Short List
Product / ServiceSKINNY
CategoryG01. Local Brand
Idea Creation COLENSO BBDO Auckland, NEW ZEALAND
Media Placement PHD Auckland, NEW ZEALAND
Post Production LIQUID STUDIOS Auckland, NEW ZEALAND
Additional Company PLATFORM 29 Auckland, NEW ZEALAND


Name Company Position
Piers Bebbington Colenso BBDO Managing Partner
Thomas Darlow Colenso BBDO Creative Director
Thomas Darlow Colenso BBDO Creative Director - Copywriter
Luke Dawson Colenso BBDO Art Director
Serena Fountain-Jones Colenso BBDO Senior Integrated Producer
Natasha Gill Colenso BBDO Head of TV
Troy Goodall Freelancer Photographer
Josh Hart-Vrijkotte Colenso BBDO Designer
Jason King SixtyFour Retoucher
Beth O'Brien Colenso BBDO Creative Director
Levi Slavin Colenso BBDO Chief Creative Officer
Michael Swinburn Colenso BBDO Copywriter
Sarah Williams Spark Tribe Lead Brand Experience
Kat Tadaki Colenso BBDO Art Director
Emma Leisegang Colenso BBDO Business Director
Elsi Gibbs Colenso BBDO Business Manager
Amy Pollok Colenso BBDO Senior Planner
Ally Young Skinny Chapter Lead - Brand Marketing
Hunter Haines Skinny Brand Partner - Social
Frith Wilson-Huges Skinny Chapter Lead - Social
Janine Casis Skinny Paid Social Partner
Otto Gebhard Skinny Automation Analyst
Steve Imm Skinny Skinny Product Owner
Krissy Martin Skinny Customer Marketer
Shannon Evans Skinny Skinny Mobile Product Owner
Steve Hay Skinny E2E Journey Specialist
Gareth Killip Skinny Chapter Lead - Skinny DevOps
Rhys Huber Skinny Customer Marketer - Trade
Emma Biggs Skinny Legal Business Partner
Ryan Drew Skinny Chapter Lead - Performance Marketing
Amelie Schoen Colenso BBDO Digital Producer
Lee Thomson Good Oil Producer
Andrew McLean Good Oil Executive Producer
George Mackenzie Good Oil Managing Director
Dave Wood Good Oil Director
Crighton Bone Freelance DOP
Simon Njoo Freelance Editor
Pete Ritchie Freelance Colourist
Richard Betts Blockhead VFX Online
Craig Matuschka Liquid Studios Sound Engineer
Tamara O'Neill Liquid Studios Executive Producer
Shirleyanne McDonald-Shaw Liquid Studios Producer

Why is this work relevant for Media?

The best creative use of media is one that turns everyday customers into lifelong brand evangelists. By this criteria, this campaign is a world-class example. Skinny, a low-cost Kiwi telco, unleashed the power of their happy customers in one of the greatest media-led audio-visual campaigns in the history of New Zealand’s telco market.


New Zealand is home to Skinny Mobile; a low-cost telco with only a 10th of the ad spend of their nearest competitor. Seen as a small market player, it was hard enough for consumers to even know about them, let alone consider joining them. But those that did join Skinny loved them, which is why, despite having only 23% awareness, they had won the Consumer NZ’s People’s Choice Award 5 years in a row. That’s why our brief was simple; take the smallest brand, with a tiny budget, in one of the world’s most tight-knit countries, and grow them into a mass-market player.

Describe the creative idea / insights (30% of vote)

The idea was to try and reach everyone in New Zealand with an ad hosted by someone they knew. A direct, word-of-mouth campaign that operated as a nationwide broadcast. We cast hundreds of Skinny customers from all around the country and made them stars of their own campaigns. Then we gave each one of them a media budget to target their ads to their friends, family, workmates, and acquaintances. To shoot that campaign we flew each of the happy Skinny customers to Auckland, put them up in a 2-star hotel, and made them work 14 hours a day for the measly pay of $1000 for 3 day’s work, and talent usage fees in perpetuity. Despite this low-cost treatment, they loved us for it, becoming HUGE advocates for the brand, happily being interviewed by local newspapers and radio stations, and turning into better evangelists than any paid celebrity money could buy.

Describe the strategy (20% of vote)

A Nielsen report on the efficacy of word-of-mouth shows that recommendations from friends and family members are 92% more effective than regular ads. That’s why our target audience were the friends, family, and workmates of each of our happy Skinny customers. And every other New Zealander too. We cast them from all over the country so that their influence would go as far as it could. Then we geo-targeted them, alongside out-of-home, radio and social to reach those most likely to recognise them. Wherever they worked, played, lived, or even grew up, they were visible. After that, we handed over our tiny media budget, and helped them to target people they knew on whichever social channels they were on. They told their friends, who told their friends, and so on, and so on. That’s how a tiny telco turned each of their happiest customers into their own media channel.

Describe the execution (20% of vote)

We shot hundreds of identical spokesperson campaigns, with hundreds of identical 30-second TV ads, hundreds of identical billboards, bus shelter ads, radio spots, and social films. Every campaign was identical to the one before it, except it featured a different happy Skinny customer with the same dialogue, same settings, same looks to camera, and the same jokes. Some of those customers spoke different languages, so we shot the campaigns in their native tongues, with straight translations from the English script. We flew each cast member to Auckland for a 3-day shoot, where they lined up to take their turn to deliver their line to camera. In the process, our cast became the most tight-knit group of brand evangelists on earth – taking every opportunity to sign their friends and family up to Skinny, despite being paid almost nothing for their efforts.

List the results (30% of vote)

The Skinny Friend-vertising campaign reached 98% of New Zealand. Skinny’s consideration rose from 32% - 44%. Skinny’s awareness rose from 23% - 38%. Skinny’s Net Promoter Score (NPS) rose to 58%, well above Verizon (7), AT&T (15), and T-mobile (35).

Please tell us about the brand in relation to the locality or market where the product / service is distributed

Skinny mobile was a tiny brand with a tiny budget that used New Zealand to its advantage. The best thing about this small country, is that it’s a small country. That means everyone knows someone, who knows someone, who knows someone. That’s why this tight-knit community of five million people and thirty million sheep made it possible for Skinny to turn their happiest customers into a media channel, and produce a campaign that operated at a national broadcast level. In other words, this kind of local media idea could only work in New Zealand. And it did.


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