Tourism New Zealand hands evolution of ‘100% Pure’ brand to Special Group

Special Group will soon be stamping its mark on the ‘100% Pure New Zealand’ campaign after Tourism New Zealand appointed the agency to work on the project. 

The appointment follows a pitch among its existing suppliers, in which Special’s New Zealand and Australian offices worked together. StopPress understands TBWA Sydney was the other agency in the running.

Tourism New Zealand general manager of PR and major events Lauren Vosper says it’s incredibly important it gets the evolution of the New Zealand destination brand right.

“Our people and culture are diverse and multifaceted and we need to make sure we capture this authentically and deliver something Kiwis will embrace.”

Tourism New Zealand approached the two trans-Tasman agencies on its roster to pitch for the project and Special did a fantastic job understanding the complexity of what it’s aiming to capture.

“We’re excited to be working with them and see the new brand work take shape,” says Vosper.

TBWA has previously worked on the ‘100% Pure’ campaign, which is now in its 19th year. The campaign has been seen in various forms including ‘100% Middle Earth’ and ‘100% Pure Choice’ to recognise legalisation of gay marriage in New Zealand.

Recent work for the campaign – often aimed at its biggest market, Australia – has come out of TBWASydney, such as last year’s ‘Where one journey leads to another’ video. Vosper says TBWA has done a fantastic job and Tourism New Zealand will continue to work with it (TBWA New Zealand hasn’t worked on the business for a while now). 

The new appointment to the ‘100% Pure’ campaign comes after Tourism New Zealand chief executive Stephen England-Hall announced in May the brand will be “evolving“. 

Tourism New Zealand has always maintained it was not an environmental pledge. And, in light of Special’s appointment, Vosper says: “New Zealand’s destination brand is incredibly successful, showcasing the country’s landscapes and scenery and has worked because it reinforces the key reasons visitors choose New Zealand. New Zealand’s unique people and culture, our way of being, our warm welcome is what we know stays with people after they have visited. It is what people share and talk about long after they return to their country and is the essence of brand New Zealand. We have started work to evolve the brand to capture this.”

Vosper adds Tourism New Zealand has been working with Māori Tourism and will talk to a range of stakeholders over the coming months to incorporate people and culture into New Zealand’s tourism brand.

“It’s incredibly important we get this right. Our people and culture are diverse and multifaceted and we need to make sure we capture this authentically and deliver something Kiwis will embrace.”

Despite Tourism New Zealand’s positivity about New Zealand’s destination brand and the undoubted success of the marketing campaign over the years, it has faced increasing criticism that the ‘100% Pure’ message doesn’t align with the reality, something brought into sharper focus when news spread around the world about the quality of New Zealand’s rivers and lakes. Speaking to New Zealand Herald about the campaign, marketing professor Mark Ritson suggested “74% Pure” or “A lot more purer than China, for the most part” would be a better fit. Despite the criticism, most visitors have an exceptionally high satisfaction rate. 

Though not involved in the pitch, also included in Tourism New Zealand’s roster of agencies is Augusto, which in May this year worked to ‘#GetNZontheMap’ in a fun and very popular campaign with comedian Rhys Darby and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. 

Special Group managing partner Michael Redwood says it’s very exciting for the agency to be working to promote the country to the world. He adds the trans-Tasman approach works well as the New Zealand team has an understanding of the culture while the Sydney team can see things through visitors’ eyes. 

The win of the work adds to the momentum gained by the Sydney office since it opened in 2014. In March, the Sydney office was bigger than New Zealand both in terms of size – with 43 staff – and monthly turnover. 

Recently, Special Group was behind Tourism New Zealand’s successful Backpackagram campaign, which aimed to dispel the perception among younger travellers from the UK and Germany that New Zealand was all nice views and quiet strolls. 

“Most backpackers see New Zealand as a beautiful country but a bit boring, so we got 3 teams of backpackers from the UK and Germany, made them some challenges showcasing the most epic, fun and social things to do in NZ – filmed the lot, cut it up and released it as an episodic style TV reality show for Instagram, snackable style content for a mobile first audience.” 

This win adds to Special’s existing government work with NZTE. Earlier this year NZTE also announced the agency would be part of the team that will lead the design and visitor experience of the New Zealand Pavillion at Expo 2020 in Dubai.

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