Cadbury kicks off patriotic ‘billbag’ roadshow, ‘Don’t fall over’ judged best message of support

With a solid crowd to make the obligatory live crosses from Breakfast weatherman Tamati Coffey look good, the spray painting talents of the Cut Collective and a host of confused-looking commuters gazing up at a giant billboard as they powered to work, Cadbury kicked off its nationwide roadshow for the Billboard to Bags campaign this morning at ‘experiential venue’ 1 Queen St in Auckland.

Cadbury is the Official Fundraiser for the New Zealand 2010 Commonwealth Games team and the campaign aims to give Kiwis a chance to write their messages of support on a series of billboards that will be touring the country over the next week or so (some say the billboard skins are actually sourced from Freida, the dancing cow*).

After the billboards are filled up with supportive messages they’ll then be put up on display from 2 August before being taken down and made into satchels by Was.co.nz (a cool company that actually specialises in recycling billboards into durable, eco-friendly bags). The bags will then be shipped over to Delhi by the New Zealand Olympic Committee and handed out to each of the 165 athletes to carry with them.

It’s a nice, feel-good, experiential scheme. And because no branded content is allowed in the Games Village, it’s also a pretty smart piece of pseudo-branding.

For those who can’t make it to the national roadshow (this is certainly much more positive than its last nationwide roadshow, which was more like damage control after the palm oil/great shrinking bar debacle) and get up on the cherry picker (it’s there all day at Queen St), there will also be a ‘virtual billboard’/pimped out Facebook page at www.cadburygames.co.nz from 2 August where messages can be left online.

Terry Daly, commercial director of the New Zealand Olympic Committee, says support is so important to athletes when they’re competing overseas, and he’s pretty excited about the initiatives Cadbury is undertaking to get New Zealand behind the team. So are the athletes, apparently: one of them was so enthused about the scheme he said the thought of a bag actually incentivised him to get in the team.

The campaign debuted at Dunedin Chocolate Carnival this week and the nationwide roadshow runs until 30 July in the North and South Islands. For the supportees, here are the dates.

  • Wednesday 21 July Auckland, Whangarei and Nelson
  • Thursday 22 July Auckland and Blenheim
  • Friday 23 July Hamilton and Kaikoura
  • Saturday 24 July Tauranga and Christchurch
  • Sunday 25 July Rotorua and Christchurch
  • Monday 26 July Napier and Timaru
  • Tuesday 27 July Palmerston North and Oamaru
  • Wednesday 28 July Wellington and Dunedin
  • Thursday 29 July Wanganui and Balclutha
  • Friday 30 July New Plymouth and Invercargill

*Definitely not true. And, apparently, despite more than a few detractors, the Freida campaign has actually been extremely successful in its target demographic.

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