The Last Word - by Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive
Kevin Bowler's column, as published in PATA Compass March-April
Sustaining a single campaign for more than a
New Zealand is a country of innovators, and no other industry
reflects this better than tourism. We invented the jetboat and
ski-plane, and made plunging off bridges attached to a 'rubber
bungy cord' into a world phenomenon.
It's no surprise then that New Zealand can boast both the
world's oldest national tourism organisation and one that has
pushed the boundaries of tourism marketing.
In 1999, Tourism New Zealand launched the '100% Pure New
Zealand' advertising campaign. It was the first time the country
had one consistent message in all of its tourism markets around the
world. The campaign was developed to be clear and concise: to
communicate a single message about New Zealand that captured the
imagination of our target market.
Now some 13 years later, 100% Pure New Zealand is one of the
world's most well-respected tourism campaigns. It is used in all of
our international marketing work including advertising, events,
international PR activity and online marketing.
The ability to sustain a single campaign for more than a decade
is down to a few key themes.
Firstly, the core of the campaign is grounded in truth and it's
a truth that can be translated across countries and even most
languages. When first launched, the campaign was tested in a number
of English speaking and non-English speaking countries. They all
related to the meaning behind 100% Pure New Zealand.
The campaign also reflected the essence of what a trip to New
Zealand is all about and over the years the tourism industry has
worked hard to ensure we deliver 100% Pure New Zealand experiences.
Had there been a great disconnect between the message and the
actual experience of visitors, then the campaign would have
Secondly, the campaign has evolved over the years. Although its
essence has remained constant since its inception, there have been
a number of evolutions that support its longevity.
In 2007, 'The Youngest Country' became the central theme for the
campaign as an extension to the original. 100% Pure New Zealand was
retained as the umbrella, with its new tagline concluding each of
the new film clips and all new marketing material pointing to the
Then in 2010, research suggested New Zealand could improve its
appeal by personalising its marketing message and focusing on more
than stunning landscapes and awesome scenery. The addition of more
people allowing us to show their experiences in New Zealand was a
logical step. Authentic and memorable experiences become the major
draw card, while New Zealand's beautiful scenery and environment
continue to be a vital part of the ongoing story as the
The campaign can be and is modified to suit different audiences
and nationalities. In Germany we run the 100% Pure campaign with a
twist that focuses more on the sense of isolation New Zealand can
offer, it has a theme 'Discover New Zealand and find yourself' to
encourage potential travellers to discover the country with all
their senses. In China, the message is that 100% Pure New Zealand
'revives you' reflecting the most compelling driver for Chinese to
visit New Zealand.
Each of these localisations is driven by research that supports
in-depth understanding of our target market, and what resonates
with them. 100% Pure New Zealand allows us to keep the essence of
the campaign consistent, but tailor the message to suit the unique
drivers of our different audiences.
Finally, as digital media really took off, we were able to
translate the campaign accordingly. It seems unbelievable now that
it would be a radical marketing move to have a website for your
business, but when the campaign was first launched in 1999, Tourism
New Zealand was one of the first national tourism organisations in
the world to use the Internet as an integral part of its marketing
Tourism New Zealand continues to innovate with its marketing
activity, being the first to place tourism information on Google
Earth, the first to take over YouTube with destination marketing,
and with its increasing use of other social media tools sharing New
Zealand's tourism attractions with the world. With a dedicated
YouTube channel and FaceBook page 'Pure New Zealand', Tourism New
Zealand continues to explore new channels for its 100% Pure
While our marketing methods continue to evolve and change, our
core message has remained consistent for the past 13 years making
it the key contributor to the success of New Zealand being one of
the most enduring and desirable destinations in the world.