Why Tourism NZ handed its brand to creatives

Rachael Micallef
By Rachael Micallef | 26 November 2015

Tourism New Zealand has relinquished creative control of its latest campaign to three creatives in a content series which breaks the tourism category norm and aims to show the uniqueness of Wellington culture.

The content series campaign is a joint venture with Positively Wellington Tourism and Destination Marlborough and was created by Whybin\TBWA Sydney.

It films three Australians who had never been to Wellington – Messina founder Nick Palumbo, Langford Guitars' Thomas Langford and fashion design duo We Are Handsome – visiting the region, and crafting a product based on things that inspire them.

Whybin\TBWA Sydney creative director Craig Brooks said the result is a campaign that shakes up traditional tourism marketing.

“It's not a typical tourism campaign, because so much that goes on in Welly goes on behind closed doors,” Brooks said.

“Normally we'd film some amazing landscapes and put some epic music to it, but Wellington has such a different kind of energy to it that we wanted to approach it kind of differently.

“We didn't want a bunch of films that tried to live up to that infectious energy; we wanted to make sure that we had some actual tangible products that Australians could sample.”

As part of the campaign, Palumbo released a Wellington inspired Messina ice cream flavour, Langford built a guitar which he gave to Australian singer Julia Stone, and We Are Handsome designed a scarf as part of their 2015/2016 collection.

Brooks said the campaign wanted to showcase how a trip can influence a product, but it meant that the agency – and Tourism New Zealand – had to give up control.

“It's a frightening thing to go into a project and not have control of the creative,” Brooks said. “We're really putting this in the hands of people outside of the ad world, so there is a bit of fear going into it. But it's amazing to see what these guys have taken from their travels.”

The campaign ties into Tourism New Zealand's brand platform of 100% Pure New Zealand, which has been a consistent tagline for the brand since 1999, and first coined by M&C Saatchi.

Brooks said the benefit of having a brand with a deeply-rooted platform is it allows agencies to go more granular in its ads.

“What is really nice about 100% Pure New Zealand is it has familiarity in there,” Brooks said. “Now that Australians are familiar with New Zealand as a tourism destination, we can start to get more granular and talk about smaller experiences you can have, rather than the country as a whole.”

“Tourism has a really good set of fans on Facebook, and that's also the space where our creators are playing, so we wanted to do it duality.

“Traditional press and outdoor are great from a big brand perspective, but when you get into the granular, it's good to have a target approach.”

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