Given New Zealand’s feverish excitement during the Olympics when our gold medal tally was greater than that of the usually better performing Australian Olympic team, there’s still a fairly healthy dose of ‘friendly’ rivalry between the two nations. Over the years there’s been a bit of talk about New Zealand becoming the seventh state (and it happened briefly during the Games when, for the first time since 1912, the two nations came together as a rogue state known as Aus Zealand) and, from a marketing perspective, plenty of companies have decided to take care of business in New Zealand from Australia. But subtleties and local nuances are important when it comes to communications, as TVNZ-NZ Marketing Award winners Volkswagen and Z Energy can attest, and some things that work in other markets might not work here. And that’s the card British American Tobacco has played in the latest instalment of G2 Sydney’s animated Agree Disagree campaign, which taps into New Zealand’s patriotic, independent, Aussie-hating streak and questions the wisdom of following Australia’s lead on plain packaging legislation.
“Plain packaging is untested and there is no proof it will work. Even the former Australian minister of health has acknowledged that there is no proof to support this policy,” said Steve Rush, BATNZ general manager in a release. “ … Sound public policy is not simply a matter of copying the laws of other countries, but developing what is right for New Zealand. New Zealand shouldn’t be blindly following Australia when there is no proof plain packaging will work; plain packaging instead brings the very real prospect of serious unintended consequences for New Zealand.”