With New Zealand’s international border being closed during Covid lockdown, Fiordland was hit harder than most, but an innovative idea by Great South replaced international tourists with local visitors.
Island time on a shoestring budget
In a fight for domestic tourists, who would have thought an hour of extra daylight would be the key attraction? Well, if it means more time for visitors to paddleboard the lake, take a flight over the sounds or hike one of the three Great Walks around Te Anau, then perhaps it is.
On 26th September 2021, New Zealanders turned their clocks forward one hour, but for one small town located in the heart of Southland, Te Anau announced that while the rest of the country would be turning their clocks back in April for Daylight Savings, they would not be joining – essentially creating – their own breakaway time zone.
The campaign put Te Anau on the map. A world-class, innovative PR hook proved its merit through overwhelming national engagement and media, sparking an even wider conversation around the role Daylight Savings plays in New Zealand.
Incentivising everyday New Zealanders to visit the small town, through providing them with an extra hour of daylight to tick off all their holiday activities, was supported through the actions of the Te Anau community with the townspeople excited and energised.
With only a shoestring budget, the PR launch of ‘Te Anau Time’ was supported by a master video, running on social channels, OOH and digital activities. These were activated a week after the PR launch to continue the momentum of the campaign. A focus was to ensure the campaign made sense on its own, without prior knowledge of the PR stunt.
The concept of the feeling of ‘Island Time’ when holidaying featured on digital billboards highlighting the benefits of Te Anau with the headline, ‘Get on Te Anau Time.’
The marketing team developed an operators’ toolkit which was supplied to the various operators throughout Te Anau. Doing so, not only helped them with how to best talk about the campaign, but also allowed the reach of the campaign to broaden through the user-generated content, which was created by operators and shared across social channels. By collaborating with the operators on this campaign it also allowed Te Anau Time to be ownable by them, and this was reflected through the specials and deals they offered such as longer happy hours or extended lake cruises.
A PR budget of $3,200 generated $400,000 of earned media, 1.25 million reach (40 percent of New Zealand’s adult population), 16,554,000 opportunities to see, and most importantly, record-breaking visitor numbers.
Te Anau Time was a hot topic, creating a massive online buzz, covered by most major Kiwi news outlets. The campaign caused an 86 percent increase in unique website page views, an increase of nearly 10,000 more unique page views compared to previous year. Average time on page increased by nearly 20 percent.
The people of Te Anau took the concept to heart and owned their campaign despite one minor challenge, with a few people turning up an hour late for tours or bookings as they had put themselves on Te Anau Time – a small hiccup in an extremely successful campaign, rolled out on less than the budgeted $28,905.
This article was originally published in the September/October 2022 issue of NZ Marketing. Click here to subscribe.