Hubbards looks to regain its mojo with TV dalliance

While visiting New York in 1987, Dick Hubbard told his wife Diana about his idea to start a cereal company that would “make New Zealand proud and healthier at the same time”. Since then it has grown into a sizeable business that continues its breakfast battle with big beasts like Sanitarium and Kellogg’s. But it’s trying to up its game with a new integrated campaign via Hunter. 

While the release says this is the first time the brand has been on TV, that doesn’t seem to be the case. As well as TV, the campaign also spreads across social, print, digital and experiential and the main goal is to get people to reconsider the brand—and its Kiwi identity—by using a handmade aesthetic to capture the real spirit of the company and everything that’s inspired it to create the new ‘Amazing Muesli’ range.


Independent agency Hunter won the business in a pitch in the middle of last year (it is thought to have beaten out Special Group and a few others for the spoils) and managing director Simon Hakim says it was chosen because it understood the business challenge and had some ideas on how to solve them. And the major issue, he says, is that Hubbards was a business that had lost its way.  

It was an entrepreneurial company that “had always led” and, with a very charismatic, kooky and principled chief, it was one of the first companies in this region to actively promote the idea of corporate social responsibility. 

Hakim says things started to change when Hubbard took on the mayoral duties in Auckland and it “became a big company that didn’t continue to live the way it was set-up”.

The company is still privately owned and Hubbard is still the major shareholder and chairman, but he has little to do with the day-to-day running of the company, and Hakim says it’s the new management team leading the charge to try and regain its mojo. 

Hakim says the product was “old and outdated”, and it was “almost like they were trying to save money rather than invest and move forward” (as a privately owned company it doesn’t release sales data, but this story details some of its financials from a few years ago). Hunter wrote all of the copy on the new boxes (which, uniquely, also include comms inside) and worked closely with Coats Design. It also worked with Born Digital on the website. Hubbards purists will also be pleased to know that Clipboard, the newsletter Hubbard included in his cereal boxes, is still there, although it’s also been redesigned. 

Perry Bradley of Film Construction fame and Jonny Kofoed from Assembly worked alongside Hunter to create the TV spot. 

“We wanted to celebrate all the great things that help make Hubbards the brand it is in a uniquely Hubbards way,” says Hunter’s executive creative director Matthew Gibbins. “A charming bit of this and a cheeky dash of that, all mixed together in one big ‘Hello New Zealand’ kind of way. 

As for Hunter, Hakim says it is also working with Abe’s Bagels, Atomic Coffee, Little Paddock ice cream and a new tech client that it can’t name yet. It did lose Charlie’s, which is now with Assignment Group, but its staffing levels are solid with eight and he says the New Zealand side of the business is growing faster than the Australian arm. 


Client: Hubbards

Marketing Manager: Rebecca Bergs

Brand Manager: Kimberley Thorpe

Creative Agency: Hunter

ECD: Matthew Gibbins

Planning: Simon Hakim

Copywriter: Matthew Gibbins

Art Director: Jonathan Kemps

Production Company: Film Construction

Film Director: Perry Bradley

Producer: Aldo Guenther

Animation Company: Assembly

Motion Design Director: Jonny Kofoed

Producer: Amanda Chambers

Music: Nick van Cuylenburg

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