TVNZ rolls out Survivor with a burst of contemporary style

With Survivor New Zealand set to hit screens on 7 May, TVNZ has released another round of its campaign with a colourful, energetic video via TVNZ Blacksand, as well as unveiling the contestants.

While a programme in which contestants are stranded on Nicaragua drums up images of the jungle, and filthy and fatigued contestants, the video instead shows the contestants running through concrete rooms, bathing in a beautiful bath, dodging balls, being sandwiched between two walls and chewing on gum.

There’s also a few crocodiles, cheetahs and spiders added into the mix to show the danger contestants will be faced with, alongside the words dehydration, exhaustion, isolation, desperation and pressure.

The unexpected style of the campaign continues the theme it rolled out earlier in the month, which was about warning contestants to watch their backs and the audience to expect the unexpected.

Executive creative director Jens Hertzum says the idea came from the fact Survivor has twists and turns that audiences often can’t see coming.

“We’ve always seen that as powerful and interesting because you cannot predict what is coming next.” 

He adds TVNZ Blacksand also wanted to take the well-known platform and give it a contemporary and fun feel that would appeal to Survivor fans as well as those who aren’t familiar to it.  

“When you think of Survivor, you think of people on beaches or the jungle and we wanted to present it in a more contemporary way,” he says.

This has been added to with the bright colours that aren’t typically associated with the Survivor programme.

Outside of the videos, the fun continues in a series of out-of-home campaign pieces that match the warning messages to different locations.

There’s an image of the contestants at an Auckland Airport baggage carousel with a warning that ‘they all have baggage’ as well as a warning about travelling to Nicaragua.

It’s supported by a billboard on a bridge warning that ‘bridges will be burnt’ and campaign products placed around train stations which feature the contestants with text about one departure every week.

“We had fun with the theme of the show and applying them to contextual outdoor positions with our media planner Starcom,” Hertzum says.

As well as promoting what’s to come in Survivor New Zealand, an important part of the campaign was to reiterate the fact that it’s a New Zealand based format. Hertzum says that while it obviously comes across clearly in the logo, the fresh vibe gives it a feel like no other previous series of the programme.

“We wanted people to go ‘holy cow, that’s a New Zealand format’,” he says.

“People thought we would shoot it on Waiheke Island or maybe in Fiji and the fact that it’s Nicaragua shows that this show is top class and sits there amongst the international versions really nicely.”

This week has also seen the unveiling of the 16 contestants after a series of teaser videos and images that obscured their faces. As well as GIFs with their pictures on the Survivor New Zealand Facebook page, there are a series of videos on YouTube featuring each of them in front of the camera talking about themselves.

Hertzum says it wants people to embrace the contestants and it’s shot extra video content with each of them that will go live on the Survivor New Zealand Facebook page when the programme goes to air.

Making an appearance in the campaign videos is Gem Finance’s logo as it’s the broadcast sponsor of the programme alongside other key commercial partners Pizza Hut, Alison’s Pantry, Spark and Repel.

Hertzum says there will be a lot of brand activity surrounding the programme and Gem Finance will also be sponsoring a ‘Play of the Week’ segment in an extension show.

Called ‘Little Survivor’, the extension will see a shipping container set up outside TVNZ’s central Auckland site, which will be used to provide extra content such as post-show analysis and interviews for TVNZ’s online channels. The ‘Play of the Week’ segment will feature panel discuss which contestant made the best game play that week.

Survivor New Zealand will air every Sunday and Monday night from 7 May. 

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