Holden and Ogilvy continue their creative run of form, Barina RS campaign aims for the heart

It’s a car that claims to get your heart racing. So Holden and Ogilvy have dangled a carrot to those who reckon they can do the opposite with a new digitally-led campaign aimed at changing the perception of the Barina.

The campaign’s central idea is to get people to upload a video to heartracing.co.nz explaining why they think they can keep their heart rate the lowest during a hotlap around Hampton Downs with Greg Murphy. There are six positions available for the event day, with the top three entries as voted by the public, two entries chosen by Murphy and one ‘wildcard’ entry from The Edge promotion getting a seat.

The TVCs, shot by Ryan Heron of Flying Fish at the new Highlands Motorsport Park in Cromwell, show a yoga teacher and free skier talking up their chances—before being shown grunting, grimacing and yelling in the passenger seat—and all roads lead back to the website, which was created in-house at Ogilvy. And, at a time when plenty of consumers start the car-buying process online before they ever get to the car yard, Ogilvy’s executive director Paul Manning says having a hook like this, with low barriers for entry and one of the new Barina RS cars up for grabs, is a great way to show off the car and get them interested. 

He says the Barina has been through a huge evolution in recent times and the car is “fantastically sporty”. The problem, he says, is that consumers don’t know about its performance qualities and might still see it as “a more reserved choice”. But he loves the fully-integrated campaign, which focuses heavily on performance and design, and thinks it’s spot on “in terms of addressing the challenge of changing perceptions of the Barina”. 

Small car sales are up almost everywhere and inside that the hot hatch segment is also growing, he says—and, as such there’s more action and competitive pressure from the other manufacturers in this space. But given “Holden’s pretty well-established reputation for creating drivers’ vehicles” and the level of engagement the campaign has already achieved, he thinks it stands out and shows the model’s stripes well. 

So far, he says the campaign has been very well-received, with 348 user-generated videos posted and growth of about ten percent a day. And, as an added bonus—and unlike a lot of campaigns relying on user-generated content, he says—most of the entries are coming from the target audience and from people who seem genuinely interested in the car. 

Manning says executive creative director Angus Hennah has made a huge difference to the creative quality of Ogilvy since he arrived and he’s helped get a lot of good work away. 

“Our performance at Axis this year was a big jump up for us,” he says, with six finalists last year compared to 18 this year. 

Holden has been one of the major benefactors of that improvement, with Manning pointing to recent work like Twitch, the Shortland St sponsorship campaign and the Back in Black and Service Station campaigns to launch the new Holden Commodore and Volt respectively. 


General Marketing Manager: Marnie Samphier

Communications & Sponsorship Manager: Julie Southall

Agency: Ogilvy & Mather New Zealand

ECD: Angus Hennah

CD: Rupert Hancock

CD: Matt Simpkins

GAD: Sandra Daniel

AD: Jess Short

Production: Flying Fish

Director: Ryan Heron

Media Agency: Carat

Business Director: Will Douglas

SAM: Andrew Simpson

Senior Buyer/Planner: Lisa Gibson

Digital production: Ogilvy & Mather

Head of Digital: Greg Whitham

Head of Production: Chris Hancock

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