Tell your story: Colenso BBDO highlight Spark’s latest revamp to Kupu app

Colenso BBDO and Spark have joined forces to launch ‘Kōrerotia Tō Kōrero – Tell Your Story’ campaign, which aims to inspire Kiwis to tell their own stories in te reo Māori through Spark’s app Kupu.

Te Reo Māori translation app Kupu, launched in 2018, has recently undergone a revamp in time for te Reo Māori week, allowing users to weave up to four of their own photos into stories to be shared with whānau and friends.

The campaign features a heartwarming AV which tells the story of Tan, an immigrant to New Zealand who uses Kupu to learn te Reo Maori and ask his partner, and her whānau, if he can marry her. After learning the language, he not only finds a place within the family but in Te Ao Māori.

Filming the campaign took place during level two conditions with the shoot requiring a lot of contingency planning and foresight.

Spark’s campaign lead, Ingrid Bennie says the campaign builds on the emotional connection and trust Spark has built within the community through Kupu.

“We took a leap to create an AV that will resonate with people differently but we think conveys a powerful message of cultures coming together and the widening of worldviews in a beautifully intimate moment,” says Bennie.

“It’s one thing to market Māori culture but it’s another to give back to it in a meaningful way, so we’re incredibly proud and honoured to be in a position to do so.”

Spark’s commitment to encouraging te Reo Māori in the community can also be seen through their Facebook live lesson hosted by Stacey Morrison. The lesson is free for anyone to join and will help viewers upsize the stories they create on the Kupu app into full sentences, typically tricky for newcomers.

“Kupu has been our gift to Aotearoa to support the revitalisation of our greatest taonga, te Reo Māori,” says Spark Māori development lead, Riki Hollings.

“It has been a constant on our roadmap and really showcases how digital platforms can play a meaningful role in te ao Māori with the app having over 317,000 downloads, over 3.5 million translated images and over 7.4 million audio plays (word pronunciations) since launch.”

For Colenso BBDO, working alongside Spark for such an inclusive project was an honour.

“We couldn’t be more proud to work again on this with Spark. Their dedication to making the language more accessible to the entire country, and to get every detail right in the process is evident in the final outputs,” says Colenso group executive creative director, Dan Wright.

The campaign’s out of home and digital features stories created with the new Kupu functionality, while social influencers have been sharing their own stories as well.


Client: Spark

Agency: Colenso BBDO

Production Company: FINCH

Director: Zia Mandviwalla

Managing Director: Corey Esse

Exec Producer: Jimena Murray

DOP: Ziga Zupancic

Editor: Tim Mauger

Post production: Perceptual Engineering

Colourist: Matic Prusnik

Online: Jon Baxter at Perceptual Engineering

Music composition: Cam Ballantyne at Beatworms

Sound design: Franklin Rd

Sound Engineer: Shane Taipari

Partners: Te Aka Māori Dictionary and Google

Media Agency: PHD

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