The Kiwi Sceptics is an online-only reality series that launched in Februrary 2012. Each episode of the Air New Zealand campaign follows an Australian ‘Kiwi Sceptic’ on their surprise journey across the ‘ditch’ to NZ. Each episode focuses on a particular type of sceptic like ‘The Hipster’ who thinks New Zealand is overrun by sheep and ‘The Bali Girl’ who prefers beach resorts and day spas. Sceptics are paired with a New Zealand entertainment personality who joins them on a specifically tailored trip based on the sceptics’ interests.
The campaign is the airline’s largest in the Australian market in the last 10 years. The focus on Australian sceptics came after research discovered that while there are 5.3 million Aussies who would consider New Zealand as a holiday destination, only one in five of these people actually made it across the ‘ditch’. The creative online content was aimed at the young and young-at-heart with the aim of breaking down traditional stereotypes that Aussie’s have of New Zealand. The mini-series depicts something for everyone, whether it is the picturesque scenery, thrill-seeking adventures or the inviting local culture.
The campaign was supported by the Nine Entertainment Company, which hosted a Kiwi Sceptics page within the ninemsn website. The rollout specifically bombarded Australian news and entertainment websites such as TheAge.com with advertising banners and video commercials and the series has received over 12 million views on Youtube.
After the online hype of the campaign had begun to subside, Air New Zealand released a final episode following Lara Bingle on a winter escape (see below). The latest episode reinvigorated the series’ social media presence as the promotion with Bingle heavily tapped into her extensive fan followings on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Air New Zealand took a leap in their choice of online content over traditional television advertisements and it certainly paid off. The airline won advertising awards for its ‘Branded Content and Entertainment’ at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.