Behind the scenes of ‘Life Needs More Sky’

Having under-invested in the Sky brand for some time, and with brand health declining, the entertainment company teamed up with DDB Aotearoa to reignite a latent love for Sky, which meant enlisting an adorable cast.

At the end of 2019, Sky had enjoyed great success with its ‘Life Needs More Sport’ summer campaign, with
the fondly referred to ‘streaking baby’ TVC going on to be lauded as New Zealand’s Favourite Ad of the Year. Mimicking the iconic streaking we often see at sporting events, in the ad the main talent – a cheeky toddler – escaped his dad and sprinted down the beach, bearing all. Accompanied by the ’60s classic Let It All Hang Out by The Hombres and commentary from Ian Smith, it perfectly captured the joy of sport and the carefree spirit of a Kiwi summer. 

But although Sky is synonymous with sport, the entertainment company knew it needed to play a bigger role in the lives of all Kiwis – now and in the future. Sky needed to be reinvigorated with a fresh brand platform and create a launch campaign that would engage emotionally with all New Zealanders in a way that was entertaining, relatable and a little bit charming.

Eighteen months ago, the project started with a brief to redefine Sky’s brand purpose. Working with TRA, it became: ‘To make life more entertaining for all New Zealanders’. 

“We felt that this was ownable and true because of Sky’s unique ability to deliver world-class sport and entertainment content to all New Zealanders – to their home, screen or local pub,” says Sky New Zealand’s Head of Brand & Sport Marketing Helen Fitzsimons. “Sky has an unparalleled slate of sport and entertainment content. Whether it’s the Olympic Games, a test match, an Oscar-winning blockbuster movie or an HBO series, they’re full of extraordinary moments, scenes and quotes that stay with us, permeating our culture and becoming part of our social fabric. But it’s also the little moments that Sky provides, especially the ability to escape into your Sky experience at the end of the day.

“We saw this idea extend into our Sky Broadband launch – a broadband product that was ‘Made for Entertainment’, which launched in a very entertaining way. Our ambition is to make every interaction with the Sky brand an ‘entertaining’ one, and therefore a positive one.”

Through a new campaign with DDB Aotearoa, Sky ultimately wanted to provide its audience with a moment of joy, and through this moment of joy deliver the brand promise that ‘Life Needs More Sky’. Building on the ‘Life Needs More Sport’ platform, it was to provide another enduring yet simple idea to connect with audiences. 

Helen says, “This brief was about reigniting a latent love for the Sky brand by helping Kiwis feel something for Sky again.”

Directed by Joel Kefali and produced by Andrew McLean, of Good Oil, the resulting ‘Life Needs More Sky’ launch film was set on a New Zealand farm and featured a montage of iconic movie and television quotes delivered by animals – demonstrating how much-loved entertainment permeates life no matter who, or what, you are. 

Damon Stapleton, at that time Chief Creative Officer at DDB Aotearoa, was the brains behind the operation, the sound was by Franklin Rd and the music was by Mahuia Bridgman-Cooper.

From the “You talkin’ to me?” rabbit to the “We’re going streaking!” cow, audiences would be hard-pressed not to find a moment of joy when watching the talking animals. Fans who dived a little deeper would discover that the goat, ‘Gerald Gruff’, is a big fan of highbrow shows; the horse, ‘Donny Von Trotter’, loves watching the Melbourne Cup; and the tortoise, ‘Arnold Shellsworth’, keeps his finger on the pulse with the latest blockbuster movies. 

DDB Aotearoa Lead Business Partner Karla Fisher says the unexpected delivery highlights just how iconic these cinematic moments are – that even when completely divorced from their original context, they’re still immediately familiar. “Shared entertainment is bigger than any one series or film – it often leaves a mark on us long after we’ve turned off the screen. The brand platform reflects this idea, and this campaign brings it to life in a fun, eye-catching way.

“Through this work, we wanted to communicate the magic of entertainment and how Sky delivers that magic. This campaign is the first phase of the journey and we’re looking forward to seeing where we can take the brand platform in the future, and how we can bring these characters to life in the real world over the coming months.”

Given the recent Covid-19 lockdown the country has faced, the campaign – which launched on August 11 with a 60” film, and extended across TV, cinema, OOH, digital and social media – couldn’t have come at a better time, as people increasingly turn their attention to light entertainment.

“We all know the role entertainment provides in normal times, but this becomes exponentially significant during a national lockdown,” says Helen. “We’re able to provide our customers with hours of quality content that can inform and entertain them and their families while they’re stuck at home.”

It also comes as Sky TV reported an above-forecast net profit of $47.5 million for the year to the end of June, and forecast it would grow its revenues in the current financial year for the first time since 2016. The number of subscribers for its streaming services rose 57 percent on a ‘like for like basis’. The company’s content deal was also recently renewed with Warner Media, which brings with it HBO and HBO Max.

Sky TV Chief Executive Sophie Moloney says Sky’s ambition was to achieve revenue growth of $75 million to $100 million by 2024. “A key learning from the last lockdown was ‘Light-hearted is good’,” she says, so although Sky boasts an enviable sports line-up over the year, programmes such as reality show Love Island and comedy The White Lotus have been doing exceptionally well on Sky and its streaming Neon service recently. 

This means fans of Sky can expect more light-hearted campaigns to come. Helen says that ‘Life Needs More Sky’ is just the beginning of Sky’s new brand story, ‘The Watch’. “You’ll start to see our animals appearing all over the place as we continue bringing them to life for our customers and all New Zealanders.”

Although its still in its infancy, Sky will measure the success of ‘Life Needs More Sky’ through the company’s brand health metrics – brand edge, unprompted awareness and brand consideration – as well as customer engagement metrics including NPS and CSAT. As of early September, the YouTube video has already racked up more than 192,000 views. 

“It’s early days, but we’ve had a very positive response from Sky crew, the industry and across our social channels,” says Helen.

The campaign’s marketing objective was to improve brand love and consideration. With comments on social media such as, “I could sit all night watching this advert” and “Whoever came up with this campaign deserves a handshake”, it would appear they’ve already achieved just that.

This article was originally published in the September/October 2021 issue of NZ MarketingClick here to subscribe.

Avatar photo

About Monique McKenzie

Monique McKenzie is a Content Producer who writes across the ICG Media Business Titles.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *