It's not everyday RNZ rolls out a major brand campaign – the stars have to align and the public broadcaster's limited advertising budget has to stretch for just the right occasion. This week, for the first time in years, RNZ has launched an out-of-home campaign in Auckland with its creative and media partners, Big Communications and Together.
The new campaign had been launched on a number of key outdoor placements around Auckland, in a bid to drive increased listenership of RNZ National in the region. All iterations feature '101.4 FM' – RNZ's Auckland frequency plus different captions including 'News Zealand', 'Smarten yourself up for work', and 'Admittedly, for an ad-free radio station, this is a big ad'.
The campaign is also being rolled out online, with an Instagram ad for RNZ's Morning Report proclaiming 'We have serious issues'.
RNZ head of audience strategy Stephen Smith says while the broadcaster doesn't have a lot to spend on marketing, it is important to periodically remind New Zealander's they have access to the platform.
"In producing and distributing news and information content across a range of platforms funded by the public, we have a responsibility to let the public know that it is available to them and where they can find it.
"This campaign reminds Aucklanders that 101.4 FM is the frequency for New Zealand's independent public service broadcaster."
The timing is right to release a new campaign, he says, because February is the start of the new season of RNZ National programmes and an opportunity to connect with listeners returning to work and settling into their listening preferences.
While there are no current plans to extend the campaign outside of Auckland, Smith says that will be reviewed.
"Once we have had the opportunity to review the current campaign we will make decisions on what and when we may need to communicate to listeners in other regions."
Speaking to NZ Marketing earlier in the month, Together partner Rufus Chuter said the multiple teams worked well together to produce the work within RNZ's budget restraints.
"They were a great example of the sort of clients we want to work with as it was a real meeting of the minds. They wanted to work with great people in a model that had full transparency – it was fantastic."
RNZ last launched a brand campaign three years ago, in early 2016 – when it worked with Raigner & Rolfe to launch a campaign centreing on news programmes, Morning Report, Checkpoint and Saturday Morning with Kim Hill. At the time, the decision to advertise was based off the back of RNZ research showing there was a big demand for quality news and current affairs, yet a significant audience were not being reached.
The 2016 campaign was also only rolled out in Auckland, which RNZ head of communications John Barr said at the time was because research showed RNZ had room for growth in the city.
"Auckland is growing rapidly, it has diverse audiences, and it is where we believe we can best achieve growth given the limited budget that we have to work with," he said.
Prior to 2016, RNZ hadn't advertised since 2011 when it teamed up with Clemenger BBDO for its one-hundred-year anniversary. The 2011 campaign was the first since 2007.