MetService forecast shows strong chance of shark terror

Looking at the MetService website these days could lead one to believe that New Zealand will be rainy in parts, sunny in others and sharkey all over.

To promote the 26th edition of Shark Week, Discovery Channel’s longest running stunt, Sky TV sent five ominous shark fins to infiltrate the MetService website.

For many years, Shark Week advertising has been elaborate in the United States, with hilarious TVCs, underwater billboards, shark buildings, frightening photographs, car wraps and, most recently, a fake documentary on the continued existence of a prehistoric shark all featuring in promotions over the years.

  • Click here to see further examples of sharketing, sharkvertising and sharksploitation.

In New Zealand, however, the promotional efforts have been more reserved, and this is largely attributable to the fact that the New Zealand Shark Week programming is scheduled to coincide with summer, meaning that the American Shark Week always occurs about four months prior to the Kiwi event. And this gives Kiwi sharks fans a substantial amount of time to access the more popular documentaries online – by legal or illegal means – before they reach our screens.      

Despite this handicap, this year Sky is attempting to increase the hype with a stronger promotional push than in previous years.

By using the guerilla tactics of seamlessly adding shark fins onto the MetService website, the broadcaster is able to get its campaign in front of the 200,000 unique visitors that check the weather every day.

According to MetService, its website enjoys a higher number of visits per person than YouTube in New Zealand and it is also the sixth most-visited website in the country.

These impressive analytics gave Sky a broad audience, but it needed to find a way to redirect viewers to the promotional page without interfering with the functionality of the MetService website. Sky put this tricky task in the hands of OMD, and the creatives at the agency were equal to it, eventually conceptualising the shark fin idea.   

Craig Delany, the Interactive Manager at MetService, says, “OMD came to us with the idea and we worked closely with them to make it happen. We sent a few possible sketches back and forth, and we eventually had something that worked for everyone.”

“Since Monday, 37,000 people have clicked on the shark fins, and this equates to a click-through rate (CTR) of about ten percent. In my nine years, this is by far the highest CTR of any campaign on metservice.com,” he says.

Given these statistics, Delany is complimentary about the campaign, saying, “This is a perfect example of a nicely executed creative idea that isn’t obtrusive and gets across the message in a simple yet clever way.”

Once visitors click on the shark fins, they are navigated to dedicated Shark Week page, which includes information on the programming as well as a tongue-in-cheek advertisement for the event.

Rather than relying on one of the many (often hilarious) American adverts that were made to promote the State-side Shark Week, Sky has commissioned the making of a TVC especially for the Australian and Kiwi market.   

Adding further regional flavour is Australian rugby league legend and fishing expert Andrew Ettingshausen, who has been brought on to host the event that runs from 1 to 7 December. 

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