50 Wellington locations were captured in four days of shooting for Positively Wellington Tourism’s new commercial, which follows a young couple on a whirlwind tour around the capital. And it has even the most hardcore Wellingtonians watching again to try and pinpoint every location in the clip.
Positively Wellington Tourism chief executive David Perks says footage for the campaign, which was conceived by Assignment and shot over the World of Wearable Arts weekend, totalled about 24 hours, making boiling it down to 60 seconds a feat.
He says the campaign is targeted at increasing the growth of domestic visitors to Wellington, and targets their core audience: couples from other parts of New Zealand.
“There are all sorts of experiences that appeal to all sorts of people, but we did research prior and even if visitors are not coming as a couple, they’re often making a decision as a couple,” he says.
The campaign carries the tagline 'It’s never just a weekend in Wellington' and is designed to showcase the compact, walkable capital and some of its interesting features and characters.
Director Rob Sarkies (Out of the Blue, Two Little Boys, Consent) from Capital City Films was tasked with capturing this intensity of experience.
“I wanted it to be full of captured moments, and not feel slick or contrived. To this end we shot in a loose handheld style and I gave my cast a lot of freedom to play,” he says.
Staying true to Wellington, Positively Wellington Tourism commissioned a local indie pop band The Eversons to write an upbeat track for the commercial.
The campaign launched on social media on 10 October and is being pushed out to TV, cinema and digital channels.
Perks says feedback has been almost exclusively positive so far with Wellington CBD businesses, many of which helped fund the ad, crucially giving their nod of approval.
“We’re funded through a down-town levy rate on businesses in the CBD, and those businesses have given a big thumbs up for the ad which is essentially funded by them, and they’re thinking it’s going to do good things for their businesses.”
Plenty of Kiwis are getting warm fuzzies for the city on Facebook. But some Wellingtonians felt the ad was not location-specific enough. Ocean Design's director Blair Mainwaring was one who weighed in, saying: "It's beautifully shot but really? Where's the idea? I'd ask this. If it didn't come from Wellington Tourism, could it be used as a promotion for any city? I'm not sure it couldn't. Our city is all about substance over style. Sadly this is the opposite IMHO."
One of its recent promotional efforts, which aimed to deal with some lingering misperceptions in the Aussie market with the help of The Voice host Darren McMullan, was also quite polarising. However, Perks says he thinks they did a good job of tackling the commercial and making it uniquely Wellington.
“If you take any three or four seconds of it that might be the case but I think when you put it all together it’s very Wellington. One of the challenges of marketing any destination is trying to make it different from other destinations, and I think that all the different scenes shown in the video make a unique ad."
Perks says spending by domestic visitors in Wellington city has risen 24 percent over the last five years to $957 million.
“New Zealanders make over 3.4 million visits to Wellington every year and are such an important part of our capital’s culture and economy.”
The company has had success on the back of the Spoil Yourself in Wellington campaign, and also from being named Lonely Planet’s Coolest Little Capital and the fourth top city in the world to visit in 2011.
“That was a real step up for the city being ranked as an urban destination alongside New York and Tangier [Morocco], and making the most of that,” Perks says.
In the future, Positively Wellington Tourism will be looking at how to take the campaign to Australia, which is a growing source of visitors.
Direct Australian arrivals to Wellington Airport were 186,336 in the 12 months to April 2014, an increase of 4.2 percent vs YE April 2013 and it's been steadily increasing in recent years (with a big increase for the Rugby World Cup).
PWT brand manager: Angela Moriarty
PWT NZ campaign manager: Wendy Brehaut
Capital city films
Director: Robert Sarkies
Producer: Julie Elstone
DOP: Andrew Stroud
Editor: Paul Maxwell
Post production: Creature
Creative director: Josh Lancaster
Creative director: Jamie Hitchcock
Producer: Juliet Dreaver
Client service - Jane Manthel / Martin Yeoman
Song – The Eversons / Mark David Turner