Seeing double: the curiously similar creative of Destination Queenstown and the NZ Olympic Committee

Last week, we wrote a story on Destination Queenstown’s new campaign via Feast. Shortly afterward, the comments section for the piece became flooded with commenters noting similarities between the campaign’s creative and that of the NZ Olympic Committee’s Rio 2016 campaign through Buffalo & Co. 

The Destination Queenstown campaign was launched last week and places a focus on luring Kiwis to the lakeside town to “reenergise, recharge and revitalise” themselves.

As part of the campaign a parallax microsite was created, showcasing beautiful imagery from Queenstown. Time Zone One worked on the website, while Feast was the agency behind the entire campaign.

The element of the creative commenters were finding most resembled the NZ Olympic Committee’s campaign was the ‘Feel the inspiration’ tagline. NZ Olympic Commitee’s tagline is ‘Be the inspiration’.

NZ Olympic Committee’s campaign also features a website, in the form of a hub filled with news relating to the Olympics, including information on the games, and the latest updates with some nice digital illustration and the ‘Be the inspiration tagline’.

It isn’t a stretch to say the the two taglines (and the typeface displayed) are pretty similar.

In the StopPress comments section of the original story Buffalo & Co. director Tim Barry responded to a comment from Gladeye designer Kevin McCutcheon, who remarked on the similarities of the campaign taglines saying:

“Thanks for raising this Kevin. Our agency Buffalo & Co. worked tirelessly to create the original ‘Be the Inspiration’ campaign for our client, NZ Olympic Committee. Presenting initial creative back in 2014 and launching it in August 2015. In our opinion, considering we are in the middle of the Rio campaign, the agency responsible, Feast, have designed a lock up and look too close to be a coincidence. We are interested in whether others have also been confused?”

Other comments then ensued and it got a little heated, with some defending Feast and others defending Buffalo & Co.

We asked the two agencies for comment.

Feast managing and creative director Scott Conway says the similarities are purely coincidental.

“Yesterday was the first day we have seen the olympic lock up …” he says.

“We were instructed by our client Destination Queenstown as part of their brand refresh that went live mid last year to change the strapline for ‘pure inspiration’ that they had used since 2007 to ‘feel the inspiration’.”

“This is purely a case of coincidence.”

We also contacted Barry, who said he was very proud of the work the agency designed for the NZOC Rio Olympics campaign and said the timing of Destination Queenstown’s ‘Feel the inspiration’ branding had created confusion. He then referred me onto the NZ Olympic Committee for further comment.

New Zealand Olympic Committee public affairs and communications director Ashley Abbott said the committee had noticed the similarities, but she didn’t have much more to add.

“We have note the similarities between the two campaigns but right now we’re focussed on the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and sharing our athletes’ inspiring stories with New Zealanders. We commend Buffalo for their original and creative Rio 2016.”

Another commenter pointed out that the similarities between the two campaigns might come down to the fact that they were both quite generic ideas.     

Commenter ‘AuckDork’ said: “Unfortunately, just both rather uninspired ideas that simply didn’t creatively leap into any original space. Ideas are often similar, but that usually says neither are particularly brilliant.”

That said, relaying the core purpose of a brand in only a few words certainly isn’t an easy task—and it’s made even more difficult when numerous stakeholders have to approve the final creative product (as is likely to be the case with a city or a major international event).

With this in mind, we can only hope that these generic slogans are dropped entirely or maybe replaced by brutally honest alternatives like ‘Queenstown, it’s bloody expensive but you should visit anyway’ or ‘Rio Olympic Games 2016, we know you’re only watching for the gymnastics’. Though, perhaps, not as honest as these ones.

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