sponsors of Road Accident Remembrance Day attain many benefits from their investment:

  • Increased brand awareness, product placement and endorsement opportunities of such a charity and event.
  • Contact with hard to reach consumers at the event this includes notable and distinguished attendees.
  • Strong advertising reach (independent academic research has determined advertising return of investment of approximately $120,000).
  • An opportunity for your organisation to demonstrate industry specific corporate responsibility.

Collectively as a community we can all make a difference.


Media Coverage

View Sponsorship Proposal and Packages +


Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us here at G&A if you’re interested to learn more about the Road Traffic Accident Trauma Charitable Trust, or how you or your business may be able to help with the  Road Accident Remembrance Day™



Young People are Taking Over

Young People are Taking Over

By Mandy Nelson of G&A Creative Agency

g&a the giveback agency christchurch

(Photo by George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images)


I’ve heard it said that it is not until policemen start to appear incredibly young can you consider yourself grown-up. But what does it mean when not only the boys in blue but also the seats of power start to look like kids? Look at Emmanuel Macron and Justin Trudeau. (I know I did. Several times.) Look at our own Jacinda Ardern. Hell, look at Kim Jong Un. In spite of that last one, I have a gut feeling that things are probably unfolding exactly as they should.

I’ve accumulated a modicum of wisdom and a few battle scars over the years. I’m still not always entirely clear where I am but I’m pretty sure I have arrived somewhere. I was looking for a goalpost, finishing line, prize, or a sign of sorts – and I am confident a numb bum from sitting in an office chair for 33 years is that sign. I have happily dialled down pressure to ‘acquire’ because I actually have enough stuff to last me the rest of my life. Anyone want a couple of office chairs surplus to needs? I now feel lighter and simply want to ‘do’ and ‘be’ more, not ‘buy’ and ‘own’ more. I’ll never be wealthy or powerful like Kim Jong Un, but I am staring down a kaleidoscope of options, ready to build new purpose, exploit a rare opportunity to learn something just for fun, and generally shake the shit out of some unexpected adventures in far-off places. This is a sparky place full of energy: possibly a launch-pad and maybe even a black hole. I can see the entrance – but not the exit.


G&A the giveback agency christchurch

After 33 years in business (Is there a Christchurch advertising, design or marketing agency that has operated for longer under one ownership?), we, that’s Mandy and Grant, are passing the reins over to Emma Cameron.


G&A young people are taking over emma cameron grant nelson mandy nelson christchurch agency


Let’s acknowledge it: she’s been doing the hard graft behind much of the creative and all of the design and artwork here at G&A for a while now. And to mark the agency’s new driver and change of direction, there’s a new brand. Of course there is a new brand! G&A Creative Agency will henceforth be known as the Giveback Agency, still G&A to our friends. Grant and Mandy will continue to work on marketing and creative strategy for clients, fronting major projects and bringing in new business. But with the call to manage a couple of marketing projects in Australia in 2018, we’ll be doing much of that from a greater distance.

A digital native, Emma has already brought high energy, experience in running social media campaigns and her youthful outlook to G&A over the past few years. Now she’s going to push out G&A’s horizons towards new industry sectors and delve deeper into better ways of getting all clients a return on their investment through exposure online and over social media, alongside traditional marketing, branding and advertising strategies.

G&A the giveback agency christchurch


Watch out for G&A’s developing emphasis on social conscience marketing, because we believe there are better ways of doing business in the 21st century. Good people demand accountability and lead by example, right? Social conscience marketing is where promotions not only expose your own brand but also help a cause, community group or charity. Check out the new G&A website for more detail on all that.

You reap what you sow in life. There can be no better season than Christmas to generally infect as many people as possible with the giving bug and offer Emma our full support.


Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from us all at G&A – the Giveback Agency.


G&A christmas



It will be business as usual at the new Giveback Agency (G&A) for all existing clients. Emma will be the primary contact from Monday 18th of December through the comfortingly familiar email addresses and phone number. We’ll all have some quiet time from December 22nd and reopen after the Christmas break on January 8th, 2018.







Add a Monkey.

Add a Monkey.

By Mandy Nelson

monkey chimp mailchimp christmas


We’ve racked up another working year and will complete the Year of the Monkey early in 2017. The year 2016 has, I think, gone a bit tits-up. It feels like a Quentin Tarantino-directed movie, what with the Syrian situation, Brexit, Donald Trump, earthquakes, storms, floods and the deaths of musicians who basically held the fabric of the whole universe together. The onus is on me to give it a happy ending by writing a festive Christmas Chimp, surely the appropriate way to communicate in the Year of the Monkey.

That got me wondering why MailChimp is called what it is – because, well, that is how my mind works. I bow to Google, as you do, for the answer to all stupendously trivial questions. I would have been more surprised not to find it. Turns out some dude named Ben Chestnut working for a web development company called Rocket Science cobbled together some leftover scrap code and developed MailChimp in 2007. He said: “We had this philosophy when it came to our web design projects: ‘If all else fails, add a monkey. Clients love monkeys.’ So we called it ChimpMail. Then we learned the domain was taken. So we called it MailChimp.” At this point I developed a strong urge to tell Ben that a chimp is actually a great ape, not a monkey, but I couldn’t find his email address.


mailchimp monkey christmas


MailChimp has a mascot named Frederick von Chimpenheimer IV, or Freddie for short. Ben Chestnut reveals “We really didn’t spend that much time fostering his image or brand or anything. It was our customers and employees who brought him to life and gave him his personality.” I really like this comment because it shows a deep understanding of branding and marketing by that old Chestnut, Ben. He clearly gets that customers actually own the brand, and that brand development is a somewhat interactive process. I’m starting to feel Ben and I are on common ground.

