MediaWorks has Dancing with the Stars contestants shimmying their way across the cityscape of Auckland using some clever visuals

Dancing with the Stars, the show that seems to be made up solely of Shortland Street actors, radio presenters and politicians and is renowned for its second series where Rodney Hide dropped his partner during his cha-cha-cha performance is back again this year after a six-year hiatus and MediaWorks has whipped out some convincing projection (pun intended) techniques to get us interested.

As part of the marketing for the show – which premieres on 31 May – it was reintroduced on fellow MediaWorks show X-Factor, where Dominic Bowden, who will also be hosting the new show made the announcement alongside his Dancing with the Stars co-host Sharyn Casey and called the stars and their partners to the stage.

MediaWorks also created the illusion of projection mapping, where it appears the stars and their partners are dancing across the sides of buildings on the streets of Auckland, in a 1-minute-long TVC.

MediaWorks head of marketing Amanda Wilson says the campaign for the show, including the TVC, was the work of MediaWorks’ internal creative team.

“By putting our dancers against a giant city canvas we wanted to create an epic ‘Blockbuster’ feeling that would ‘light up’ the audiences night,” she says. “The campaign places our dancers against a giant city canvas creating a blockbuster feel that will appeal to young and old.  Whilst we did consider shooting the promo as a real immersive event and light show, we actually filmed dancers separately from the buildings – and elements were combined by the talented VFX artists at Beryl; creating the illusion of a live projection.”

The line up includes:

  • Teuila Blakely, former Shortland Street actress
  • Shane ‘Mountain Warrior’ Cameron, boxer
  • Ben Barrington, actor from Almighty Johnsons 
  • Maz Quinn, surfer
  • Simon Barnett, radio and television presenter
  • Jay-Jay Harvey, radio host
  • Colin Mathura-Jeffree, model and TV celebrity
  • Siobhan Marshall, Outrageous Fortune actress
  • Pam Corkery, former MP and radio host
  • Chrystal Chenery, contestant from The Bachelor

Sadly, no John Campbell though.

Wilson says the cast announcement was the starting point of MediaWorks’  communications “…with a live televised announcement on X Factor and full force of MediaWork’s assets behind it – including MediaWorks’ social media channels and radio stations.  MediaWorks’ publicity machine ensured coverage of contestants that night and the following morning gave some good momentum to the project.”  

Wilson says the campaign stayed true to the “glittery and delicious” brand values of Dancing with the Stars whilst also appealing to as broad as possible range of viewers, “’A Little Less Conversation’ really makes it – ensuring it is positioned so as to appeal to a wide demographic. We had plan bs up our sleeve but were thrilled to get the okay from Graceland”.

She says the campaign will continue to be pushed out through MediaWorks’ own channels – television, radio and online – but will also be supported with external media like oOh! and digital. Wilson also says MediaWorks has category exclusive on the APN digital billboards in town “…which will add some real sparkle to the campaign”.

 The show will screen on Sundays and Mondays on TV3 and will “…see 10 Kiwi stars to rumba and battle it out to take home the coveted mirror-ball trophy,” according to TV3’s website.

The show follows the classic format, inspired by Britain’s Strictly Come Dancing where a New Zealand celebrity is paired with a professional ballroom dancer. The pairs all compete with each other to impress a panel of judges. Viewers then vote for the couples they think should stay and then the public vote and the average score given by the panel of judges go towards deciding who should be eliminated. The stars’ winnings are donated to a charity of their choice.

According to the Herald, the show has been a huge hit in New Zealand in the past, with the series finals in 2005 and 2006 watched by almost one million people, however the article does not specify on the age bracket of these ratings, “It was the highest-rating series among all New Zealanders for the last two years [2005 and 2006]. An average 804,000 people watched each episode in 2006, a big jump on the 730,000 people per episode in 2005.”

Data from Nielsen shows the average ratings for the show in 2009 was 643,500 of all people in the five-plus age group and 244,800 in the telling 25-54 age bracket.

Andrew Szusterman, group entertainment content director, says “This new local series of Dancing with the Stars is going to be fantastic. It’s set to be packed with more stars, dancing and drama than ever before. The series is a stunning addition to our massive 2015 line up, helping us to deliver the very best in entertainment to all New Zealanders.”

The media company has been slowly trickling out announcements relating to the show for the past month on its social media pages, such as news of the hosts, judges and the show’s first confirmed star Jay-Jay Harvey.

The hashtag #DWTSNZ has also been used by TV3 through its Twitter and Facebook.

  • This story originally stated that projection mapping was used.


Head of Marketing : Amanda Wilson

TV3 Brand Manager : Reuben Wiremu

Creative Director: Anthony Farac

Senior Creative Producer / Co-Director: Simon Lambert

Art Director : Juita Tambanun

Art Direct Assist : Teresa Wong

DOP: Ado Greshoff

Producer: Rachael Fleury

Marketing Assistant : Zoe Howcroft

VFX : Beryl

Music Supervision Services : The Other Side Music Limited

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