Amid the new agency chatter, ANZ launches massive Rugby World Cup campaign—UPDATED

As the industry worked itself into a gibbering mass of excitement after it was announced late last week that the ANZ account had shifted to TBWA\, ANZ, DDB and Ogilvy Media were getting ready to launch their ‘Welcome the World’ promotion as part of the bank’s Rugby World Cup sponsorship. And with a big TV blockout on Sunday, a flash mob-esque stunt to welcome commuters in Auckland and Wellington this morning and plenty more media activity planned to ramp up interest in the competition, it’s set to be the bank’s biggest promotion yet—and quite possibly the biggest of the tournament. 

ANZ is giving away $25,000 and four tickets to the RWC 2011 final to the person who comes up with the best idea on how to welcome the expected 85,000 international visitors set to venture to New Zealand in September. And, in a similar fashion to DDB and Cadbury’s ‘Share the Joy’ campaign over the summer, which included a giant snow globe in Auckland and a giant sprinkler touring the country’s beachy hotspots, the winning idea will also be recreated in real life, with the winner leading the project.

Youtube Video

Youtube Video

As ANZ’s official media partners, Ogilvy’s goal was to bring the campaign to life and direct people to the website, where they can enter as many welcome ideas as they like, and the big splash came last night when the new ANZ TVCs were broadcast on ten channels at 6.10pm. That was followed up this morning when commuters in Auckland and Wellington were greeted by a group of balloon-carrying, sign-waving enthusiasts who handed out branded sweets and, as we’ve now come to expect, were featured on Breakfast‘s weather report.

In addition to this, there was also “all ears” radio DJ spots on 16 different radio stations at 7.57 am this morning; on-site radio activity from More FM and Classic Hits continues at 18 ANZ branches today and tomorrow; there will be “Welcome to the World” branded ATM screens and in-branch digital screens and posters, as well as plenty of outdoor, online (including home page takeovers on Stuff, NZ Herald, MSN and Yahoo) and social media presence.

So far, there hasn’t actually been too much in the way of overt mainstream promotional activity from any of the official sponsors (Toshiba, DHL, Emirates, MasterCard, Brancott Estate/Montana, Heineken, Landrover), so ANZ seems to have got in there first with a big one to leverage a sponsorship deal that Sportspromedia.com estimated might have cost around US$4.5 million.

Of course, speculation—and evidence—continues to mount that National Bank is about to get the boot, and the scale of this campaign shows that ANZ is definitely going to be the most visible banking brand in the lead up to the tournament. Of course, banks basically all sell the same stuff (aside from a few attention-grabbing devices on the fringes), so success basically comes down to how much more customers like one brand over the other. ANZ has fairly low numbers in this regard, but taking this patriotic, fun-loving approach seems like a smart way to try and improve them. And if the All Blacks win, rest assured it will be basking in their reflected glow.

UPDATE: DDB’s managing director Justin Mowday says the target was to get 500 entries over the competition’s duration (6 May is the cut-off date). But just one and a bit days after launch and it’s already smoked that figure, with 606 entries received as of this afternoon.

When ANZ came to DDB and said it was going to sponsor the Rugby World Cup (the sponsorship is being run by the NZ team, not the Aussie overlords) it wanted the major promotion to involve and engage the New Zealand public, so a competition that asked Kiwis to think up creative ways to welcome the visitors to our backyard was suggested.

He had no comment to make about the possible folding of the National Bank into ANZ and whether this massive, feel-good, patriotic competition was an effort to improve ANZ’s fortunes before the switch. But he did say the sponsorship shows “how much of a commitment ANZ has made to New Zealand”.

“This is a big deal. They’ve put up a significant budget for this. There’s a genuine desire for ANZ to connect with New Zealanders. And we’re going to spend a significant budget in bringing this idea to life.”

As well as the cash and tickets on offer, the prize also promises to recreate the idea in real life. Mowday sees the similarities with Cadbury’s ‘Share the Joy’ campaign, which he says the agency “absolutely nailed”, and this strength in experiential and events-based brand experiences is informing quite a lot of its advertising at the moment, he says.

“There’s a general trend in advertising to create the most memorable brand experiences you can. Sometimes it’s a TVC, sometimes it’s digital, sometimes it’s experiential. But we’re the only agency in the country with an experiential creative director [Steve Kane, who’s also part of the judging panel for the competition] and that’s very valuable.”



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