In yet another example of using consumers to come up with the marketing material, Apex Car Rentals has opened the door for the public to suggest the direction of the next instalment of its recent "hugely popular" television commercial, which was made by Christchurch ad agency Strategy and directed by Gregor Nicholas of Flying Fish.
In the tradition of fan fiction made famous by fans of Star Trek and Xena, but on a much smaller scale, fans of Apex’s 'Kiwi Reconnection' television ad are free to read into the storyline and suggest what the heroine does next (add a StopPress-style suggestion to the comment wall and I'm sure we can find some beer to send for the most entertaining effort).
Youtube VideoIn the commercial we see the protagonist, "a rather beautiful but severely dressed young woman" working in Tokyo, return to New Zealand, rent a vehicle from Apex, drive to see some old friends, get a bit of rural action, splash about in her undies and eat some fush n chups at the beach before making a phone call to Apex to say she’ll “need the car for a little longer”.
Apex marketing director Ricki Shaw says in the first few days he has already received 50 or 60 storyline suggestions for the follow up.
“We’re pretty happy with that,” he says. “People are coming from all directions. Some people want her to travel around New Zealand and some have taken an interest in the subplots like the guy at the pub. I’m positive there will be some sparks of genius amongst the comments that will create the kernel that will lead to what we do next."
The commercial’s soundtrack, sung by Kiwi vocalist Taisha, has also received a lot of positive feedback.
“We’ve been talking with Taisha about releasing it commercially,” Shaw says (although presumably they would also have to first talk to the original composers Breaks Co-op).
Since its television debut in October Shaw says the commercial has been seen by 89 percent of its target demographic and has been viewed over 4,000 times on YouTube. Shaw says the ad is receiving 500 new YouTube views every day.
In response to its popularity, Apex has completely re-designed its YouTube channel to make it easier for users to engage with its brand, click through to its website, and make storyline suggestions.
Shaw says there’s no set quota for how many more follow-ups there will be.
“It’s very much a matter of gauging the interest and whether or not the public want to see more,” he says.