Behind the Scenes with Special Group and Tourism NZ’s ‘Good Morning World’

Tourism New Zealand

What do you get when you ask a whole bunch of proud Kiwis to share their little slice of paradise with the rest of the world, every day for 365 days? A genuinely warm ‘Good Morning World’, a feeling of being part of the whānau and a Global Effie. 


As if the magnitude of producing a multi-region advertising campaign to run the course of a year – complete with 92 days of filming (the equivalent of three and a half feature films of footage) creating over 2900 outputs – isn’t a mean achievement on its own. To be named as one of only three agencies in the world to win at the Global Effie: Multi Region competition, may give some indication as to just how special Tourism New Zealand’s ‘Good Morning World’ campaign is. 

The campaign, co-created between Special Group’s New Zealand and Australian offices, saw every day New Zealanders say “Good Morning World” for 365 days of the year. On the back of the success of the campaign, it’s the first time a New Zealand agency has been recognised with a Global Effie Award – honouring the world’s most effective marketing campaigns which run across multiple regions.

“To be named one of the three most effective campaigns in the world is some achievement. Add to that the pencils Tourism New Zealand received for Good Morning World at D&AD, One Show and AWARD, and you have the perfect recognition for such an important piece of work,” says Tony Bradbourne, CEO of Special Group.

According to Bradbourne, the campaign has gone on to significantly increase brand love for New Zealand in the key markets targeted, including Australia, China, UK and USA. “Appeal increased across the board between three and nine points. In Australia this had been hovering  around the 60 percent for the past three years, but since Good Morning World this has jumped to 68 percent, breaking all records.”

In addition, Good Morning World grew the number of people demonstrating intent to book, with an incredible 1,590 percent increase in searches for “New Zealand” after the first weekend of activity in the Australian market. “Tourism New Zealand’s audience tracking revealed a significant increase in travellers who had successfully now been moved into a ‘booking mindset’ for an New Zealand holiday, seeing intent to book rise between three and and nine points in key markets,” Bradbourne adds.

In Australia the campaign generated $7.3 million Equivalent Media Value (EAV), with Good Morning World reaching 17.2 million Australians in the process through total earned media and social coverage, with videos achieving an incredible 605, 214, 279 impressions across all markets. 

So, what went into producing such impressive results? 

With visitor numbers plateauing and even declining in some regions, Tourism New Zealand tasked Special Group with reviving and evolving a 20 year creative platform, ‘100% Pure NZ’, to communicate the feeling people have when they leave New Zealand – one of family and coming together in this unique part of the world.

 “The Good Morning World campaign was a global gesture of welcome that demonstrated Kiwi’s 100% Pure New Zealand welcome. As the first country to see the sunrise each day, it saw New Zealanders have the official role of greeting the world to each new day with a ‘Good Morning’ to the entire planet,” explains Rory Gallery, Special Group Head of Strategy.

A different Good Morning to the World was produced and put into key markets every single morning for an entire year. 365 New Zealanders sharing the things and places they love, in unscripted, personal messages.

The team at Special Group worked with Sweet Shop to produce the videos, directed by Dylan Pharazyn and Charlotte Evans. Bradbourne was the driving creative force behind the entire campaign and even directed the first and last spots as well as a few along the way. The creative agency’s production company Nimble also shot a lot of extra content for markets and trade.

“We worked with the brand team here in New Zealand to develop the Good Morning World platform but a key part of its success was working with the market teams in each region to understand how it would adapt and be flexible for each market. We worked with the local teams on the ground and a global media agency to bring it to life in different ways, with different support plans. Throughout the campaign period we had briefs flying in for how we could extend into trade, PR, Rugby World Cup finals, when famous Kiwis were back home,” says Gallery.

One of the most special things about this campaign – and possibly speaks to why it was so successful – is that everyone who contributed to a video was genuine and real. “New Zealand at its best. The beauty of Good Morning World is the simplicity of the shooting format. We travelled the country capturing Kiwis in their favourite spots, but also encouraged user generated content, we did a call out via social media channels and got a huge amount of great responses – even from Sam Neill,” adds Storm Day, Special Group Head of Account Services.

“The passion and pride that Kiwis have for New Zealand – and their desire to share it with the world and demonstrate the Kiwi welcome is pretty special,” adds Gallery. And that’s saying something coming from an Irishman.

From a production perspective, the team say this was one of the most complex campaigns they had worked on, but with each shoot the team got better and more nimble. 

“It was a big change in approach, from the traditional approach of shooting one single highly crafted 60 second film, to 365 unique pieces of film fronted by genuine New Zealanders. It’s this different approach, and the genuineness at the campaigns heart, that has been a major part of its success. It’s clocked up over 12 million comments throughout the year. Ending with many overseas followers of the Instagram channel pleading desperately for it to continue. Comments you just don’t get from traditional advertising,” says Bradbourne.

Obviously, capturing enough content to be live every single day for 365 days was a significant challenge, and to achieve this the team chunked it down to seasonal shoot blocks plus an even more nimble team to activate topical opportunities for each market as they arose. “As a team we became extremely efficient and found a way to deliver scale that is both manageable and affordable,” adds Gallery.

The focus now, as New Zealand and the rest of the world grapple with the Covid-19 pandemic, is how to keep brand New Zealand alive in the hearts and minds of the world when people can’t travel here. “As an extension to this, we’ve kicked off a platform called ‘Messages from NZ’ which enables Kiwi’s to send a message to the world,” says Bradbourne.

In the words of Tourism New Zealand, the campaign has been “their most successful ever” in the 20 year history of 100% Pure New Zealand.

“Good Morning World surpassed all our expectations and reignited people’s desire for a New Zealand holiday. This is the highest performing campaign we’ve ever done, from both a long-term brand building perspective and a short-term motivation,” say Brodie Reid, Director of Marketing at Tourism New Zealand.

Bradbourne says that the team at Tourism New Zealand trusted his team from the start and the work is testimony to the strength of the relationship and the shared passion they all have to create amazing work that will make a difference. “We are all pretty proud that we pulled this off. The campaign had to adapt for each market and everyone could see the potential and the flexibility of Good Morning World as a creative platform. It was a true team effort – everyone rolled up their sleeves and got involved. The commitment, trust and dedication from Tourism New Zealand and the industry-wide support was amazing.” 

Speaking with his CEO hat on, Bradourne says that the lessons learned from such an incredibly complex campaign has forced the agency to evolve in terms of how it approaches other projects. “I think every project has a bunch of learnings that you take forward in to the next one. We have a mantra at Special that we apply to every task and every decision we make. ‘Will it make a difference?’

“Everything we do needs to make a difference – the importance of asking this question at every step is how we challenge ourselves to be better, to box above our weight and to choose to work with incredible partners like Reid, Jill Chestnut and their team at Tourism New Zealand.”


This article was originally published in the September/October 2020 issue of NZ Marketing. You can subscribe to the magazine, here.

About David Nothling-Demmer

David Nothling-Demmer is Editor of NZ Marketing magazine.

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