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RAPP Tribal: turning phone bills into fairy tales

NZ Post certainly doesn’t like the trend towards receiving bills electronically, but it makes a lot of sense in these digital, environmentally conscious times. And RAPP Tribal and Telecom tried to bump up their numbers by dangling a philanthropic carrot with the Bills to Storybooks campaign, what they’re calling ‘the country’s first ever storybook written by New Zealanders for New Zealanders’. 

Instead of just asking customers to switch from paper to digital bills, RAPP Tribal came up with a way for them to do something meaningful for the next generation of Kiwis—by unleashing their inner authors. And the end result is that thousands of Kiwis contributed lines to ‘The Story of Bo and the Circus That Wasn’t’ and over 10,000 customers switched to online billing as a result.

Award-winning Kiwi children’s author Kyle Mewburn and illustrator Donovan Bixley began the story about a sheep called Bo who wants to be an acrobat but is scared of heights, then Telecom customers were invited to decide what happened next. Each week the winning lines were chosen by Mewburn and then brought to life by Bixley over a period of ten weeks, and all co-authors are credited at the end of the book.

Pat Murphy, Head of Direct at RAPP Tribal says the campaign ticked a lot of boxes for him and the team.

“For ten weeks, we were actually excited about Monday mornings, because we got to find out where the story was heading.

“Publishing a children’s book is every creative’s dream. We not only got to do it, we also got to raise money for kids. It doesn’t get better than that,” says Murphy.

Sarah Whitehead, direct marketing manager at Telecom says the campaign exceeded expectations.

“We wanted to give customers a real motive to switch to online billing, beyond the typical ‘green’ angle.

“To provide thousands of books to schools across New Zealand is a fantastic motive and the collaborative storybook really captured our customers’ imaginations! The book is getting rave reviews and being ordered by libraries countrywide which is great news,” says Whitehead.

The book was published in association with Scholastic and is available at Whitcoulls and selected book stores nationwide. A portion of the proceeds from all books sold will go to the Telecom Foundation, Telecom’s new charity focusing on Kiwi kids.

No word yet on a sequel.. so to find out if Bo does become an acrobat, or ends up merely as mutton dressed as lamb… or worse, a Sunday roast, you’ll have to either buy the book, or start receiving your Telecom bill electronically.

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