I decide I have nothing against monkeys. Or apes. In fact, my birth year in the Chinese zodiac is the year of the monkey. I ponder whether Ben might also be a zodiac monkey in which case he will supposedly be witty and intelligent with a magnetic personality and is a teeny bit naughty. Monkeys are fast learners and crafty opportunists. Add ambitious and irritable to those traits if you are a fire monkey like me. I now want to fully embrace Ben’s philosophy of ‘add a monkey’ as a mantra for all aspects of my life.


mailchimp monkey christmas


I’m on a roll. I search for munky next and discover American musician James Christian Shaffer, better known by his stage name ‘Munky’, co-founder and guitarist of the nu metal band Korn. His nickname ‘Munky’ is a reference to his feet which resemble monkey’s hands when spread. I think I love him.



So, more is better, right? I search deep and dark, and meet munkey, a sub-species of the human race developed by modern governments to ensure production. These beings demonstrate agression and racism, and political and religious extremism, but make up for their shortcomings by paying taxes. Munkeys see evil, hear evil and speak evil. Munkey seems like the personification of 2016 but I can’t see how he adds anything to Christmas cheer. I uninvite munkey to all seasonal jollification but file him in a secure, dank, mental vault for future reference.


chimp monkey christmas


We don’t get a lot of monkeys or great apes in New Zealand outside of zoos, but rare Monkees Mickey Dolenz and Peter Tork actually snuck into our country late in November without me noticing, and performed only metres from where I work. They probably even walked down my street. In the spirit of the season, I Googled them too, to see if they have a Christmas song and it turns out they do. Yay!  It’s an ancient carol in Spanish and it’s completely charming.


Merry Christmas
from G&A Creative Agency!

With Monkees.


The Annual Slide – Christmas!

The Annual Slide – Christmas!

By Mandy Nelson

Those last few days of work before the much-anticipated annual break in routine are upon us and we are sliding into Christmas here at G&A. We are a little unsure whether that’s uphill or downhill – but it’s definitely a slide. There are work deadlines to meet, there is seasonal emotional labour and, on top of all that, serial socialising is swamping the calendar – which can be translated as ‘there is wine crying out to be drunk’.

It’s that week in the year when the least-organised of you might find yourselves not only hung over but also pressured to finish up all sorts of projects. Good luck with that. Avoid losing the plot by following our advice! It’s taken us more than two decades to work out our priorities, but we think we now have it sussed. Folks, this is what we do and don’t do to melt into Christmas appearing cool, calm and collected.

christmas g&a creative agency christchurch

Even the eyeballs are sliding

1)   Deadlines.
If you rank these quite highly on the short-term priority list, you get to come back to a job or a business in the new year. We say gird the loins and deal with or delegate your deadlines. Chores like doing laundry, buying socks and cooking can go by the wayside to ensure you fit work deadlines in. Why cook when personal research confirms you can successfully survive on free canapés over this season for at least four days in a row, supplemented only by strong coffee. And wine, of course. As for the laundry and socks, remember it’s supposed to be summer. Wear sandals. Work might just be who you really are – so get your deadlines sorted.

2)   Revisiting the liquor store.
The wealthy among you can skip this because you can afford to catch up at any classy little bar at a moment’s notice and fork out for the more expensive way of getting a Christmas buzz on. No prep needed. The rest of you need to programme yourselves to pass the grog shop on autopilot every time you leave the house, and return with a bottle or two. That way you are always ready to receive friends, family and freeloaders. Don’t worry. You’ll get them back by dropping in unannounced any time over the holidays. It’s what Kiwis do.

3)   Buying great stuff for your kids, and socks.
Babies and toddlers know nothing of Christmas so they are really cheap. Forget about them altogether. They’ll happily play with the wrapping paper from someone else’s gift anyway. Order something online that gets delivered to your office for your significant other and the older kids in your life. And for Grandma, because she is statistically likely to be a widow and no other bugger will remember. Everyone else gets socks.

4)   Hosting Christmas Dinner.
Oh, you have aged parents still alive who now expect you to take on this role? You poor thing. Double-check their capabilities. Any parents still coupled, under the age of 85 and not actually in a wheelchair, have a moral and cultural obligation to feed you and your kids on Christmas Day. What else have they got to do? If desperate, book Christmas dinner at a hotel and take them too. They might even offer to pay.

5)   Keeping pot plants alive.
Look here, you can order these from Amazon and use up all those empty wine bottles to water your plants: http://www.amazon.com/Plant-Nanny-6051-Count-Bottle/dp/B00BQTOBHM

Christmas g&A creative agency christchurch

Red and white are Christmas colours

If you are on a budget, create little water reservoirs with used two-litre plastic soda bottles. Cut them off at the base and pierce small holes in the cap. Bury them cap down to about a third of their length beside your plants without disturbing the roots too much, fill them with water and they’ll stay moist for at least a week. (Pause here briefly to reflect on what a truly awesome word ‘moist’ is.) Move the containers into the shade too. These bottles won’t fit in smaller containers so you’ll need to set up a wicking system for baby plants. We’ve Googled that for you, right here: http://makezine.com/2009/07/17/how_to_create_a_simple_housepl/

Follow these simple priorities and, like us, you are good to go. May your holiday break be completely fabulous and your return to routine next year be greeted by the lushest of verdant pot plants and a clean calendar.