There were a few terse words directed at Tourism New Zealand, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and Education New Zealand from the creative community last year when Principals, a largely Aussie-based design shop with a small presence in New Zealand, was appointed to tell the New Zealand Story. But the next phase—creative development—has gone to the (admittedly STW-owned) local combination of Designworks and Assignment.
The New Zealand Story, which isn't replacing the 100 percent Pure campaign, aims to communicate New Zealand's distinct and unique attributes and help companies gain a competitive advantage in international markets. it will reflect attributes and values shaped by New Zealand’s place in the world and highlight the integrity, resourcefulness and welcoming nature of New Zealanders.
“We’ve selected Designworks and Assignment because they demonstrate a powerful combination of design thinking and storytelling expertise, and have extensive experience in building New Zealand brands,” says Catherine Bates, New Zealand Story project lead and general manager brand and international PR at Tourism New Zealand. “A consistent New Zealand Story used across broad export sectors will benefit New Zealand as a whole. Based on a competitive bidding process we were left with no doubt this agency partnership will meet the challenge to define our character in a way that will underpin and enhance the stories told by individuals, businesses and sectors.”
Earlier phases of the project determined key story elements—values, personality, tone—which were developed with extensive input from leaders across the private and public sector. These elements were then tested in six key and emerging markets.
“We are now ready for the agency partnership to develop the creative assets we’ll make available to New Zealand businesses, like still and moving imagery, AV video and key message guidelines, presentation and speech material.”
Designworks and Assignment (which lost the Tourism New Zealand account to TBWA\) were selected following a creative pitch amongst the four agencies shortlisted for earlier work on the New Zealand Story (as well as Principals, Brian Richards was also in the running and said giving it to Principals was the equivalent of "asking an Englishman to brand Ireland and expect the locals to lie down and accept it").
The decision was made by a project team including Bates and the chief executives of NZTE, Tourism New Zealand and Education New Zealand.
The New Zealand Story was outlined in the Building Export Markets progress report as part of the Government’s Business Growth Agenda, and received initial baseline funding of $1 million. The Government recently announced an additional $2 million funding to launch the project, which will be completed later in 2013.