100% Middle-earth reaches China

China is the latest market to experience 100% Middle-earth, 100% Pure New Zealand with the rollout of an innovative and interactive online campaign and competition.

The campaign is aimed at encouraging Chinese to engage with Middle-earth experiences, showing them how easily the fantasy of Middle-earth can become reality in the form of a New Zealand holiday.

The interactive online experience invites users to draw images of Middle-earth scenes and landscapes onto a postcard. Once complete the cartoon drawing transforms into a real life image of a landscape within New Zealand, visually demonstrating to users that 'Middle-earth' is actually New Zealand. Users are then able to share their postcard from Middle-earth via social media channels such as Weibo increasing the reach of the campaign. Package tours to New Zealand are also up for grabs.

Tourism New Zealand's General Manager Marketing Communications Justin Watson says the booking habits of the China market are changing.

"Chinese travellers are big users of travel agents, and increasingly they are also using online channels.
"Our Middle-earth activity plays up to this changing behaviour encouraging consumers to engage with online channels, specifically newzealand.com, by inviting them to interact with Middle-earth experiences via an online competition to learn more about a New Zealand holiday.

"Currently 84 per cent of those that are aware of the Hobbit films know they are filmed in New Zealand - our job is to encourage these people to book their next holiday to New Zealand to experience the movie-like landscapes for themselves.

All activity is targeted at Active Considerers planning to travel during Chinese New Year in February 2013 - a peak travel period for the market and when travellers tend to go away for longer breaks.

"Getting Chinese travellers to stay longer in New Zealand is a key focus in all our work. Targeting bookings for the Chinese New Year period makes sense as they have more time to visit New Zealand and experience all that we have to offer," says Justin.

This activity follows the recent launch of the global 100% Middle-earth, 100% Pure New Zealand advertisement adapted for the market with a voiceover from Tourism New Zealand's Chinese brand ambassador Yao Chen.

Phase one of the activity ensures those Active Considerers wanting to convert their interest into travel can do so with information pages providing promotional airfare and package tours and themed itineraries for consumers interested in getting an idea of what a holiday in New Zealand could include.

Launched in October, the interactive campaign is being supported by online banner advertisements, search engine marketing and print media which directs traffic to the campaign site. Advertising screens in taxis in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou are also being used to promote the interactive campaign. Weibo is supporting the campaign by sharing campaign information and creating interactive activities to engage Weibo followers.

The campaign runs through until the end of January 2013.