MediaWorks promotes The Block NZ’s imminent return with a bit of drama–UPDATED

(Update) “We can already see from online engagement that the Block-a-holics are ready for another round and with a new exciting campaign twist on a deeply-loved format, we’re already seeing exceptional participation from existing and new fans,” TV3 brand manager Reuben Wiremu says. “I am excited about what The Block NZ: Villa Wars can deliver, we have some fantastic initiatives planned in the upcoming weeks.”

TV3 creative director Ant Farac says: “Now a well-established brand with Block-a-holics in New Zealand, this fourth series of The Block NZ was the opportunity to creatively push the envelope and take the contestants into a grittier world of dust and colour, in a fun, fantastical way. The theme for the show “Villa Wars” was the starting point that launched the creative and was treated completely tongue in cheek. We are thrilled with the result of this spot and hope the Kiwi audience like us, can’t wait “to let the battle begin.”

MediaWorks is using the TVCs to introduce the audience to the new teams and out-of-home advertising in the main metropolitan areas will reinforce the creative. 

The teams are Brooke (25) and Mitch (26) from Christchurch, Cat (27) and Jeremy (29) from New Plymouth, Jamie (23) and Hayden (29) from Auckland and sisters Sarah (24) and Minanne (19) from Hamilton.

The room reveal judging will be by real estate sales manager Bernadette Morrison and architect Jason Bonham. 

MediaWorks has also announced new programme partners: Bayleys, Bosch Power Tools, Dulux, Freedom Furniture, Haier, Mico Bathrooms, Peter Hay Kitchens and PlaceMakers.


Head of commissioning and external production – Sue Woodfield

Group entertainment content director – Andrew Szusterman 

Group head of brand & marketing – Katie Mills

TV3 brand manager – Reuben Wiremu

Senior creative/director – Bryce McNamara

Creative director – Ant Farac

Assistant director – James Kerr

Art and stills director – Juita Tambunan

Visual FX & graphic designer – Andrew Bunyan

DOP – Ian McCarroll / Ado Greshoff

Producer – Lily Kingston

Stills photographer – Steve Tilley

Gaffer – Giles Coburn

Camera assistant – Nick Hutchinson /Matt Hunt

Sound – Phil Donovan

Art dept – Rollercoaster

Hair and make up artist – Chay Roberts

Stylist – Natasha Guttenbeil

Original story: 8 September

The Block NZ will be returning soon to TV3 for its fourth season ‘The Block NZ: Villa Wars’, which means a new campaign, and as part of it, an ad has been released which is akin to an action movie trailer, with the contestants entering their designated neighbourhood, ready for a DIY war.

The show follows four couples as they compete against each other to completely renovate, room by room, four neighbouring houses in Auckland and then sell them at auction. Each couple keeps any profit made on the house, and the winner receives a bonus of $100,000.

In this season, set in Auckland’s Sandringham, the four teams will be in charge of restoring old villas to their former glory, a release on TV3’s website says.

The release says each villa will have its own unique selling point and will present many challenges for the teams as they figure out how to respect the heritage of the homes, as well as ensuring they are appealing to a contemporary urban market.

Mark Richardson will again be hosting alongside new challenge host Shelley Ferguson.

No date has yet been set for the launch of the first episode.

The new ad sets a scene of quaint suburban life before The Block NZ teams, storming the neighbouring homes, power guns blazing, disrupt it.

The website includes profiles on each of the four couples (which includes two sisters) contending.

No doubt MediaWorks will be relieved to have The Block NZ back, which has been consistently popular, as MasterChef NZ has failed to deliver and TVNZ is still raking in the viewers.

However, there is also the possibility that The Block NZ could travel down the same path as MasterChef NZ if viewer fatigue sets in and the target audience becomes tired of the content, which it would seem MediaWorks is preparing itself for by theming this season as ‘Villa Wars’.

Last year, The Block NZ’s main competition was My Kitchen Rules NZ. Throughout the season The Block NZ screened daily during TV3’s 7.30pm primetime slot between Tuesday and Friday, while MKR NZ aired on Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday at the same time on TV One.

From the outset, TVNZ’s general manger of programming John Kelly was prepared for a tussle with its competitor across the free-to-air TV divide.   

“Let’s put this so-called head-to-head in perspective,” he told StopPress at the time. “This is round one of 30 – and we’re absolutely committed to contesting all time slots for all audiences … Last year we more or less gave The Block a free pass. That’s not happening this year.”

After the first round, TVNZ’s show drew the biggest audience while The Block NZ won the 25-54 demographic that’s so attractive to advertisers (figures below), and this was a fact that MediaWorks latched onto immediately.

“It’s fantastic to see The Block NZ so convincingly win one of the most competitive time slots on TV,” said MediaWorks TV chief executive Paul Maher in a release at the time. “We’re very proud of this year’s series, and it’s great to see New Zealanders embracing the new teams and new challenges.”     

As the figures stood MKR NZ managed to attract a bigger overall audience on average, pulling in 69,000 more viewers than its competitor when the median stats were calculated (figures below). However this was before the final episode of The Block NZ had screened.

When MKR NZ drew to a close it was the most watched show in its time slot, and TVNZ’s head of content Jeff Latch said in a TVNZ release statement that he was “delighted with the overall performance” of the show.  

“It’s been the catalyst for a significant year-on-year lift in audience across TV One and TV2 in October. Our production partners, Imagination Television, judges and commissioning team have done a great job in delivering such a high quality series.”

The Block NZ, howevermaintained its hold on the 25-54 demographic, attracting 29,000 more viewers on average than its competitor throughout the course of MKR NZ’s run.

The Block NZ‘s hold on this audience during the 7.30pm time slot was so strong that the show almost managed to match MKR NZ‘s audience figures when the cooking show’s final was on.        

The DIY show’s two-hour finale last season cleaned up in the ratings department with 849,500 five-plus audience tuning in, according to a MediaWorks release. In the key 25-54 demographic The Block NZ had an average audience of 196,100 compared to MKR NZ’s 154,300.

For the first time, the previous season of The Block NZ screened four episodes per week, with 3,125,400 (five-plus) viewers tuned into the season, gaining 178,300 more viewers than the 2013 series, on average.

MKR NZ season two is set to screen again towards the end of this year, no doubt again overlapping with The Block NZ, as a main competitor.

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