Hobbit-flavoured digital book gets 130k views on Tourism New Zealand website

Haven’t had your daily dose of The Hobbit? Then head on over to newzealand.com and take a look at New Zealand redrawn in the spirit of Tolkien.

This latest work by WHYBIN\TBWA for Tourism New Zealand sees photographs taken from the country’s most famous tourist attractions turned into the kind of sketches you’d see scribbled in the margins of Bilbo’s copy of There and Back Again

Wellington is reimagined as Rivendell, Queenstown transformed into Isengard, the Coromandel reverted to its primeval state as Mirkwood.

The images were created by Weta Workshop artists Paul Tobin, Nick Keller, and Gus Hunter, and adapted for online by Digital Arts Network.

They’ve been incorporated into a 76-page digital book on the Tourism New Zealand website, that blends Tolkien lore with Kiwi tourism information. Readers can find out about destinations, book tours, and get contact information directly from inside the book.

 In addition, the fantasy renders appear on Tourism New Zealand’s Facebook page, and paid advertising on digital and physical media.

WHYBIN\TBWA says since going live in November, the book has had 130,000 page views, with an average of 14 book page views per visit. Organic traffic to newzealand.com between 1 September and 30 November was up 16 percent from the same time last year.

Visits to the site from searches related to The Hobbit were up 265 percent in November, compared to the previous three-month average.

You can’t host the news in a mythical language, but it seems the weather can easily be co-opted for cross promotion. Check out this video of TVNZ weather personality Tamati Coffey forecasting the weather in Sindarin Elvish (also a WHYBIN\TBWA idea). Apparently Coffey was taught his lines by an Elvish dialect coach – which is a real job title I’ve been reliably told.

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