The Westpac rescue helicopters have saved thousands of lives in New Zealand. But saving those lives doesn't come cheap (in fact, it costs around $4 million a year to fund a three-crew 24/7 immediate-response team). And despite the ongoing support of principal sponsor Westpac and other partners, the assistance of the public is also crucial to help keep them flying, so this year's fundraising campaign by .99 aims to remind Kiwis that every donation is valuable regardless of its size, just like the equipment inside each helicopter.
Youtube VideoThe campaign features a series of TV spots about cheap but life-saving things like bolts, tape, scissors and sheets that were made by the downlowconcept, plus outdoor, online (including an interactive banner and a rescue map on the website that asks those who have been rescued to share their story) and other activity.
A .99 release says the campaign is already on track to exceed this year’s fundraising goal but neither Westpac or .99 would discuss specifics (according to a release on the Westpac website, a record $1,656,858 was raised last year around the country after a very personal campaign about someone who was saved and, according to the Herald, a record was also set last year for the Auckland region with $451,596).
Westpac funds the marketing and administration costs of the appeal so all the money raised goes straight to the choppers. And within Westpac, fundraising for the appeal is a major undertaking, involving all 5,500 staff across New Zealand. It is also a huge point of pride within the bank, giving its people an opportunity to give something back to the communities they live and work in.
"The Rescue Choppers are a crucial service for adventurous Kiwis, and we’re so proud to be able to be a part of keeping them in the air," says Martine Jager, general manager of marketing at Westpac. “We believe this new approach to our annual appeal freshens up our sponsorship, and we hope Kiwis get behind it, because, as the campaign says, every little bit really does help."
In its 40-ish years of service, the Westpac rescue helicopter in Auckland has flown about 15,000 missions and now flies more than 550 a year.
To see more of the 2012 Westpac Chopper Appeal or to donate, visit www.chopperappeal.co.nz.