Bait and twitch: Ogilvy injects some local charm back into the Holden brand


It’s been a while between brand ads for Holden, with the car company favouring Clarke Gayford, a stark warehouse and a bit of glitchy electronica to spruik its various models recently. But, with the help of Ogilvy and Robber’s Dog, it’s taken a slightly more creative, emotional and story-based approach with a nice new spot featuring a twitchy main protagonist who, like the self-harming, car-loving cat in the Toyota Corolla campaign, finds unexpected peace in his vehicle.  

“It felt
right to inject some warmth and local charm back into the brand,” says executive creative director, Angus Hennah. “The spot espouses
the therapeutic benefits of getting away from it all in a real driver’s car.”  

Executive director Paul Manning says this piece was driven by Hennah, who started as ECD in July last year, and he worked closely with Robber’s Dog director Luke
Shanahan to get it right. And, while Manning says locally produced brand ads for car companies have been few and far between during the last few rather difficult years for the automotive industry, things are improving (20 percent increase in new car sales over 2011) and, as evidenced by the success of the likes of Hyundai and VW, he says both Ogilvy and the client recognised how important it was to “ground the brand in here in New Zealand and give it real meaning to New Zealanders”. 

Shanahan says directing Twitch was an absolute pleasure and “it was one of those projects
where all involved had total faith in the idea”. 

“That unity meant I got to make
executional decisions based on good storytelling alone,” he says. “I think that unity shows in the final spot.”

This new campaign comes amid rumours that Holden was set to part company with Ogilvy in New Zealand, but Manning says he has no idea where that rumour came from and he read about it at the same time as everyone else did. It was even more perplexing because Manning says Holden “had a year of great growth” in 2012, with “the brand and sales performing very well”. 

Holden sold the second most new cars behind Toyota in 2012, with 7,922 units shifted, or ten percent market share (Toyota has 20 percent of the new car market). And its Captiva was the third most popular model, selling 2,506 units. 


– Ogilvy & Mather New Zealand

– Holden

Creative Director – Angus Hennah

– Matt Simpkins

Director – Darran Wong Kam

Producer – Amanda Kabel

Account Director – Sandra Daniel

Marketing Manager – Marnie Samphier

Company – Robber’s Dog

– Luke Shanahan

– Mark Foster

– Tim Mauger

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