The Red Bull Stratos campaign, which saw madman Felix Baumgartner jump from a capsule approximately 39 kilometres above Earth, was one of the most watched brand-sponsored events in history. And Lion and DDB are attempting to do something similar, with a new campaign for Steinlager Pure that aims to drum up interest in Kiwi free diver William Trubridge and the upcoming effort to break his own world record of 101m.
Since its launch in 2007, Steinlager Pure has moved from favouring overseas endorsements from the likes of Harvey Keitel, Willem Dafoe and Vincent Gallo to a more celebratory Kiwi-centric approach, with Taika Waititi putting his comedic and directorial skills to good use in 2012. That philosophy has continued with Steinlager's sponsorship of Trubridge, a 15 time world record holder based in the Bahamas.
"It's probably a step on from Taika," says Steinlager's senior brand manager Michael Taylor. "It's more than just having him talking about what we've done. It's about showing someone achieving on the world stage. It's also a lot more now than what we've done in the past."
Steinlager has been involved with the All Blacks since 1986, and, given the important place rugby holds in this country, it's not surprising that the team's remarkable achievements have been well-covered. But free diving is decidedly niche and Taylor says one of the reasons Steinlager signed Trubridge up is because it doesn't seem right that he isn't a household name in his own country given his own remarkable achievements. The moody TV and cinema ads, which feature a tagline of 'Born to Defy' and were shot at Dean's Blue Hole by Adam Stevens of Robber's Dog (extra points to DDB's creatives for selling an idea that needed to be filmed in a beautiful tropical location), will presumably go some way to changing that.
"It's been great to share a new story that not many people have heard, rather than just digging up an old story. And Kiwis love to see one of their own doing well."
Another objective of the campaign is to draw attention toTrubridge's world record attempt later this year and Taylor says adding in an experiential element to the campaign was something it knew it needed to do.
"Having a good 60 second ad and some outdoor ads isn't really enough to engage with consumers these days. So I think having the event live definitely makes this campaign more compelling."
He says it hopes to find a major broadcast partner to show the event live, as well as showing it online. And DDB chief executive Justin Mowday is confident it can stop the nation in its tracks to watch the attempt, a la The America's Cup.
Just like Red Bull's stunt, live events carry with them more risk, as there's every chance he won't break the record and, with around 40 people dying each year from free diving accidents, it's bloody dangerous. But it might also mean more reward.
Taylor says it will drum up interest in the attempt with a series of 102m billboards to give Kiwis some perspective on how deep Trubridge will go, which will be a good challenge for media agency ZenithOptimedia. And the creatives have plenty of other ideas on how to bring it to life, Taylor says, with one potential idea to have a 102m digital screen that can show his world record attempt in public. There is also plenty of in-bar activation.
Some might question whether an amazing physical specimen like Trubridge, who can hold his breath for around seven and a half minutes (the average is one), would even be allowed a beer. But Taylor says there is some symmetry between the purity of the sport and the purity of Steinlager Pure.
“We’re excited to get behind Will as he continually trains and challenges himself in his sport," says Taylor. "He’s an amazing New Zealander doing outstanding things on a world stage – he epitomises the indomitable Kiwi spirit, and we are excited about giving William the recognition he deserves by encouraging the support of the nation ... The way William describes his sport underlines the parallels in his pursuit for purity with our own Steinlager Pure. No unnecessary ingredients, just absolute simplicity at its best, from the world’s purest place."
One potential spanner in the works of this campaign was the fact that Trubridge was recently involved in Heineken's Legendary Posters campaign. Taylor says it talked to him about his involvement with the brand, but it was a one-off charity stunt involving more than 40 legends from around the world and he is thought to have more of a connection to the initiative's beneficiary, Reporters Without Borders.
Taylor says the popular premium category, which Steinlager fits into, is "looking reasonably stable" at the moment. But Steinlager as a trademark, which includes Pure, Classic and Premium Light (it removed its Steinlager Edge product last year), has grown and is the most valuable trademark in the country (Lion's Speights is thought to be the biggest by volume).
Executive Creative Director – Shane Bradnick
Creative Director – Chris Schofield
Copywriter — Guy Denniston
Senior Art Director – James Conner
Senior Copy Writer – Christie Cooper
Group Account Director – Scott Wallace
Senior Account Manager – Jonathan Rea
Head of Planning – Lucinda Sherborne
Planning Director – Rupert Price
Agency Executive Producer – Judy Thompson
Agency Producer – Rosie Grayson
Marketing Director – Craig Badlie
Category Director – Ben Wheeler
Senior Brand Manager – Michael Taylor
Assistant Brand Manager - Alison Futcher
Production Company: ROBBER’S DOG
EP: Mark Foster
Director: Adam Stevens
Producer: Helen Hendry
DOP: Pete Zuccarini
Post Production: BLOCKHEAD
Editor: Tim Mauger
Colourist: Vincent Taylor
Online: Stefan Coory
Composer: Cam Ballantyne
Sound Mix: Jon Cooper