Auckland vs New York: Colenso’s new TVC says it’s a fair fight

Colenso BBDO, Finch Productions, Heart of the City, Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development (ATEED), and Level Two Music NZ have conspired in an attempt to sell Auckland with a new spot that combines sweeping cityscapes, an emotive score and the gravelly voice of an unseen narrator. 

By opting for a voice that lies somewhere between Bob Dylan and the guy from the Apple commercials, the producers are clearly trying to invoke the image of someone who has been there and done that. And, in the event that the voice alone doesn’t relay this well-travelled image, the monologue also quips, “you know the one thing that every great city has in common? I know, because I’ve been to them all.”

The choice of narrator seems to be in direct response to the brief that ATEED gave to Colenso at the outset of this domestic tourism campaign. 

“The world’s greatest cities all have one thing in common: an overwhelming sense of unlimited possibilities. New York has it, London has it. The challenge is to prove Auckland has it, too,” said a release from Colenso.

So, in an effort to put Auckland on the world’s stage alongside other major cities, Colenso responded by unveiling the ‘Show newer stops’ late last year. Initially the campaign was only visible in the Super City on street posters, bus wraps and signage, but last Sunday it was released nationwide via the new TVC.

Given that the campaign is designed to attract tourism to the city, it seems a questionable use of media spend to distribute advertising in Auckland, but Nick Garrett, the managing director of Colenso, points out that the campaign is also about creating a proud image for Auckland.

“It means a lot to everyone at the agency to work on this brief because it is so important to the city we live in,” he says in a release. “New Zealand’s largest city has a sense of purpose and one that can make us all feel good about this special place.” 

Colenso’s creative chairman Nick Worthington concurs with this sentiment and adds that Auckland has unique elements that are absent from even the great cities in the world.

“Sure New York City can smoke us on gritty urban cool, and London, Paris and Berlin can humble us with history and culture, but Auckland has things that no other city does: a vibrant urban playground with raw natural beauty; it’s quite simply impossible to feel jaded here because your personal antidote or perfect fix is never far away,” he says.

In this sense, the concert footage, seascapes and restaurant imagery could be seen as a series of invitations to encourage Aucklanders (and all New Zealanders for that matter) to break free of their self-imposed inertia and participate in the activities on offer.  

“There’s always a great show to see, but Auckland itself is a show in its own right.  Whether you’re kayaking on the harbour, watching a hit musical at The Civic, or walking in the Waitakere Ranges – Auckland is truly a show that never stops,“ says Rachael Carroll, the ATEED general manager of destination and marketing.


Agency: Colenso BBDO
Lead creativesNick Worthington, Aaron Turk, Emma Watson, Eloise Jack
Planning director: Andy McLeish
Account team: Vic Graves, Jo Underdown, Dave Munn
Agency producers: Katie Knight, Arielle Zadok
Production company: Finch
Production company producer: Peter Clews
Director: Jae Morrison
Sound design: Franklin Rd
DOP: Ian McCarroll
Editor: Tim Mauger
Music production: Josh Fountain & Joel Little, Level Two Music NZ

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