Bronze Spike
Product / ServiceCHRISTCHURCH
CategoryA01. Best Fictional Program, Series or Film where a client has successfully created a drama, comedy or miniseries around a product or brand
Contributing Company IRIS WORLDWIDE Sydney, AUSTRALIA
Production Company FINCH Sydney, AUSTRALIA

The Campaign

There are few if any restrictions or regulations regarding Branded Entertainment in Australia. However, the amount of Branded Content is so immense, that it is becoming harder and harder to achieve cut-through and, hence, an audience. Over 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute (from within Australia and beyond). By and large, an online film will no rarely go viral organically.


On February 22, 2011, a massive 6.3 earthquake struck Christchurch, the second deadliest natural disaster in New Zealand history. Christchurch was classified a disaster zone, not a place people would choose to go on holiday. Australia represents Christchurch's largest tourism market. By mid 2012, despite the fact that international arrivals were returning to almost pre-earthquake numbers, Australian tourism numbers were down a staggering 32%. New Zealand is Australia's closest neighbour and the countries share a long history of mateship. Australians thought it was too early to go back. Our challenge was to turn this sympathy into visits to Christchurch. We needed to reposition Christchurch from a city characterised by destruction and give permission to Australian tourists to return. Our idea was to ignite the banter between Aussies and Kiwis. Australia is famous for constructing 'big things' to attract tourists. A Big Pineapple (three storeys high) in an area where pineapples are grown; a giant sheep in a region famous for its wool. We asked Australia to do Christchurch a favour. To let us borrow one of their BIG THINGS, to attract Australians to Christchurch. We used Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker, the face of all the news coverage seen in Australia, as the face of our series. In the first episode, we meet Bob hatching his plan to bring Aussies back to Christchurch . He dispatches his assistant Keith to find a place to put a Big Thing, showcasing the attractions and beauty of Christchurch. In episodes two and three Bob and Keith go to Australia, asking local mayors and locals if they could borrow a Big Thing. As the series unfolds, it becomes obvious Bob's plan is somewhat crazy, but it consistently delivers the message that Christchurch is back open for business, and an interesting place for Australians to visit.

Bob Thinks Big was hosted on the Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism YouTube channel with YouTube pre-rolls and seeding on various blogs used to reach our audience. The three episodes also featured on a campaign microsite The series was a teaser to a wider campaign and had paid media support for a two-week period. For the remaining two and a half months of the wider campaign, the episodes continued to have a major presence on the microsite. Edited sections of the series were also picked up by Channel 7 and run in a substantial story on the National News.

Bob Thinks Big generated mass PR in Australian media, reaching over 4.4m Australians, appearing in the 6pm news bulletin and in over 38 press pieces. It was viewed 205,898 times on YouTube. It generated a +246% increase in unique site visitors to Christchurch digital platforms (target was +50%). We not only changed Aussie’s perception of Christchurch, we got them holidaying there immediately. Despite a 25% reduction in flights arriving into Christchurch from Australia, we generated a +12.6% increase in visitor arrivals into Christchurch, stopping a downward trend – the original target was a +2% increase. In addition to driving an increase in arrivals, we got Aussies spending more, generating a +112% increase in total expenditure by Aussie visitors at i-SITE Tourist Centre (booking activities, accommodation). In the following quarter after launch, the campaign generated a +9% increase in ‘Intention to Visit’, the highest ever attitudinal shift in Christchurch’s history indicating, despite the tragic earthquake, we had convinced Aussies to return to Christchurch. The Branded Entertainment series was part of a wider campaign generating an ROI of 540%. For every $1 spent, we generated $5.40 in incremental revenue, this equated to an additional $AUD2.7m injected into the Christchurch economy.


Name Company Position
Rowan Townsend Christchurch/Canterbury Tourism GM Marketing
Tim Hunter Christchurch/Canterbury Tourism CEO
Scott Walmsley Editor
Graeme Ross DOP
Sophie Thiellon Finch Producer
Michael Hilliard Finch Executive Producer
Rob Galluzzo Finch Executive Producer
Alyssa Mcclelland Finch Director
Dan Pankraz iris Worldwide Planner
Felicity Andrews iris Worldwide Senior Account Manager
Simon Porter iris Worldwide Managing Director
Brad Jones iris Worldwide Art Director
Phil Shearer iris Worldwide Associate CD/Writer
Tom Hoskins iris Worldwide Creative Director
Darren 'Bear' Collins iris Worldwide Head of Digital