New Zealand ads entice U.S. tourists with natural glory

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Tourism New Zealand this week brings its first-ever global campaign to the U.S. in a bid to lure more travelers from the States.

The $20 million multi-nation push, about $2.5 million of which is targeted at Americans, portrays the Pacific Rim country as an outdoor amusement park. Ads feature images of fly fishermen, speed boaters and hikers. The tagline for the campaign is "100% pure New Zealand."

The effort seeks to tap into the mini-boom in adventure travel and targets people who "want to experience a challenging, natural environment," according to Gregg Anderson, Tourism New Zea-land's regional manager for the U.S. and Canada.

SAME THEMES

The TV and print effort marks the first time Tourism New Zealand, a government-funded organization, has used a campaign with the same themes in several markets. Previously, the group tailored its efforts in the target countries: Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S.

Tourism New Zealand hired M&C Saatchi, Sydney, a year ago to create the integrated effort, figuring it would save some money on creative, cut down on the number of different messages and better link with its Web site (purenz.com). The campaign is partly co-sponsored by airline Air New Zealand, whose logo appears on some creative.

"There are so many destinations out there, all clamoring for individuals' share of mind," said Madigan Pratt, a tourism expert with Boston-based Trinity Communications, a marketing communications company. "Any way you can form a partnership with a national airline to get your message across, the better it is."

The U.S. campaign is focusing print executions on California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, New York, Texas and Washington, though it also includes national magazines such as Bon Appetit and Smithsonian. TV spots -- featuring the song "Don't Dream It's Over" by Kiwi band Crowded House -- will run nationally on the Discovery Network and the Travel Channel.

OLYMPIC ATTENTION

The campaign comes at a time when world focus on New Zealand is intense, particularly with this fall's Olympic Games being held in neighboring Australia. "The Olympics will bring an unprecedented amount of publicity to the South Pacific," Mr. Anderson said.

New Zealand has about 1.7 million visitors a year, with 160,000 U.S. travelers accounting for the second-highest number after Australians. Tourism accounts for about 3.4% of the country's gross domestic product.

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