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 withered.
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 newzealand.com website.
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 backdrop.
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 strategy.
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 message.
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.
Published in PATA Compass March-April 2012