Steinlager Pure and DDB catch a Taika by the tail

Since Steinlager Pure was launched in 2007, Lion has used big name American actors to endorse the brand, with the likes of Harvey Keitel, Willem Dafoe and Vincent Gallo gracing our screens and stroking our egos in the past campaigns made by Publicis Mojo. But after a hiatus from Kiwi TV screens as its big brother’s white cans took over during the RWC—and with DDB now as its lead agency—it’s ready to launch its next campaign on Sunday. And for the first time the new mascot is a Kiwi: successful director, actor and all-round funny man Taika Waititi.

Sadly—and these days, strangely—the powers that be are keeping it old school and waiting for the ad to air this Sunday night during TV One’s Sunday Theatre rather than have it posted online first, but keen beans can get a look on Steinlager’s Facebook page at 3pm on Sunday. We’ve had a sneak peek and while the ad acknowledges our great country’s achievements like the previous efforts, this time it does it in quintessentially Waititi-esque fashion, with a big injection of his brand of kooky Kiwi humour.

“It was a lot of fun to be involved in the new Steinlager Pure campaign, both as an actor and director,” says Waititi, who also contributed significantly to the writing of the ad. “I am excited to be the first Kiwi front man for Pure and it was exciting bringing my style of comedy to the brand and celebrating how good we have it in New Zealand, in a slightly unique way.”

The ad kicks off with Waititi saying ‘do I really have to tell you how good we have it in New Zealand?’ and then gives sone stick to a host of advertising cliches that have been used to sell New Zealand’s virtues in the past.

DDB’s managing director Justin Mowday says he’s pretty stoked, both to get Waititi on board and with the end result, which was filmed in Los Angeles and orchestrated by Waititi’s production representatives from Curious.

“It’s pretty out there,” he says. “But everyone we’ve showed it to has loved it.”

He says there’s a tendency for premium brands to be a little bit too earnest and “uber serious”, so enlisting Waititi and embarking on a new, more comedic strategy was an attempt to make the brand more approachable and fun.

He says there’s no explicit connection to the “clenched fist on heart” patriotism of the very successful We Believe campaign, but he admits it is a brand with a bit of momentum at the moment and that campaign helped to re-establish a place in Kiwis’ hearts, so there’s a desire to replicate some of that love by using one of our local lads. And there’s also a desire to show that the cultural cringe isn’t what it used to be and we’re willing to celebrate successful Kiwis on the world stage.

As Todd Gordon, Steinlager’s marketing manager (who’s soon to head to Australia with a new job inside the Lion family) says: “This is a coming-of-age story. We’ve developed a newfound confidence in our place in the world and this new campaign reflects that. Taika is a Kiwi succeeding on the global stage and we’re proud of him and other Kiwis that are achieving internationally. We’ve come a long way as a nation, and can now pat each other on the back when we do well, and this new instalment of Pure is a reflection of this.”

Obviously, Waititi, who has just had a baby, has a signature style, and Mowday says everyone agreed that it wasn’t worth getting him on board to do the ad if he was just going to be shut down, which meant he had a fairly loose leash so he could do his thing.

Recently, Waititi managed to drum up some cash in order to get Boy, New Zealand’s most successful movie, shown in the US and it received rave reviews. And, after being nominated for an Oscar, directing a couple of Flight of the Conchords episodes, starring in The Green Lantern, and directing a few other shows and movies, his star keeps rising, as evidenced by this big musical number he directed for NBC that showed before its superbowl coverage.


Agency – DDB Group New Zealand
Client – Lion Nathan
Executive Creative Director – Andy Fackrell
Creative Director – Chris Schofield
Art Director: Damian Galvin
Copywriter: Rory McKechnie
Head of Television: Judy Thompson
Agency Producer: Kim Baldwinson/Pip Mayne
Managing Partner: Scott Wallace
Account Manager: Jonathan Rea
Production Company: Curious
Director: Taika Waititi
Producer: Matt Noonan
DOP: John Lindley
Editor: Luke Haigh
Visual Effects: Curious Post
Music: Liquid Studios
Sound Design: Jon Cooper at Coopers FR

Client –

Beer Marketing and Sponsorship Director– Danny Philips
Steinlager Marketing Manager – Todd Gordon
Steinlager Assistant Brand Manager – Janna Tipler

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