Supreme Winner 2022

Kiwis are known for wanting to do things themselves, so when TURNERS GROUP NZ saw the opportunity to increase profitability by selling more cars to the general public, an exceptional brand transformation strategy was required.

Transforming Turners with Tina

Back in 2014 the Turners’ Board set a long-term goal to shift from a mostly wholesale auction business model to a mostly retail dealership.

This was based on the knowledge that the general public pay more for cars and unlike dealers, require finance and insurance which are key revenue streams. To meet this business objective, the Turners transformation needed to begin with the customer experience – a fundamental change in focus from the previous Turners brand.

By 2018 a new company vision was launched: ‘to be NZ’s favourite place to buy and sell vehicles’. This marked the beginning of the evolution of Turners’ branches from dusty auction sheds to smart retail yards and the redevelopment of the Turners website into a customer focused retail experience.

Once this was put in place, it was time to introduce ‘Tina from Turners’ to reposition the brand for the general public.

Consumer research showed that most Kiwis prefer to buy and sell cars themselves and platforms like Trademe have made this easy. In fact approximately 40 percent of cars sold in New Zealand are sold by the general public, to the general public. 

The research found there were three reasons for this; people believe they can get a better price if they sell it themselves, they don’t want to deal with ‘dodgy dealers’ and they believe they are more likely to get a bargain if they buy direct from the seller.

It also found there was a lot of anxiety in the used car category, particularly among women, who are more likely to influence the final decision on the actual car purchased. The ‘dodgy used car salesman’ stereotype was still strong.

Another challenge facing Turners was that although it was already a well-established and trusted brand, people had preconceived ideas about it and these long-held perceptions needed to be updated.

In order to achieve this, the marcomms strategy was to boost emotional engagement with the brand, create fame and leverage trust for Turners to show New Zealanders that Turners was turning a new leaf.

The ‘Tina from Turners’ character used humour to personify the brand and show the audience how easy it would be to deal with Turners, highlighting the positive experience car sellers and buyers could expect.

Overall the strategy went above and beyond, resulting in an increase in sales to the public, and a significantly increased profit margin of 29 percent above target and 43 percent higher than the previous year.

The strategy was simple and effective – if people like Tina, they will like Turners.  

Supreme Winner, Excellence in Brand Transformation Strategy, and Excellence in Consumer Products & Services Strategy


Turners Group NZ

Marketing Initiative

Tina From Turners

Marketing Partners

David (DT) Thomason; Darryl Parsons; Kim Thorpe; Olivia Woodroffe; Eight (Katie Millington); Steve Saussey; stitch; Lassoo (James Roberts, Rasmika Sukha, John Baker)

Judges’ Comments

“An outstanding marketing strategy that touched every aspect of the Turners business and delivered a truly significant transformation. Impressed with the strong stakeholder buy-in and inclusion across the business. The brand aligned to the strategy throughout the customer experience and became a key part of the organisations DNA. Leveraging the ingrained trust in the Turners brand was key to overcoming the entrenched DIY behaviour of kiwis in buying and selling cars. Exceptional business results with a clear and compelling ROI, which has led to further marketing investment. Amongst a high calibre of entries this was a standout. Very impressive.”


(Excellence in Brand Transformation Strategy) ANZ; Fonterra Brands New Zealand; KiwiPlates; Mitre 10 New Zealand; NZ Post; Restaurant Brands; Rockit Global; Tegel New Zealand; Trustpower

(Excellence in Consumer Products & Services Strategy)

NZ Post

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

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