New Zealand Olympic Committee taps into its athletes’ psyche

With the 2018 Olympic Winter Games underway, the New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) and Saatchi & Saatchi are exploring what it takes for athletes to get to the top of their profession in a new brand platform called ‘Earn the Fern’.

Consisting of a social content series and out-of-home creative, ‘Earn the Fern’ tells the stories of skier Janina Kuzma, snowboarder Zoi Sadowski Synott, ski cross athlete Jamie Prebble, and father and coach to the Wells brothers, Bruce Wells. Three of the Wells brothers will be competing. 

The videos watch as each takes to the slopes – real and virtual – to train while text appears to commentate their actions and share a message about their dedication to the sport.

Also created was an athlete’s manifesto, capturing what wearing the fern means: “The fern is far more than a just a logo or a trademark. The fern is where courage, conviction and composure meet…the Fern is our guide…we don’t just want to wear it. We want to take it somewhere it’s never been before.”

New Zealand Olympic Committee commercial director Sharon van Gulik says the brief was to build an over-arching campaign for the 2018 games that spoke to the unique audiences and athletes competing at each games.

“Our Olympic Winter Games campaign kicks off the first of these, with stories from our small but dynamic New Zealand team.”

 Saatchi & Saatchi chief creative officer Toby Talbot added it’s been a real honour to partner with the NZOC and New Zealand’s Winter Olympians in the creation of this campaign.

“Each athlete’s story is unique, but what they all share is a deep pride in the Fern. The fearlessness it takes to do what they do is truly inspiring.”

Meanwhile, out of home, the campaign takes the Olympic spirits to the streets with APN Outdoor’s Albert Street billboard reading “Anyone can fly, few can land”.

The idea is supported by images of aerial ski jumpers who are placed to go 1.5 meters beyond the canvas to create the effect of the skier being airborne.

APN Outdoor is an official partner of the New Zealand Olympic and Commonwealth Games teams through to 2020, and New Zealand general manager Mike Watkins says it’s pleased to work with Saatchi & Saatchi to further amplify the impact of its outdoor formats and show its ongoing support to its partners.

Gulik is also excited by the partnership.

“We knew that they would bring the very best in outdoor advertising, together with a commitment to creativity and pushing boundaries for our Team. What better way to tell the stories of our incredible Winter Olympians as they take on the world in PyeongChang.”

The execution is the beginning of a series of creative executions expected over the next two years.


Client: New Zealand Olympic Committee

Creative Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi New Zealand

Production Company: Frontside

Out of Home Contractor: APNO

Director: Sigi Spath

Camera Operator: John-Jo Ritson

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