Off-road meets hi-tech as Brother rides shotgun with Rally New Zealand

For many years, Brother has focused on promoting printers, copiers, sewing machines, labellers and other products from its “home and business IT peripherals” range, usually with a host of low-budget TV ads and that well-known tune at the end, ‘Brutttthhhher’. But it’s attempting to come out of the shadows in New Zealand—and, at the same time, showcase the Japanese company’s technological prowess—by signing up as naming rights sponsor of the Brother Rally New Zealand and the Brother International Rally of Whangarei. 

“We see a clear fit between Brother’s products and the World Rally Championship, represented locally by Rally New Zealand,” says Graham Walshe, executive chairman of Brother International (NZ). “Both brands are leaders in technology, innovation and dynamic delivery. At the heart of Brother’s association with both rallies is the desire to highlight our place in the Asia Pacific region, particularly the high standards of service our customers have come to expect. Our service delivery is a key point of difference in all markets in which we compete. In a recent survey, customers rated us the number one printer brand for service in New Zealand.”

The deal is a significant commitment from Brother, which has had a presence in the New Zealand market for over 50 years, and, according to a release from Rally New Zealand, would involve a seven-figure sum if the company exercises its options for a further two years.

Youtube VideoAs part of the sponsorship, Brother is updating its existing iPrint&Scan app for iOS and Android to include an augmented reality experience (it has already launched an AR application that lets users experience its wares in a different way). And it is also giving rally fans the opportunity to print one of three rally cars from www.brother-rally.co.nz (both of these initiatives will be live on 6 June).

The templates can be scanned via the mobile app to trigger an animation that will guide users through the step-by-step folding and assembly instructions and at the end of the animation, a completed 3D car will be seen travelling on the virtual terrain within the track.

Once assembled, the WRC logo on the car’s bonnet can be scanned to activate playback of Brother’s ‘paper car’ TVC, which will also launch on 6 June and was made by Raydar, through their smartphone.

Brother is also gearing up to launch The Brother Cup, a simulated rally experience for amateur drivers that includes a track specially developed to replicate New Zealand rally conditions. It will be held from 21-24 June at the Viaduct Events Centre and, according to Brother, it will be the first time these types of simulators will be put through their paces in New Zealand. Pace notes will also be provided to those waiting for their turn in the driver’s seat.

Not to let an opportunity to promote its products go by, attendees will also get to have their photo taken with a New Zealand rally car via an iPhone and it will then be printed wirelessly using Brother’s app.

“As we’re co-driving rally in New Zealand, we’re really excited to be able to offer stimulating and technology-focused activites for those rally fans out there who are looking to get the most out of their rally experience,” says Walshe. “Our brand is synonymous with innovation and this is why we have invested in the AR and simulator technologies to mark our sponsorship with rally, and we’re looking forward to sharing these with everyone.”

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