An unlikely partnership: Tourism NZ and Facebook unite to launch a global campaign

Tourism New Zealand has taken the unique approach of teaming up with Facebook and production company Symphony to create an online series for its latest campaign which follows the adventures of a young couple travelling around the country in a Kombi.

The series, called The Kombi Diaries consists of five short films following an American couple’s trip around New Zealand and will feature across nine markets including Australia, the UK, the US, Germany, Japan, Brazil, France, India and Indonesia Tourism New Zealand senior communications advisor Trish Green says. “The material is launched from our overseas offices … to tie in with our international marketing in key markets.”

The couple miss the train to Wellington from Britomart and instead embark on a Kombi road trip where they experience New Zealand’s epic landscapes, locals and some naughty Keas. An incessant ukelele plays in the background which seems to be a hallmark of tourism commercials these days.

The creative was developed to work across Facebook and Instagram.

Tourism New Zealand’s director of marketing Andrew Fraser says it was increasingly important to be able to work effectively across all digital platforms and working directly with Facebook was a great opportunity to ensure the campaign used the most effective best practice techniques.

“Essentially what we did was go to Facebook and ask them to create a content idea that addressed some of the barriers faced by people who are actively considering coming to New Zealand. Our research showed that while this audience understands the epic landscapes, there are gaps in their knowledge regarding their perceptions of our infrastructure, ease of travelling around New Zealand and the variety of things to do and see,” he says.

“These are the people Tourism New Zealand wanted to target. They are not the fly and flop type of visitor. They are the type of visitors looking for real experiences and appreciate authenticity and that is what The Kombi Diaries is about,” Fraser says.

He says the Facebook Creative Shop was on the road trip, collaborating with the production crew and shooting their own content. “The Facebook team provided two strong insights. The first was a technique to start each of the films in reverse to grab attention in the opening seconds and keep people watching to the end. The second was around length, to not be restricted by 30 or 60 seconds, and make the films as long as was necessary to tell the story and remain interesting.”

Facebook Creative Shop’s Gavin Carver says: “This was a pure creative collaboration among people who, traditionally, would never have worked together. It’s paving the way for how we grow clients’ business, build story-driven content and creatively inspire each another. Symphony really understood the opportunity to tell brand stories on our platforms and the result is world-class.”

Tourism New Zealand is redefining marketing for this category, he says. “They have married art and science to create content that is relevant and engaging for a global audience on Facebook and Instagram.”

Symphony’s client liaison Peter Moore says: “To be able to target stories into the Facebook medium and have them integrated into a global promotion is not the near future, but the now reality of brand storytelling. It’s fantastic to see Tourism New Zealand embracing this.”

Green says New Zealand has had 2.99 million visitors for the year ending June 2015.

Campaign credits:

Facebook Creative Shop team

Gavin Carver

Stephen Vallera


Director: Glenn Jameson

Executive Producer: Peter Moore

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