From the outside looking in: Paul Brazier on the rise of Kiwi advertising

How things have changed over the past few years. New Zealand is now punching way over its weight in the ad business. For decades, New Zealand creatives simply didn’t have the budgets that the bigger markets had. But, as the best ad people do, they have turned this negative into a positive and worked out how to use these small budgets to make big, world beating campaigns.

They are working in a market where they can engage communities and really capture their imaginations. They were one of the first countries to realise that the answer is broader than TV. In saying that, the heritage of great traditional advertising coupled with a great film industry doesn’t do any harm.

The work on Yellow in particular is universally envied, and I use the case study daily as an inspiration to creative teams and a provocation with clients. There is of course an interest in New Zealand’s broader creative output, following the Peter Jackson effect (never has one man done so much individually to elevate an entire country’s creative reputation).

I think the biggest tribute to the work is that it’s not just the best work in New Zealand, or even that it’s work from New Zealand, these are simply great ideas that require no caveats or cultural translation. The thing that the industry in New Zealand seems to be particularly good at nowadays is ideas that put all the pieces together; creating narratives that unfold across media and across time.

I guess it’s a compact market that knows itself and its audience very well, and communicates to them with confidence and bravery.

And no more excuses at D&AD. We expect to see work from New Zealand do well following recent successes. The bar has been raised in the last few years. New Zealand is no longer judged for being good work from a small market. It’s just seen as being good work.

  • Paul Brazier was named as the chair of D&AD in 2010 and is the executive creative director at Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, London.

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