Bronze Spike

Case Film

Presentation Image

Product / ServiceSPARK
CategoryA09. Consumer Services / Business to Business
Idea Creation COLENSO BBDO Auckland, NEW ZEALAND
Media Placement PHD Auckland, NEW ZEALAND
Production CREATURE Auckland, NEW ZEALAND
Production 2 FRANKLIN RD Auckland, NEW ZEALAND
Additional Company GOOGLE ZOO Sydney, AUSTRALIA
Additional Company 2 TE AKA MāORI DICTIONARY Auckland, NEW ZEALAND


Name Company Position
Nick Worthington Colenso BBDO Creative Chairman
Levi Slavin Colenso BBDO Chief Creative Officer
Dan Wright Colenso BBDO Executive Creative Director
Mike Davison Colenso BBDO Creative Director
Alex Polglase Colenso BBDO Art Director
Joel Francis Colenso BBDO Copywriter
Freddie Coltart Colenso BBDO Senior Art Director
Matt Williams Colenso BBDO Senior Copywriter
Dean Pomfrett Colenso BBDO Design Director
Steve Pountney Colenso BBDO Digital Services Director
Tennille Barnes Colenso BBDO Head of Digital Production
Claudio Varoli-Piazza Colenso BBDO Senior Digital Producer
Emma Tait Colenso BBDO Digital & Data Strategist
Michelle Hong Colenso BBDO Senior Integrated Producer
Ryan Butterfield Colenso BBDO Business Director
Charlotte Eddowes Colenso BBDO Project Manager
Nick Salter Colenso BBDO Strategy Director
Jacqui Copas Colenso BBDO Group Business Director
Vanessa Nicol Colenso BBDO Managing Partner
Cameron McColl Colenso BBDO Agency Editor
Sarah Williams Spark Brand Center of Excellence Lead
Hannah Bay Spark Brand Lead Partner
Lisa Paraku Spark Business Manager - Maori, Spark Digital
Ellie Cross Spark Corporate Relations Partner
Anaru Tuhi Spark Corporate Relations Partner
Georgina Maguire Spark Brand Partner - Social
Matty Burton Google ZOO Chief Creative Officer
Dave Bowman Google ZOO Chief Creative Officer
Iain Nealie Google ZOO Creative Director
Tara Mckenty Google ZOO Creative Director
Samuel Payne Google ZOO Strategist
Mathew Tizard Google ZOO Creative Technologist
Chris Rollings Google ZOO Executive Producer
Professor Tania Ka'ai Te Aka Maori Dictionary Professor of Maori Innovation and Development, AUT Director of Te Ipukarea - The National Maori Language Institute
Dr. Dean Mahuta Te Aka Maori Dictionary Senior Lecturer at AUT and Maori language researcher at Te Ipukarea - The National Maori Language Institute
Danushka Abeysuriya RUSH Technical Director
Trevor Gamon RUSH Project Manager
Trevor Gamon RUSH Project Manager
Olivia Dela Rosa RUSH Project Manager
Chris Skilton RUSH Account Manager
Logan Maire RUSH Technical Lead
Aaron Neugebauer RUSH Senior Developer
Adam Kent RUSH Developer
Rupert Ta'avao RUSH Developer
Harry Jackson RUSH Developer
Kit Chen RUSH Developer
Sugandha Narang RUSH Quality Assurance
Kim Baldwinson Creature Producer
Lakshman Anandanayagam Creature Visual Effects Artist
Tiki Taane Tikidub Productions Cultural Ambassador
Ninakaye Taanetinorau Tikidub Productions Manager


The global connectivity enabled by smartphones is contributing to the decline of indigenous languages everywhere. On average, one indigenous language dies every 14 days. While New Zealand’s te reo Māori has seen an increase in revitalisation efforts, learning opportunities remain limited. Just 3% of the population speak te reo fluently. As a Kiwi company and leader in technology, Spark - New Zealand’s largest telco - was in a unique position to help and deliver on their purpose: to help all of New Zealand win big in a digital world. Our vision was to provide Kiwis with a more accessible and easier way to learn te reo Māori than ever before. Our goal was simple: encourage Kiwis to download Kupu for free and explore the world around them with it.

Describe the creative idea

Powered by Google Cloud Vision and Translate APIs, with knowledge from Te Aka Māori Dictionary, Kupu uses Machine Learning to understand objects in your photos and translate them into te reo Māori, in real time. It serves up the most likely translation and audio pronunciation, then provides other options for what it detects in the image. It also lets the user input words and make corrections, so the app is constantly learning and iterating. To deliver a cutting-edge learning experience, Spark partnered with Te Aka Māori Dictionary and Google to create use the technology that’s part of the problem to contribute to the solution. Te Aka’s partnership has also delivered audio pronunciation guides for te reo words – a powerful feature that encourages non-native learners to speak the language with confidence.

Describe the strategy

As one of the countries most established brands, Spark believes its’ purpose includes tackling the countries’ national and cultural challenges. And being one of New Zealand’s largest mobile providers, the opportunity appeared obvious: the answer was already in 3.8 million Kiwis’ pockets. It is widely accepted that language learning benefits greatly from the reinforcement of vocabulary and concepts through pictures, so Kupu’s image-based learning outputs are not only fun, but effective. And so the Kupu app was our answer designed to make te reo learning easy and accessible for everyone. And with Māori Language Week, we had an opportunity to reach and engage all New Zealanders with a mobile experience that tapped into a widespread pride of and growing desire to embrace NZ’s Māori culture and traditions. The proposition was simple: Take a photo, learn a language.

Describe the execution

As Kupu is a modern way to learn an indigenous language, we used the theme of raranga (traditional Māori weaving) as design inspiration – a metaphor for the galvanising effect of learning the language of another culture. We embraced black and red as synonymous with Māori culture, and licensed the image of a Māori girl with a traditional moko kauae on her chin –the perfect mix of modern and traditional. During Māori Language Week, we blanketed Kiwis with contextually targeted translations of everyday objects wherever they turned, heroing Kupu’s camera viewfinder to transform every placement into a Kupu experience. On bus backs, we translated an image of ‘bus’ to ‘pahi,’ like you’d see using the app.On TV and YouTube, people watching cooking shows saw translations for ‘herbs’ and‘bread.’ The SOW was approved in November 2017. The app went live in the App and Google Play Store on 8 September 2018.

List the results

In the first two weeks, Kupu had 120,000 downloads, 2 million image translations and 2.5 million audio plays (word pronunciations), exceeding download targets by 650%. Kupu was the #1 trending app on the App Store and Google Play stores. The app garnered an estimated earned media reach of 6.4 million. Interaction rate was 4,372%, meaning the average user took 15 photos and played 29 audio clips. While it’s difficult to track shifting attitudes to language, 58% of our audience said Kupu positively affected how they view Spark, and 70% believed Kupu raised the profile of te reo Māori. Kupu recently won the Supreme Award at the 2018 National Māori Language Awards. As a testament to our enduring commitment, Kupu’s technology is now rolling out globally, free to use with any indigenous language worldwide.


Application URL