Regina harnesses the power of patriotism and nostalgia with brand relaunch

Regina, one of New Zealand’s original confectionery brands, has been laying dormant since 2001. But it has now been reborn, with a new look, some quirky new Kiwi-fied products and a new ad campaign that focuses on the first world problem-solving ability of its creations. 

Oamaru-based Rainbow Confectionery started cranking out Regina lollies from its Regina Lane factory in 1949, and an employee by the name of Charles Diver is credited with making what the Otago Daily Times calls the “first oblong-shaped, pineapple-flavoured, chocolate-covered marshmallow lollies in New Zealand” in 1953. 

After Nestle bought the company and closed down the Oamaru arm of its New Zealand operation in 2001, New Zealand investors Ray White, Patrick Betty and Rod Thornton purchased the factory and focused on manufacturing private label confectionery for the major retailers. The new owners added new technologies and invested in new plant, including the ability to produce jelly-beans, the only manufacturer in New Zealand to do so. And in April, it bought Australia confectionery maker Metford Confectionery Pty Ltd, making Rainbow the largest privately-owned confectionery manufacturer in Australasia.

Regina sales and marketing manager Simon Williams says it’s still a small player in the $120 million domestic confectionery market, but, given the way locally-owned Whittaker’s has gradually eaten into the share of its big, multi-national competitors and given the consumer demand for old products to be brought back, he thinks the combination of patriotism and nostalgia offers plenty of growth potential.

Williams led the 12 month project to relaunch the brand (the design work was done by Red Cactus) and he says it started off with research asking whether Kiwis still remembered the brand. 45 percent did, and he says that was hugely valuable in terms of awareness. It then followed up with some more research about how they would feel if it was brought back and they “responded really favourably to the new Regina brand”. 

Globally, he says there are so many examples of lollies that are popular because they’re indigenous, and with various national attractions featuring in the licorice (like the Ohakune Carrot, Lake Tekapo’s Dog and Napiers’ Pania statue) and plenty of colloquial language featuring on the packs, there’s no doubt about who it’s aimed at. 

“The more I looked at the confectionery market, the more I knew there was a gap in the market [for a New Zealand-centric brand],” he says. 

As for the campaign, research showed Kiwis enjoy their lollies as a treat or reward, especially when they have had a tough day, or to be reminded of simpler, happier times.

“So in re-launching a quintessentially New Zealand brand we wanted to give Kiwis something to smile about and introduce a whole new range of Kiwi-centred lollies to help them lighten up and have some fun,” he says. 

Freelance strategist Margaret Whitten shaped the ad campaign and says First World Problems gave it a great comedic device to encourage lolly lovers to laugh at life’s little frustrations and try some exciting new lollies (the new range includes the The Kiwi Party Mix, Flash As Jelly Beans, Licorice Faves, Baby Fush, Nuts n’ Bolts and Pineapple Chunks and they are available at Regina lollies are available at Countdown, The Warehouse, Pak n Save & New World). 

Drew Ayers and Jeneal Rohrback were the creative team, Assembly worked its magic on the animation and Salt Interactive were in charge of the responsive website and the development of the social media campaign, starting with a Lolly Scramble App for Facebook

  • While the Regina campaign is obviously intended to be humorous and light-hearted, check out the campaign by DDB New York, which used first world problems in a very different way for the charity Water for Life.


Client: Simon Williams, Sales & Marketing Manager, Rainbow Confectionery

Strategic Planning: Margaret Whitten

Creative: Jeneal Rohrback & Drew Ayers

Animation: Assembly

Packaging: Red Cactus

Digital: Salt Interactive

Media: Graham Small Media Specialists

Public Relations: Elton PR

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