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Idealog—in the ideas business

Air NZ spreads the Kiwi gospel to Aussie sceptics

Kiwis, thanks to an unusual combination of immense pride and nagging self-doubt, like to be liked (“How are you enjoying your trip? Are you enjoying your trip? You’re enjoying your trip, aren’t you?”).

But just as Aucklanders have certain preconceptions of, say, Invercargill, many Australians couldn’t think of anything worse than visiting their Tasman neighbours.

So as part of a campaign launching this week  in Australia, Air New Zealand and its Aussie agency Host Sydney attempted to show a bunch of ‘Kiwi Sceptics’ what they were missing out on by tricking them into a trip to the other lucky country. The campaign, the airline’s biggest in the Australian market in the last10  years, takes the form of an online reality show that’s narrated in quintessentially quirky and very funny style by the new master of awkward Kiwi humour, Rhys Darby (“two fingers Burgandy, two fingers”).

Each six-minute episode documents the journey of Air New Zealand’s efforts to convert four Aussies: The Hipster (“New Zealand is nothing but sheep and Hobbits, why bother going?”), Bali Girl (“New Zealand is filled with sheep and old people”), Aussie-Aussie (“New Zealand is a reserve grade Australia”) and The Europhile (“New Zealand lacks culture”) – from rejecters into advocates in order to drive the destination up Aussie’s travel wish-list.

All of them were initially told they were travelling to other far-flung destinations to get them on the plane, but then not so pleasantly surprised with the news that they were in fact going to New Zealand. They were then paired up with compatible Kiwi guides and, hey presto, in classic reality show style, their minds are blown – and possibly changed forever – by the end of the trips.

Of course, there’s an element of truth to some of their ingrained beliefs, but all those proud/doubting Kiwis out there will be pleased to know the four films, which were made by Aussie production house Jamboree, show the country off in a great light (aside from the weather). And the guides – Matua Parkinson, Isaac Hindon Miller, Aroha Harawira and Dr Lyndon Fraser – all come across well too.

Kelly Millier, marketing manager for Air New Zealand Australia, says it’s in keeping with the fairly ballsy approach the airline is renowned for and is unique because it confronts the barriers to entry head-on in a very engaging style. And for her and the Aussie team, it’s also nice to get the chance to do some video content.

The development of the campaign was driven from TNS segmentation insights that revealed while there are 5.3 million Aussies who seriously consider New Zealand as a destination, only one in five of these people actually make it across the ditch each year.

“At Air New Zealand we know New Zealand is one of the best places on Earth, but for one reason or another, there are many Aussies who don’t see the same fresh and progressive side of New Zealand that we do,” says Millier.

“We figured if we could change the minds of those most sceptical, we should be able to convince those who are sitting on the fence.”

The campaign will be supported with online and print advertising, editorial, advertorial, cinema and social activity. And kiwisceptics.com will be housed within the ninemsn site, enabling Air New Zealand to distribute content and provide channels to offer fares, deals and promotions.

This story originally appeared on StopPress.


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