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Whybin\TBWA, Assembly create virtual Middle Earth

Whybin\TBWA’s Digital Arts Network and Assembly have brought Middle Earth to life online for Tourism New Zealand. The tourism organisation is making the most of content developed for the Book of New Zealand, a digital installation in Los Angeles that promotes four locations used in the filming of The Hobbit sequel The Desolation of Smaug.

The so-called World’s Largest Pop-Up Book was also devised by Whybin.

The take a flight feature on the newzealand.com website asks users to ‘fly around’ the map of New Zealand, using their mouse to lead birds around the screen.

The experience is designed to show visitors the real story behind the filming locations: Hidden Bay (Ruapehu), Forest River (Marlborough), Lake-town (Lake Pukaki) and Beorn’s House.

Each location has cast interviews and images from the LA event.

The interactive website also has information and video about a range of Kiwi places on the map and users can also discover keys to unlock extra content.

“With the feature available in nine languages on newzealand.com, and its use of real elevation data to draw the diverse and scenic landscapes, the feature takes the 100% Middle-earth, 100% Pure New Zealand experience to a new level of engagement for our target markets,” says Tourism New Zealand CEO Kevin Bowler.

The newzealand.com site is now available in 20 languages. In 2012/2013 there were 14 million visits to the site and over 2 million referrals to travel sellers, up 53 percent year-on-year.

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