Story about Colenso’s new State campaign ranked week’s 27th best by expert

I often write about new campaigns. But I don’t often write about new campaigns that are directly connected to me. So let me get out my literary quick unpick and unweave the tapestry of advertising life as I tell you a tale that involves a series of moderately interesting things and events including, but not limited to, printed words, photography, nuptials, skybeasts, gifts, awesome art and a giant billboard.

Late last year, I met up with two fine chaps at Deus ex Machina in Auckland. They bought me a coffee, we laughed together as friends, I managed to convince them to write a story in NZ Marketing about what it was like to leave the mothership and start a new agency in TDT (These Difficult Times) and then they rode off into the sunset on their hogs. Those two chaps were Josh Lancaster and Jamie Hitchcock, the ex-Colenso creative team that set up their own shop Josh&Jamie and were bought out (in record time) by Assignment Group last week.

When we met they didn’t have an office and were actually working from the big tables of various cafes. Just over six months later and they’ve been handed the torch by the Godfathers of New Zealand advertising.

But I digress. Along with what was a very entertaining and enlightening article, the kind gentlemen also sent through a selection of photos to go along with the story and among them were a couple of paintings that were soon to be hanging in their office. “Me likey,” I said, when my eyes spied them. Turns out Lancaster splashed some paint on canvas in his spare time and had done a couple of cool Kiwi vistas.

A few months later, I was bewedded, if that’s even a word, to my ‘first wife’ in Wanaka. As is the custom there, after we signed the pre-nup we headed away in what the locals call a ‘Skybeast’ to gaze into each other’s eyes, roll in tussock and have photos taken on a mountain top. On the way, my brother-in-law, a talented photographer, took a photo of the view.

My parents wanted to get us something special for a present. I suggested another nice platter (you can never have too many). Or some habadashery. Or a novelty clock. But no. That wasn’t special enough. So eventually we decided to get Mr Lancaster on the case and for an undisclosed fee that, for reasons detailed below, has now tripled, quadruped or even quintupled, we gave him the photo and he painted it. Voila! We had a painting and it was called ‘Wanaka, Feb 26th’ AKA ‘View from a Skybeast’.

Just after collecting it, I got an email from Josh saying I should expect a call from someone at Colenso. The mystery Colenso human had gone to visit the J&J offices, saw the painting waiting to be collected and thought it would be perfect for a State Insurance campaign they were about to run. So they hired it off us for another undisclosed but suitably enormous fee and took it away for a few glamour shots.

The campaign, ‘My 3 Things’, which aims to find out just what New Zealanders care about the most, has just launched and whaddyaknow, there’s the painting in all its glory on New Zealand’s biggest, most expensive billboard site on the corner of Queen and Custom St in Auckland. Ah, the circle of life (offers above $20,000 considered).

Thankfully, the Colenso campaign our glorious painting is associated with is a very good one. It’s no ‘Pomparkour’, but hey, you can’t expect anything too cool (or any men jumping around on ladders) when you’re dealing with an insurance company.

Although it seems you can expect massive shoeboxes. To celebrate the launch of the campaign and get New Zealanders to share their three favourite things so that State can make money insuring them, a 7m x 4m x 3m shoebox was unveiled in Wellington’s Civic Square.

Here’s the TVC.

Youtube Video

And check out the website and add your things to the list here.

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