Behind the Scenes with Trustpower and Art & Industry’s ‘Lost and Found’

With the belief that emotional brand advertising should sit at the heart of a successful long-term marketing campaign, Trustpower and Art & Industry set out to create a strong, emotional story that people would really feel. 


When an ad for a predominantly regional electricity supplier is met with such feedback as “It doesn’t feel like an ad” and “Don’t tell anyone this, but I cried”, you know a successful campaign has been pulled off. And with their 90-second TVC ‘Lost and Found’, which debuted in October last year, that’s exactly what Trustpower achieved. 

With emotional advertising front of mind, Trustpower teamed up with agency Art & Industry to develop the concept. Chris Dudman was enlisted to direct and Age Pryor was given the difficult task of capturing the right emotion in his original music. ‘Lost and Found’ tells the story of childhood sweethearts Mel and Toby, who are reunited later in life as the result of an accident. It’s the first creative execution under Trustpower’s new ‘Meant
to be together’ brand platform. 

In order to maximise the emotional response, behavioural insights company NeuroSpot came on board to carry out testing at both the concept and offline edit stages. Head of Brand at Trustpower Carolyn Schofield has a background in science, and thanks in part to her personal interest in how the company can use neuroscience and behavioural science to increase marketing effectiveness, Trustpower are one of the earliest adopters in New Zealand of using neuro-research to optimise creative effectiveness. It’s something that’s integrated into their creative process. 

“Over the past 10 years or so, there’s been a shift in thinking about how to build brands and what makes advertising effective,” says Schofield. “The work of people like Binet and Fields, The Ehrenberg-Bass Institute and WARC has demonstrated the importance of investing at a brand level to achieve long-term growth.” 

Cole Armstrong

Having worked with NeuroSpot before (previous campaign ‘We’ve Got The Time’ achieved brand consideration +20 percent, brand recognition +77 percent and prompted brand awareness +14 percent), Trustpower was keen to continue the partnership with ‘Lost and Found’. “At both stages, we were focused on people’s emotional responses, evident from their physical or neurological feedback,” says NeuroSpot Managing Director Cole Armstrong. “This allowed us to move past what people told us and access moment-by-moment subconscious responses that people might not be able to describe.”

Work on the project started at the beginning of 2020, with the aim of going into production during Q2 – but Covid-19 had other ideas. “We then scheduled the shoot for what turned out to be the first week of Auckland going back into Level 3, so we had to postpone again,” says Schofield. “Although this meant we went to air several months later than initially planned, these enforced delays did give us the luxury of extra time to reflect on and refine our ideas.”

When designing the original brief, inspiration was taken from the likes of Centraal Beheer’s ‘No matter how smart you are, bad shit happens’, Specsavers’ ‘It’s embarrassing/painful if you can’t see clearly’, Mastercard’s ‘The best things in life money can’t buy’, Red Bull’s ‘The great feeling of overcoming a challenge’, and Lotto’s ‘Having lots of money gives you extreme independence’. The final storyline Trustpower chose to tell was that of destiny – that some things are just meant to be together and that against all odds, the stars will align. The line that wraps up the story, ‘Meant to be together’, connects back to the four Trustpower utilities (electricity, broadband, gas and mobile) being gathered together in one bundle.

“Naturally, the interpretation of the brief gets reshaped slightly by the ideas that come out of it, and it’s always interesting to look back at the original after finishing a project and see how the thinking around the task has evolved,” says Art & Industry Creative Director Daniel Crayford. “Our only concern was whether the audience would accept the connection and relevance of the story to Trustpower, but right from the early research it was clear that people thought the story and the brand were a natural fit. The ad felt like Trustpower.”

Trustpower’s advertising tracking research shows that since its launch, the TVC has been performing very well against norms. On ad diagnosis, statements such as: ‘The ad was very enjoyable to watch’ is 34 percent above norms and 55 percent higher than Trustpower’s last TVC; ‘The ad was unique and different’ is 11 percent higher than norms and 17 percent higher than Trustpower’s last TVC; and for the statement ‘The ad stirred your emotions’, ‘Lost and Found’ scored 70 percent higher than Trustpower’s last TVC.

“When you look at advertising recall per TARP, ‘Lost and Found’ has the strongest recall of any TVC we’ve run in the last seven years, so it’s achieving cut through,” says Schofield. “What’s also pleasing is that our advertising tracking shows that people are continuing to enjoy the TVC on repeat viewings. The number of people agreeing with the statement ‘You are getting tired of seeing this ad’ is only a quarter of the number of people who agreed with this statement. We’ve also had the most positive anecdotal feedback we’ve ever had about any of our advertising.”

In addition, since the TVC launched, Trustpower’s new customer acquisitions have been 20 percent above forecast. With results that speak for themselves, it’s no wonder Schofield is more than pleased with the final product.

“I love it,” she says. “The universality of the idea of two people who are meant to be together, the sense of nostalgia for the quintessential New Zealand childhood summer, and the beautiful music all combine to make a TVC the whole team is very proud of.”

Carolyn Schofield

Not only is ‘Lost and Found’ a touching campaign, but in the context of a Covid-hit 2020 – which introduced Kiwis to lockdowns, isolation and social distancing – the idea that two people can reconnect by chance was
also timely. For Armstrong, it was the little touches, such as the flowers flying through the air when the cars crashed and the close-up on the faces at the right time, that culminated in a great story and carried the viewer along throughout the TVC. “To me, it’s a great example of how science can support a great creative concept, leading to a great outcome,” he says

Neuroscience at work

One of the outcomes of becoming emotionally excited is that your skin sweats a little bit more and becomes a better conductor of electrical signals from within the body. In the case of Trustpower, NeuroSpot invited different customer segments into a focus-group setting at the concept-testing stage, where they played three different animatic concepts. Sensors measured the physical changes of excitement evident from their skin response – an indicator of greater or lesser emotional response. 

At the offline edit stage, NeuroSpot looked to go deeper, to better tell the Trustpower story and improve brand attribution. At this stage, they used an eye-tracking camera while people were watching the ad to measure their neurological response and what was capturing their attention. This meant NeuroSpot could identify scenes that were emotionally underperforming and see where they could be tightened up, and where they needed to focus people’s attention more tightly on branding.


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

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