Excellence in Long-Term Marketing Strategy 2022

Wanting to challenge Aotearoa’s stereotypes about tradies, and identifying that parents were the biggest barrier to joining the trades, BCITO set out on a mission to change people’s perceptions of going into the trades.

Trading up perceptions

With the construction industry in New Zealand growing, and construction businesses often struggling to recruit staff, the industry is in need of a steady stream of new talent to keep up with the demand.

From 2011 to 2018 BCITO’s enrolments were stagnating. To fulfil the organisations duty to the sector and the nation, BCITO needed to convince more young people to choose a career in the trades.

Although the facts about getting an apprenticeship are enticing on their own – qualifications without debt, great work/life balance, good money and opportunities for advancement – the reality is that “hands-on” work is undervalued in the 21st century.

The trades are constantly battling the stigma as an inferior choice compared to going to university and getting a career in the ‘knowledge economy’.

Digging into what was behind these damning preconceptions, BCITO found parents had the last say when it came to choosing between university or an apprenticeship.

So, to remove this barrier, BCITO’s campaign needed to persuade prospective apprentices by persuading their parents.

Just stating the facts of the many benefits wouldn’t be enough to change people’s minds – so BCITO turned to the power of emotional storytelling focusing on the age-old dynamics of the father and son relationship. 

Here the ‘Tricky Chat’ trilogy was borne.

The campaign, with episodes in 2019, 2020 and 2021, followed Michael, an aspiring Kiwi tradie and his accountant father who was struggling to accept his son’s choice of career.

Connecting with audiences by entertaining them via TV, cinema, outdoor and social, the campaign reflected back the outdated views of parents, while highlighting the benefits of working in the trades.

And it worked. These days more people than ever are choosing the trades as their first choice rather than their back up plan.

Among BCITO’s target audience of parents, ratings of the trades as a good career doubled from 25 percent to 50 percent between March 2018 and November 2021. Perceptions among the Pasifika community also improved from 23 percent to 43 percent positive over the same time period and among Māori they improved from 26 percent to 45 percent.

By August 2021 research found that each of these audiences had a net positive perception of a career in construction.

The campaign also developed and evolved, reacting to business realities and tackling topics such as gender imbalances in the trades, by consciously depicting female role models and representation of Pasifika and Māori in roles of responsibility. 

This campaign is a real-life example of the power of storytelling over just telling the facts. By connecting through a relatable, humorous, and emotional story, BCITO effectively busted the myths about trades.   

Excellence in Long-Term Marketing Strategy


Marketing Initiative
The Tricky Chat Trilogy

Marketing Partners
EightyOne; MBM; Assignment; Mediacom

Judges’ Comments
“This entry demonstrates positive use of insights to drive a strong long-term marketing strategy delivering perception and generational change.”

Beam Suntory; Burnett Foundation Aotearoa; FMG; KiwiPlates; Lion; Lumino The Dentists; Restaurant Brands;

Enter the 2023 TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards

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Excellence in Long-Term Marketing Strategy sponsored by Are Media

This award recognises marketing excellence over a sustained period of no less than three years. The award will go to the company or brand that best demonstrates how a superior marketing strategy, consistently applied, has driven business improvement over time. Note: You are not eligible to enter the Excellence in Long-Term Marketing Strategy category if you have won this category in the past three years.


This article was first published in the 2022 September/October issue of NZ Marketing magazine. You can subscribe to the magazine, here. Or read the other winner stories, here.

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