Last updated: 09:30 AM ET, Wed June 24 2015

Tourism New Zealand Pivots its Marketing

Destination & Tourism | James Ruggia | June 24, 2015

Tourism New Zealand Pivots its Marketing

The new campaign from Tourism New Zealand puts people in the landscape instead of Hobbits (photo courtesy of Tourism New Zealand)

Well, with Mordor laid low and Frodo, Bilbo, and the Dwarves retired to enjoy their hearths and homes in the shire, Tourism New Zealand (TNZ) is making a pivot in its promotional direction.

The new approach will showcase the country's range of activities and the easy proximity of the two main islands. A new commercial campaign debuting on July 1 will emphasize how seamlessly travelers can go from one experience to the next in dramatically different landscapes. On the strategic side, TNZ is evolving its 16-year-old logo mainstay “100% Pure New Zealand” with a change in font that emphasizes a Maori sensibility.

Rangi Kipa, an artist whose work is at the forefront of contemporary Maori art adds an extra element of authenticity to the logo’s font by carving it in native Kauri timber using traditional Maori skills, which were then inked, printed, and digitized to create a distinct and original typeface and logo mark they are calling “Pure Pakati.” The grain of the kauri timber has become part of the visual identity that TNZ will use in all its work.

“This font has been designed by our people and created from this place,” said TNZ Chief Executive Kevin Bowler. “It is truly, authentic New Zealand and we are confident that no one else in the world has created their graphic design for their destination campaign like this.”

It’s the first change for the 100% Pure New Zealand logo since it was created 16 years ago by former TNZ head George Hickton. According to Bowler, “The (new) font had to retain the essence of the existing 100% Pure New Zealand logo but introduce an authenticity of our people and this place, making it something that can only be from New Zealand,” said Bowler.

According to Bowler, the past three years of 100% Middle-earth, 100% Pure New Zealand have been “extraordinarily successful with international visitor numbers at record levels, but it is now the right time to move the campaign on.” Hard to argue with Middle-earth’s success, in March, the Hobbiton Movie Set, near Matamata in New Zealand’s Waikato region, welcomed its one millionth visitor. Hobbiton is now one of New Zealand’s most visited tourist attractions. New Zealand visitor arrivals for the year ending in April 2015 were up 9.8 percent, with U.S. arrivals up 12.4 percent to 229,776.

Diversity of Adventure

The new story line will be “Every day a different journey.” The commercial will appear on television and in cinemas in Australia, and online and in paid online media activity across all TNZ priority markets, including the U.S. The new look and the commercial seem to be striking a new direction that is still rooted in Middle-earth but with a pivot. The adventures of Hobbits are giving way to human adventures. In the commercial a couple explores various landscapes in the country as if they were on a quest for an authentic spiritual revitalization. Moving from setting to setting, the couple visits Milford Sound, Abel Tasman, Lake Taupo, Hobbiton, Waiheke Island, Auckland, Fox Glacier, Rotorua, Lake Rotoiti, Cathedral Cove and Lake Pukaki, all in two minutes.

All of these changes come just as TNZ has made Bjoern Spreitzer general manager of the Americas and Europe division based in Los Angeles, replacing Gregg Anderson. Spreitzer was previously the International Business Events Manager with TNZ in Auckland. “It’s an exciting time to be joining the Western Markets team, with visitor vacation numbers out of the USA currently enjoying double digit growth," said Spreitzer.

The New Zealand government has committed to an investment of $6 million over the next four years for Maori tourism in recognition of the importance of Maori culture to promoting the country overseas because it’s a major source of national pride, not to mention a tourism draw. On June 4, a referendum elected to build the Hundertwasser Wairau Maori Arts Centre in Whangarei. The economic demand for the center comes from a growing cruise market that needs an art and culture attraction for cruise passengers. Over the 2013/14 season, New Zealand’s Bay of Islands received some 68,000 cruise ship passengers and officials are expecting an extra 30,000 next season.

In December Air New Zealand (ANZ) will expand its North American presence by opening a fifth gateway with nonstop service between Houston and Auckland up to five times per week. Air New Zealand’s Star Alliance partner United Airlines, which has a large Houston-based hub, will codeshare into Houston from numerous North American cities. In December, ANZ will celebrate 50 years of flying from North America later this year. With the addition of Houston, Air New Zealand will offer direct service to New Zealand from five North American gateways, also including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Vancouver, and Honolulu.

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