Twelve days, three countries, several stomach bugs, one sand-burned foot, sweaty pits and an encounter with Indian riot police aren't events you'd usually associate with a TVC about New Zealand's dairy industry. But the new spot for Dairy NZ, which chronicles the epic journey of an agrarian Kiwi warrior riding his trusty steed around the world, included all these things. And plenty more by the sounds of it.
Given the comical, heart-warming jingoism on display in the ad, it's not too surprising to find that it's the work of the Naked/Josh & Jamie (before they became part of Assignment Group) juggernaut. And it was directed by Mike Oldershaw and produced by Johnny Blick from Automatic Films, the same chaps responsible for Fisher & Paykel's 'missing socks' TVCs.
DairyNZ is the 'industry good organisation' and, as part of its efforts "to secure and enhance the profitability, sustainability and competitiveness of New Zealand dairy farming", the seven strong crew ventured to the US, Dubai and India to film the ad. And, apparently, they did it all on the smell of the proverbial oily rag.
The main protagonist (Simon Ferry) dons his blue overalls, hops on his four wheeler and learns that, although New Zealand may not lead the world when it comes to land, money, tractor size, humans or even the number of cows, our dairy industry is on top of the world, "exporting to over 140 countries, feeding over 100 million people and accounting for a third of the world’s dairy trade".
“We would travel for three days to have the actor say one line,” Oldershaw says. “It was quite bizarre.”
Some days were more bizarre than others, however. In India, despite having permission to erect scaffolding for a marketplace set-up, riot police turned up to hassle the crew.
“They were literally pulling us off the scaffolding. We had permission to be there but that only satisfied the first lot of police that showed up,”he says. “We had to pack and go without getting our close-up.”
Dairy NZ's campaign, which is on a similar tip to the Silver Fern farms ad from last year, launched on Sunday night, as did another Naked/Josh & Jamie creation for SBS that was directed by Chris Dudman from Robber's Dog. Given StopPress spent its formative years in Invercargill, the memories of a Dad who knows everyone in town came flooding back.