Gold Spike

Case Film

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CategoryB10. Sponsorship & Partnership


Name Company Position
Tobey Duncan Host Planning Director
Hadleigh Sinclair + Jack Delmonte Host Copywriter + Art Director
Dennelle Exton Host Group Account Director
Bob Mackintosh Host Executive Creative Director

The Campaign

Enter #AirlineWager. A campaign that saw Air New Zealand and Qantas raising the stakes on one of the biggest sporting events of the year. With both airlines’ teams in the final, they had a wager over the outcome of the match via Twitter. The discussion between the brands and resulting pay-out went on to become a global news story. It all started with a tweet from Air New Zealand to Qantas - a wager over the result of the big game. Qantas agreed, and in the days that followed, Air New Zealand proposed to Qantas that if they lost they’d paint their planes black. Qantas replied with their own paint job suggestion and #AirlineWager began to trend globally.


For the 8 weeks of the Rugby World Cup social media posts and teaser videos from Air New Zealand’s social media channels invited expats to register for a Wake Up Call online. Users entered their details, then chose what time they wanted to be woken up - early on to watch the pre-game coverage, or just before kick-off to catch the national anthem and haka. Fans could then drift off to sleep happy in the knowledge that in the early hours of the morning they’d receive a tailored call from ‘the boys’ to wake them from their slumber.

Despite being competitors, Qantas and Air New Zealand worked together to create a complimentary narrative to a global event. Together, they entered into the spirit of the game and the tournament. Their efforts humanised their sponsorship of their sides. No longer were their names just printed on the jerseys of the teams, each party proved that they were truly fans and in doing so won admiration from the global rugby community. Both the exchange of tweets between the two brands, and the eventual outcome of the wager, were covered extensively both locally and globally - a $0 media spend garnering 2,300 mentions in mainstream media. 16.3 million impressions were recorded online in just one week. #AirlineWager trended on both Twitter and Facebook and reached over 2.5 million people in Australia and New Zealand through the airlines social media channels alone.

The Situation

This initiative between two rival airlines during the Rugby World Cup, one of the top ten sporting events in the world, was brave and unexpected. When most sponsors jump at the chance to put their names to teams, both airlines instead slipstreamed existing cultural conversations, and added another narrative for publishers, fans and followers to engage with. The narrative was coloured with risk for both airlines who were unyielding in humanising their support for their teams, with both dignity and even livery on the line. And despite so much being at stake for both airlines, both came out winners.

The Strategy

Fans got involved, and suggested their own outrageous ideas. But after some back-room negotiating, a more realistic, but equally humiliating pay out was agreed on - the losing staff, from ground crew to the captains would wear the winning team’s uniform the day after the match. The game was played, and New Zealand won. Qantas came good on the wager, sparking a second wave of global media coverage. Twitter was the obvious choice for the conversation between the two brands. The approach - to create a narrative via this channel that’d capture.


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