More than a pokie chamber: Skycity lets staff tell its story via Colenso campaign

  • Advertising
  • February 3, 2015
  • Holly Bagge
More than a pokie chamber: Skycity lets staff tell its story via Colenso campaign

Skycity has launched its first new campaign since selecting Colenso BBDO as its creative agency in August last year. Dubbed 'It All Starts Here' and brought to life by the production team at Finch, the new campaign lets staff members tell their stories from behind the walls of the casinos, hotels and restaurants that make up the company. 

For the most part, this is an attempt by Skycity to reposition itself as an organisation that builds community connections, rather than one that harms New Zealand through its pokies.

The campaign’s deputy creative director Mick Stalker says that having spent time casting and filming with Skycity’s staff, it became very clear they were proud of their roles within the company and of the work that Skycity does within its communities.

“Our job quickly became one of preserving their words rather than putting words in their mouths so we set about interviewing everyone we could. We spent days in the studio chatting to people from all over the business and the result was exactly what it needed to be. We presented the facts about Skycity from the words of those who know it best – the employees - in a genuine and authentic way.”

Skycity chief executive Nigel Morrison says he’s proud of Skycity’s contribution to the community and believes the ads provide a broader perspective of the company’s role:

“When most people think of Skycity they often only think about a casino. This campaign allows us to inform people that we are much more than that – our reach is far and wide, including employing nearly 4000 staff across New Zealand, purchasing from local suppliers, supporting charities, sponsoring leading New Zealand sports teams, developing world-class restaurants, as well as being a fantastic place to go out at night.”

Although this is Colenso's first new campaign for Skycity, it's by no means the first. The company has a long history with the agency, having worked with it for about ten years before Whybin/TBWA won the account in 2007. However, eventually to save money, Skycity opted for an in-house creative studio in 2010 with Tracey Fox and Ron Fielding moving across from Whybin/TBWA to help set up. Fox left about two years ago to take up a role at TRN, eventually being replaced by Rob Jenkinson.  

Colenso BBDO also runs the ATEED and Heart of the City accounts, so it makes sense for one agency to be controlling the image of Auckland. 

Before this initiative Skycity made other attempts to enhance the city by helping to spruce up the Federal St precinct with new restaurants from Al Brown, Nick Watt, Nick Gordon and Sean Connolly.

In 2012, the government announced new legislation that meant Skycity would invest $402 million to design, build, own and operate the New Zealand International Convention Centre in exchange for an extension of its license to 2048 and an increase in gaming product and other gaming concessions.

In a classic Christmas dump, it announced the cost of the convention centre had jumped by up to $130 million and it was looking for ways to address the shortfall. 

According to the Herald, Skycity Entertainment Group "made revenue of $465.1 million (down 4.6 percent on the previous corresponding period) and normalised net profit of $66.4 million in the six months to December 31, 2013." That was down 11 percent from the previous year.

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