NZ Post calls on Charles Dance to show how it greases the wheels of Kiwi can-do

NZ Post has had a rough ride over the past few years as its main revenue source—mail—continued to have its lunch cut by digital communication. That’s resulted in a series of restructures, asset sales and cost-cutting exercises, but necessity is the mother of invention, so those difficulties have also forced it to evolve its business and come up with some new ideas like YouShop and YouPost. The rise of e-commerce is also working in its favour, and it’s the role NZ Post can play as a supplier to business that it’s focusing on for its new brand campaign, You Can. 

Conceived by Clemenger BBDO and shot by The Sweet Shop’s Iain MacKenzie, the ad attempts to reassert NZ Post’s relevance in the modern age. And to do that it’s called on the gravitas of UK actor Charles Dance (at least he’s not shouting, like the last big brand campaign involving an English actor). 

Clemenger BBDO’s Sean Keaney says it’s only the second ad Dance has ever done, the first being the Rugby World Cup spot that didn’t feature the All Blacks. And it’s not because he has a soft spot for postal services. 

“We approached him and he thought it was a really nice piece of writing. So after that it was just about the logistics of figuring out where he was shooting and getting him over here.” 

While up to 300 posties will soon be out of a job after mail deliveries were cut back as a result of a ten percent decline in mail volume every year, Keaney says NZ Post has been squirrelling away “getting some things in order” as part of its digital transformation and developing new products to make up for that decline—and embrace some growth areas (recently, due to the increase in the number of parcels being delivered, it unveiled its new eco-friendly delivery tricycle). ​

The launch ad, which he says is probably the first TV push of any significance for NZ Post since Saatchi & Saatchi’s consumer-focused ‘Letters’ campaign, is part of an ongoing campaign strategy that will be supported with customer success stories and case studies to show NZ Post can do anything from “solving complex international logistics problems to finding small start-ups their first customers and, of course, sending stuff anywhere in the world”. And, to its credit, it includes a self-aware nod to the quaintness of letters. 

“People still send them, you know,” Dance says in the ad. 

Rather than just talking about what NZ Post offers, Keaney says it wanted to demonstrate its products through the stories of its customers and those stories are appearing on its You Can Central content hub, which features businesses like Cookie Time, Mighty Ape, The Warehouse, Hallensteins and Hauora Honey. 

“We didn’t want to say ‘it’s all about me’. We needed some proof points.” 

Murray Pugh, NZ Post’s head of marketing and strategy, was unable to be contacted, but he says in a release that while the company is a trusted brand, few people know about all the exciting things it does.

“We wanted a campaign to let the public and our customers see how we’ve helped many iconic New Zealand businesses to find success. The launch had to be fresh, engaging and a little unexpected, so people would sit up and take notice. Clemenger BBDO has done this with room to spare. From sourcing and securing world-class talent and direction, to refining our messaging to convey the breadth of our business, the team has delivered an outstanding, engaging ad that makes me sit forward every time.” 


NZ Post, Head of Marketing and Strategy: Murray Pugh

NZ Post, Marketing Communications Manager: Jean Mowday

Executive Creative Director: Brigid Alkema

Copywriter: Erik Hay

Head of Television: Marty Gray

General Manager: Sean Keaney

Account Director: Claudia Zwimpfer

Account Manager: Mia Freeman

Production Company: The Sweet Shop

Director: Iain MacKenzie

Executive Producer: Fiona King

Producer: Ben Dailey

DOP: Iain MacKenzie

Production Designer: Tess Strelein

Editor: Cushla Dillon

Colour Grade: Pete Ritchie

On Line Compositor: Stuart Bedford

Post Production: Beryl

Music Composer: Jim Hall

Audio Post Production: Coopers at Franklin Road

Audio Engineer: Jon Cooper

Audio Producer: Pen Cooper

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