Excellence in Marketing and Communication Strategy 2022

As domestic travel boomed in New Zealand during the pandemic, NZ MOUNTAIN SAFETY COUNCIL took this opportunity to further its mission and values to make the outdoors safer for the public, while also preparing for international visitors.

Keeping Kiwis safe outside

It has been a long-term mission for the NZ Mountain Safety Council to make New Zealand’s backyard a much safer place. 

According to insights by the NZ Mountain Safety Council, many preventable incidents often occur across the country, sometimes leading to people never returning home. 

On average, 4000 people are injured annually on New Zealand mountains, with more than 500 requiring search and rescue. Six people each year never make it home.

This data was a catalyst for the council dedicated to making the outdoor activities in the country safer, to create a prevention tool that focuses on the planning and preparation stages of activities. 

The Plan My Walk (PMW) app and website is a free-to-use outdoor trip planning tool that represents every aspect the council stands for. The NZ Mountain Safety Council hopes PMW will prevent injuries, search and rescue, and fatalities caused by poor planning and preparation. 

For nearly 60 years, the NZ Mountain Safety Council has been promoting safe participation in outdoor recreation as it aligns with its vision of ‘safer places, safer activities, safer people’. 

Following the pandemic, the NZ Mountain Safety Council decided to market PMW differently, without forcing safety into the forefront and instead focusing on quality engagement. 

Data showed that a large percentage of the incidents could be prevented or made less serious through planning and preparation.

Taking a different approach to marketing, the council decided to influence behaviours of walkers at three different phases; awareness – when people are looking at outdoor content for inspiration, consideration – when people are researching and action – when people are planning. 

However, the largest audience for the NZ Mountain Safety Council are international visitors who were nowhere to be found amid a pandemic. This meant the council had to shift its marketing strategy to accommodate the wider domestic public. 

In order to reach this New Zealand audience, the council partnered with significant industry players such as Tourism NZ, Torpedo7, Macpac, NZ Police and MetService. The council also partnered up with influencers such as Richie McCaw who aligned with its brand and made the message genuine. 

The council also built a strong relationship with the media, hoping to generate at least one media pickup per month.

As a result, the campaign was able to reach over two million people with the use of influencers and partner promotions. 

The app was also able to achieve more than the goal of 150,000 users, reaching 274,560 with 153,000 of these being direct to platform. Most users spent an average of seven minutes on the platform. 

Through this campaign the council achieved over one million views, four million impressions, over 62,000 clicks and overall achieving 60 percent more than initial projections. 

The council’s use of genuine marketing through influencers and messages that influence behaviours of walkers was a successful new take, ensuring its message of over 60 years has been heard.  

Excellence in Marketing Communication Strategy

NZ Mountain Safety Council

Marketing Initiative
NZ Mountain Safety Council

Marketing Partner
GSL Promotus

Judges’ Comments
“The judges were impressed with the outstanding results earned from a small team with limited resources. The audience insight was demonstrated with partner activations, media targeting and the use of clothing tags at point of purchase. Aiming for regular monthly media activity helped extend the duration of the campaign and message repetition. The sense of purpose in saving lives and helping more Kiwis enjoy their outdoor experience compelled the judges to award you the winners. As did the incredible results, use of digital media, and influencer marketing. An outstanding marketing communications strategy.”

ANZ; ASB; Mercury; NZ Post; Restaurant Brands; Southern Cross Health Insurance; Tonkin + Taylor

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Excellence in Marketing Communication Strategy sponsored by NZME

This award recognises exceptional marketing communications strategy that has delivered brand and/or revenue outcomes. Judges will consider the communications strategy clearly linked to the target audience, channel planning, and strategic messaging, with a clear articulation of return on marketing expenditure.


This article was originally published in the September/October 2022 issue of NZ MarketingClick here to subscribe.

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