Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency (WREDA) has launched an interactive tourism campaign to encourage people to visit the city, but they won’t be traveling alone. Visitors to the campaign's website can pop the question to their loved ones 'Will You Welly Me'.
Created by Wellington agency Special Ad Service and digital agency Resn, the campaign sees Westside heart-throb Xavier Horan play the role of the city’s poet, minstrel and messenger of love Claude Manheart, who recites the poems while playing the piano in Wellington’s Government House.
To personalise the poem, users can choose the features of their loved ones they marvel at the most, including ‘physique’, ‘powerful thighs’ and ‘scent’.
There is also a range of admired qualities to choose a list including a ‘sense of fun’, ‘tenderness’, ‘naughtiness’, ‘sense of adventure’ and ‘spontaneity’, and reasons for the weekend getaway including ‘to escape the kids’, and ‘to celebrate’.
The compliments are combined with suggestions of places to visit in Wellington to create a poem that can be shared with a special someone via email or, for an even grander gesture of love, social media.
General manager of marketing and destination for WREDA Adele Fitzpatrick says the campaign is about highlighting Wellington’s great offerings.
“We believe winter should be enjoyed and not endured, and the capital is the perfect spot for a spontaneous winter," she says. “The capital has a lot on offer to entice visitors in the coming months, from foodie experiences at Visa Wellington On a Plate and Beervana to the Royal New Zealand Ballet season of Giselle and brilliant exhibitions at Te Papa and City Gallery.”
Special Ad Service’s Scott Henderson (who was previously at Y&R) says ‘Will You Welly Me?’ reflects the capital’s charm and excitement.
“In the middle of a Kiwi winter, you need something to help warm your heart. The goal of this campaign was to deliver a fun social invitation as fresh, unexpected and memorable as the capital itself.
“Luckily, poetry’s mighty stallion, Claude Manheart, was ready to lend a quill – along with the just-a-little-talented team at Resn – to help thousands of Kiwis find their winter escape.”
‘Will You Welly Me’ is the second phase of WREDA’s domestic winter marketing campaign, following ‘It’s never just winter when it’s in Wellington’. Set to ‘Walking in a Winter Wonderland’ the spot follows a couple enjoying the city's eateries and attractions, urging New Zealanders to enjoy the cold in the capital.
At the time, Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency CEO Chris Whelan said it’s important for Wellington to maximise winter’s potential as its visitor economy is growing, with domestic commercial guest nights tracking at 7.5 percent growth in the financial year to date.
Its growth is a continuation of that already achieved between 2010 and 2015, during which domestic guest nights in Wellington grew by 22 percent in the period from March to July, compared with 18 percent across New Zealand as a whole.
The latest extension of the campaign is certainly quite a bit of fun, but it does raise an important question: is Claude Manheart, in fact, the alter ego of former Saatchi & Saatchi executive creative director Antonio Navas?