Last year, after six years in second place, BMW knocked Audi off its perch and reclaimed the top selling premium car mantle in the New Zealand market. But Audi isn't far behind, it's still growing and it's decided to tap into the nation's patriotic fervour with one of the German brand's first locally shot campaigns.
In quintessential automobile advertising fashion, 'Land of plenty. Land of Quattro', which was created by bcg2 and shot by bcg2’s chief executive and creative director James Blackwood, Lee Howell and Simon Waterhouse, features a range of Audi machines going for a hoon in a number of stunning Kiwi locations. Land of Quattro is a global platform that started in Russia last year and it has stuck to a fairly templated approach for its ads in other markets, with similar and often shared material being used.
Head of marketing Fiona Woolley says Audi is not renowned for its chest beating. Neither is New Zealand, but as Kiwis are quite fond of their country, it decided to "lose the cheese" of the voiceovers and create a bespoke local production that was more likely to resonate (in saying that, Audi Austria does have a slow-motion shot of an eagle taking off and the local ad also features a harrier). Audi Australia has followed this formula for its Land of Quattro TVC, but it's also added a unique touch, with hacked quad-copters filming cars from above and a website component that lets consumers make their own TV ad.
It's good to see some more recognition of the importance of localised advertising in this sector, something TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards supreme winner VW can attribute much of its recent success in this market to. Consumers aren't stupid. And they know when an ad is cobbled together from international material (here's an entertaining post about Mazda's horrible new global ad). And while Woolley says it will continue to use international material for some campaigns, it does try to keep things local when it can.
Blackwood says a team went on a six day shoot in the North and South Islands to recreate the classic Kiwi road-trip. And he then called on Los Angeles-based Kiwi singer/songwriter Greg Johnson and asked him to write a track for the commercial.
“Greg has a unique feel for heartland New Zealand, and we knew that we had captured something that would make him reflect on what is special about this country,” he says.
The music evolved via a long-distance collaboration, with the team often throwing ideas back and forth into the wee hours to accommodate Johnson on L.A. time.
Woolley says getting Johnson onboard was a coup and says she's received some great feedback about the campaign so far, with plenty of Kiwi drivers chuffed to see New Zealand license plates and left hand driving in their car ads for a change.
While Audi might not be on top in the premium stakes anymore, it's not far off the pace. And it's 26 percent up on last year's sales in 2013.
As for BMW, it has been setting new retail records and has retained the lead of the premium segment. And a near-record result of 201 registrations for the month of June saw BMW extend that lead.
“Sales of new BMW models in New Zealand have been increasing over the past five years, culminating in 2012 when BMW was the most popular premium automotive brand in the country,” says managing director of BMW New Zealand, Nina Englert, who took over at the end of last year and has worked with the BMW Group for 22 years. "Part of this success is due to the popularity of BMW Sport Activity Vehicle (SAV) and Sport Activity Coupe (SAC) models, all of which (with the exception of the X1), are produced at BMW’s plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Close to 25 percent of all BMW sales are such models, which emphasises the strong link between BMW New Zealand and the manufacturing facility in the USA."
As a result, BMW has been selected as a finalist in the annual American Chamber of Commerce awards in the Importer of the Year category.