NZ Post keeps ho-ho hush-hush

Christmas seems to come around earlier and earlier every year, fortunately here at StopPress we are huge fans of the day and all the creative TVCs that come before the holiday. First on our screens this year was FCB for New Zealand Post, which has released a curiously wonderful spot to celebrate the season. 

Chuck on Mariah Carey and call me St Nick because I am feeling festive after the New Zealand Post ad ‘Festive Fibs’. The first spot to deliver the festive feeling, it tells the story of a family playing secret Santa, keeping their gifts hidden with the help of the NZ Post postman and his dedication to helping keep the secrets hidden. 

 It’s a simple narrative, but one which brings the magic through a subtle trick, the growing nose of a liar. 

Created by FCB, the new spot is a fun look at how Christmas is the one-time families are allowed to keep secrets and tell white lies. 

Tony Clewett, chief creative officer for FCB, says NZ Post is a huge part of the community as a 180-year-old business, so making the brand an integral part of the narrative was important to both the business and audience.  

“We were fortunate because the postman is at the heart of the Christmas story. Even though he isn’t Santa in the campaign, they’re literally playing that role of delivering Christmas to Kiwis, so we were off to a great start.

“Through workshops, we came up with the play that it is the one time of year you can get away with telling little white lies and be excused for keeping secrets. We felt that would resonate well across New Zealand because everyone would understand that thought. New Zealand Post in this campaign is conspiring to help keep those secrets safe.”

The spot is supported by the tag line ‘Keeping Ho-Ho Hush-Hush’, which nicely sums up the story. For Clewett, NZ Post’s role in the community fits in nicely already with the narrative they were trying to tell, that of the iconic Kiwi Christmas. 

“Setting the story is that secret Santa story, and that’s become a big Kiwi tradition. So, it was a great platform for us to tell a story of why this family would want to keep secrets from each other.” 

Sarah Sandoval, general manager of consumer marketing and brand for New Zealand Post, says the main objective of the campaign was driving brand salience for New Zealand Post in connection to parcel delivery services.

“It’s no surprise that New Zealand Post has really high brand recognition in New Zealand, but that connection is predominantly with mail. So this was about shifting perceptions towards parcels and their delivery… We wanted to dramatise what we believe is the most magical time, and one of the most magical moments in connection to that parcel delivery.”

The TVC takes a different approach to typical NZ Post ads and focuses on their growing parcel delivery service. NZ Post’s reported that in November and December of 2018 alone the business delivered 14.5 million parcels, or one parcel every three seconds. The campaign taps into the part of the customer journey that brings the most feeling, receiving a package. 

“It’s no wonder that the moment that brings the most joy in is that joy you feel when you know you’re going to receive a parcel,” Sandoval says. “It doesn’t matter who the parcel is for, it is just an emotional moment.” 

Past NZ Post campaigns have been very targeted, including working towards a younger digital age with Parris Gloebel’s dance TVC. This time, however, a change in direction has NZ Post working towards a more inclusive audience says Sandoval. 

“We set out with the idea that this would appeal to the whole of New Zealand. New Zealand Post is a very inclusive brand, one that everyone sees, deals with, interacts with and has an opinion on, so for us that meant any campaign we brought to the market needed to feel inclusive.” 

For NZ Post, there has been a reported decline in letters being sent as we move to a digital age, yet Sandoval says letters are still an integral part of the business and this campaign is a first step in showing that even in a digital age human connection is still important. 

“Mail is a huge part of who we are, so this campaign isn’t about ignoring that part of the business but it’s about talking about the part that perhaps is lacking the connection.”

Clewett says the connection was a huge part of the narrative, and an easy story to tell this time of year when heart and connections are placed above all else. 

“This ad is crafted to show that the human side is still very relevant. New Zealand Post is in the connection business, the human side is what makes it distinctive and sets it apart.”

The subtle shock factor of the growing noses is clearly what sets this spot apart, alongside with a choir rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Tell Me Lies’, which FCB battled to keep as it fits perfectly with the narrative. Yet the climactic point comes down to the end dialogue between the mother and postman, which cleverly changes the gear for the story. 

“We had this lovely story which held this magic of the noses, and when it gets to the point of asking him that question and his nose doesn’t grow, it changes the whole ad and creates a new narrative and a change of gear. That moment was do-or-die for that TVC,” Clewett says.

“For FCB it was really important with a brand like New Zealand Post to make the brand truly centric to the story.

“It’s an ad not just about, but also with them. We’re not just telling a story and chucking a logo in at the end. Collectively we brought the brand into the story beautifully, it was never forced, and the ad couldn’t be so without New Zealand Post.” 

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