WEATHER IN ELVISH

TitleWEATHER IN ELVISH
ClientTOURISM NEW ZEALAND
Product / Service100% MIDDLE-EARTH, 100% PURE NEW ZEALAND
CategoryA03. Best Use of Live Events and/or Celebrity Endorsement
EntrantWHYBIN\TBWA AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND
Entrant Company WHYBIN\TBWA AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND
PR Agency ELEVEN/PR Auckland, NEW ZEALAND

The Campaign

New Zealand is a small country on the far side of the world. With a tiny population, and a budget to match, we’ve got a big task on our hands letting everyone know exactly where we are, and what you can do here, and in doing so, making us a must-visit destination. And in 2012 Tourism New Zealand got a once in a decade opportunity to catapult New Zealand into the spotlight thanks to the making of Sir Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. If you’re a fan of Tolkien, then one place is synonymous with Middle-earth, and that is New Zealand. New Zealand is Middle-earth on Earth. Where Gandalf strides, Hobbit’s walk, and Gollum creeps. So this year, we aimed to earn as much media as we could by using our association with all things Middle-earth. Thus, “100% Middle-earth=100% Pure New Zealand was born. A campaign created with the permission and involvement of Sir Peter Jackson’s Wingnut Films and Warner Brothers. All our campaign activity needed to live and propagate online, and drive global traffic to our gateway portal newzealand.com, and/or to our travel partners. On the morning of the film’s premiere in Wellington, and without warning, we broadcast the nation’s weather forecast entirely in Elvish. We worked with broadcaster TVNZ to make it happen, and used one of the world’s only Elvish coaches and groomed the TV presenter for a week so his pronunciation would be perfect.

The Brief

Make New Zealand a must-visit destination by taking advantage of a once in a decade opportunity of NZ being catapulted into the spotlight thanks to the making of Sir Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. So this year, we aimed to earn as much media as we could by using our association with all things Middle-earth.

Results

This was reported far and wide by the BBC and the Daily Mail. The footage was also available for repeat viewing on youtube, TVNZ ‘OnDemand’ and the Pure New Zealand facebook page. Hundreds of thousands of Elvish nerds also spread the word online. (And commented how good our Elvish grammar & pronunciation was.) In effect the whole stunt was a 2 ½ minute branded content piece that hi-jacked the news and made a ‘mecca’ out of Matamata, putting the actual site of Bag End and Hobbiton on the global traveller’s map. And on Trip Advisor.

Execution

We found one of the world’s only ‘Elvish’ coaches, and for a week trained TVNZs weather spokesman in the language. Then, come the day of The Hobbit’s premiere, and without any notice, we broadcast the nation’s weather forecast entirely in Elvish. Being a ‘weatherman’ the spokesman could quite naturally comment on how good the weather was at Bag End in Hobbiton, over extended footage of the place. The actual film site is now a draw card tourist attraction with Hobbit Holes to explore, a beautiful millpond with a water wheel, and the actual Green Dragon pub, which now serves the actual beer drunk by Hobbits in Tolkien’s stories. In effect, it was a 2 ½ minute branded content piece that hi-jacked that day’s news.

The Situation

This was a once in a decade opportunity for Tourism New Zealand to leverage the fact that The Hobbit trilogy was being filmed on New Zealand soil, by Sir Peter Jackson. Tourism New Zealand is a taxpayer funded, government backed entity that reports directly to the Minister for Tourism - a post held by the Prime Minister Mr John Key. TNZ carries the huge responsibility of representing the Nation to the world, and 4,000,000 Kiwis, being stakeholders, would be very vocal in their opinion about the campaign. It was a high stakes investment.

The Strategy

If you’re a fan of Tolkien, then one place is synonymous with Middle-earth: New Zealand. New Zealand is Middle-earth on Earth. Where Gandalf strides, Hobbit’s walk, and Gollum creeps. So this year, we aimed to earn as much media as we could by using our association with all things Middle-earth. Thus, “100% Middle-earth=100% Pure New Zealand was born. Using the nation’s weather forecast we were able to hit the local audience with two minutes of specially prepared content on the morning of the premiere in NZ. The content showed Bag End and Hobbiton ( a real tourist attraction) in glorious weather. Fans could share the footage from TVNZ OnDemand. The Premiere was also timed to reach western markets in LA for maximum coverage. The footage was made available to broadcast partners and was also commented upon and shared by overseas media figures in NZ for the Premiere.

Credits

Name Company Position
Mandy Eckford Whybin \ Tbwa Auckland Account Director
Sam Kwan/Patrick Li Dan Auckland Developer
Andrew Zen/Nigel Mchardy Dan Auckland Production Specialist
Jonathon Mead Dan Auckland Senior Designer
Louise Leitch Dan Auckland Project Manager
Stephanie Creasey Whybin \ Tbwa Auckland Account Director
Natasja Barclay Whybin \ Tbwa Auckland Group Head
Andy Mauger Curious Producer
Jim Mauger Curious Editor
Darryl Ward Curious Director
Matt Noonan Curious Executive Producer
Curious Curious Production Company
Hristos Varouhas Whybin \ Tbwa Sydney Strategist
Julie Mciver Whybin \ Tbwa Auckland Planner
Chris Lewis Whybin \ Tbwa Auckland Designer
Ross Howard Dan Auckland Digital Creative Director
Cece Chu/Craig Brooks/Andy Blood Whybin \ Tbwa Auckland Art Director
Ryan Price/Andy Blood/Tammy Keegan/Lucy Morgan Whybin \ Tbwa Auckland Copywriter
Mark Zeman Dan Auckland Creative Director
Andy Blood/Matty Burton/Dave Bowman Whybin \ Tbwa Auckland/Whybin \ Tbwa Sydney Executive Creative Director