Telecom strokes patriotic egos, tugs on heartstrings and gets back in the brand space

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Much like watching an All Black return from injury, the marcomms sector always keeps a very close eye on the communications work of companies that have recently suffered some kind of PR crisis. Certainly, when Telecom’s Paul Reynolds came out in his waders in Glenorchy after the XT debacle with an apologetic number asking New Zealand for forgiveness, opinions on whether or not this was appropriate spewed forth. Since then there have been plenty of ads promoting specific deals and products (sadly, the on-air proposal didn’t really work out either), but Telecom and Saatchi & Saatchi now appear to have resumed normal branding transmission with the release of a beautiful new TVC (by Prodigy films), print campaign and positioning statement ‘From here we can do anything’.

Of course, there’s plenty of work to do to improve Telecom’s reputation, not just because of the well-publicised mobile network outages, but also because of historical grievances during the monopoly/Gattung years, so instead of directly pointing at the wonders of Telecom, the new campaign has gone down a more indirect, feel-good and patriotic road.

Here at Telecom we believe that, for a little country, we punch above our weight. Maybe it’s our ability to dream, our tenacious spirit, or our ‘can-do’ attitude. Perhaps it’s because there is no one around to tell us what can’t be done, so we simply get on and do it. Our sporting endeavours, our strong political and global views, our entrepreneurial and artistic spirit, we have a DNA like no other.”

Or is it that we’re grounded people, a people who love our land, our home? Is it that for us a place as special as this needs to be kept close, while our dreams, whatever they may be, can be taken to the World?

Maybe it’s all of these things – A unique mix of ingredients that empower us to take on anything, anywhere we choose. Whether we’re dreaming big, aiming for our greatest achievements, or simply living with a sense of freedom and belief that – with a little help from the latest technology – we know that… from here we can do anything.

How true all this good-natured jingoism is these days when New Zealand looks like being equal with Kazakhstan by 2025 is up for debate, but there’s nothing wrong with a bit of optimism, and Matt Palmer’s TVC ‘Sunrise, Sunset’ aims to show how industrious Kiwis, this time two young tech-savvy friends, can share a moment from different sides of the planet with the help of technology.

Somewhere in the world right now the sun is setting, while somewhere else it’s rising. At Telecom, this is an idea that captured our imagination, so we set out to capture the magic of sharing a London sunset and a Whangamata sunrise, a true moment of connection from opposite sides of the world. Whangamata is 12 hours ahead of London for most of the year, it means that our two countries are close to 180 degrees apart in longitude. That’s the first requirement to make it possible. The second requirement is that both locations sit on the ‘terminator line’. This is the line that defines night and day (the same one that you see on maps when you fly overseas). The terminator line moves with the seasons as the earth turns on an imperfect axis, which is what makes some days long and others short. The result is that for a handful of days each April, London and Whangamata share a sunrise and sunset, as they are on opposite sides of the world and right on the terminator line.

When spoken to earlier this year (and after the XT outages) for a feature on the uber-competitive telco market, Telecom’s then director of brand and marketing Craig Herbison admitted that turning the brand’s perception around had been difficult. But he thought that attitudes were beginning to change. And he said people shouldn’t forget that Telecom is still a part of the fabric of New Zealand; the national telco, a local operator that had invested heavily in its new 3G network (and repairs and upgrades) and was competing primarily against multinational companies. And this beautifully shot tearjerker of a TVC with a pretty cool premise (especially if you’re a geography nerd) shows that New Zealandness pretty well.


Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi New Zealand
ECD: Dylan Harrison
Creative Group Head: Anne Boothroyd
Creatives: Dylan Harrison, Anne Boothroyd
Head of Content: Jane Oak
Group Account Director: Simon Wedde
Senior Account Director: Michael Healy
GM Marketing: Kieren Cooney
Head of Brand: Peter Loveridge
Senior Communications Manager: Arnna Conroy
Director: Matt Palmer
Producer: Caz Hearn
Production Company: Prodigy Films
Music: Liquid Studios

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