VTNZ’s gone post-apocalyptic in a new brand platform, its first work with FCB, introducing its new (anti)hero Road Commander and his weapon-laden battlewagon.
While one wouldn’t expect a warrant of fitness to be front of mind of a battle-hardened road warrior, the new campaign ‘We’re on your side’ watches Road Commander get his battle wagon road-ready.
Monster truck-style with a prisoner chained to the back, the battlewagon resembles something from Mad Max, however, it quickly loses some of its grunt as the flamethrowers and harpoons have to go.
The Mad Max look is no surprise when looking at the designers, as Peter Pound, the head vehicle Designer from Mad Max: Fury Road was on the team. He was joined by Finch directors The Bobbsey Twins from Homicide, and production designer Guy Treadgold.
When approaching the campaign, FCB challenged itself to create a campaign front-person who would represent the most significant challenge for VTNZ to pass.
Tony Clewett, FCB’s executive creative director, says as the campaign unfolds, it comes to light that Road Commander is actually just like us.
“He shares all of our hopes and worries about getting his warrant, and desperately needs that little sticker.”
But Road Commander couldn’t be seen drive around in something like a Corolla Clewett says, adding the battle wagon was designed for the campaign and is pretty much road legal – once the harpoon, flamethrower and prisoner Gary are removed.
Gary, like the rest of the cast are real VTNZ staff and Melissa Cheals, VTNZ general manager of sales and marketing, says it reflects how VTNZ is like a family.
“We understand that life is full of challenges and we want Kiwis to win. Whether it’s passing your WoF, getting your licence, finding a great used car, or feeling confident and in control as you get ready to hit the road. Your success is our success. We’re on your side.”
The use of real staff continues on from its previous ‘On The Road Again’ campaign, that featured staff from across New Zealand singing and dancing around the company's workshop, using lights as microphones and pulling the odd Gangnam Style move.
Released in March 2016, that campaign was created by Assignment Group with the aim to increase the brand's relevance and make VTNZ known as "a place that keeps you and your vehicle safe on the road" rather than just a place for warrant of fitness testing.
That aim was achieved and for the effort, VTNZ picked up a TVNZ-NZ Marketing Award in the Automotive category last year.
The entry included post-campaign research revealing the ‘brand warmth’ and appeal had greatly improved, while market share decline was arrested and reversed.
It also showed VTNZ outperformed sales targets for its Basic Service product and ROI achieved for year one was positive at 33.4 percent.
The TVNZ-NZ Marketing Award win was followed by an agency pitch in May this year that saw FCB win VTNZ’s creative account in May.
As the time of the appointment, Cheals said the 'On The Road' campaign had warmed up the VTNZ brand, but it was time to build a deeper emotional connection with Kiwis.
Agency: FCB New Zealand
Production Company: Finch
Director: The Bobbsey Twins from Homicide
Music: Liquid | Peter van der Fluit