Has advertising found its manners?

  • Voices
  • July 3, 2019
  • Simon Lendrum
Has advertising found its manners?

A few weeks ago I left agency land for a dip into the real world. It’s been a refreshing combination of digital cold turkey, road trips back and forth between Auckland and Northland, and the peace, calm and tranquility of being underwater. As I came up for air last week I realised that back in agency land it was Cannes week. While I’m sure there was a lot of back-slapping for ideas well made in France, I encountered a couple of ideas closer to home that made me take notice—despite all attempts to continue my advertising detox—and deserve a nod of approval.

The latest content series from Tourism NZ is noticeable because it’s a short-form content series that has, well, an idea at the heart of it. Now I’m sure most content creators will bristle, but let’s remember that having the product in the video is not an idea; using Instagram is not an idea; influencers is not an idea; putting a grade or unusual font on the film is not an idea.

Being one of the first places on earth to see a new day roll around, and wanting to wish the rest of the world good morning each day, is an idea. There’s nothing forced about New Zealanders wanting to say good morning to the world – we’re first to rise and we’re a nice, friendly, courteous lot.

Now, I’m not saying it’s the best, most original idea I’ve ever seen, but it doesn’t need to be. It’s just a good case of professionals at work – providing the thread that will sustain a year of good mornings, plenty of beautiful scenery, and ensuring that the people of New Zealand become as much a part of our marketing as the place. Job done.

No sooner had Tourism New Zealand reminded me that we’re a friendly bunch, along came BP with another example that we just can’t have too many manners. As we’re merrily saying good morning to the world, we’ll also be saying thank you to our fellow drivers with the help of the backlight green thumbs up that BP is giving away to help us reward good driving etiquette.

I love this idea on many levels. First, for its simplicity. We haven’t got a convention for saying thank you when we’re helped with a lane change, so now we have. Strategically, it aids a much bigger challenge for a brand like BP. In the coming months, many New Zealand drivers will have a little button sitting inside their car in clear sight, which is nothing more than an illuminated BP logo. Every time that little button is pressed, it’s attached to the warm glow of saying thank you. As a brand owner who relies upon every little nudge possible to increase visitation, it’s a cracking idea. As a reward for a $60 fill, it does mean it’s not going to end up in every car across New Zealand, but I suspect it will result in a good spike in average fills in July.

So, with ‘good morning’ and ‘thank you’ now taken care of, look out for the next brand to climb on board the manners bandwagon. ‘Sorry’ could have several takers, but you’ll have your own thoughts on that.

  • Simon Lendrum is the former managing director of JWT New Zealand.

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