A New Zealand Nick Trick

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Did you ever want to switch lives with someone for a while? Special Ops guy? Swimsuit model? Contortionist? How about a New Zealand beer company employee? That's the quid pro quo behind a new campaign in support of the U.S. launch of Steinlager beer. New York's Droga5 has engineered a bona fide (sort of) life swap, with an episodic, character-driven online series to paint a picture of the life up for grabs. The lucky beer enthusiast who submits the best online entry will ostensibly "Win Nick's Life"—taking over his apartment, his job, his girlfriend and all the other trappings of the displaced Kiwi's existence.

Through a series of five longer-format films and several shorter segments, shot on location in New Zealand by Smuggler's Randy Krallman, viewers get to know "Nick" on a granular level—we spend time with his family, his workmates and his girlfriend (who, after about five seconds of being offended, takes quite enthusiastically to the idea of being offered up to the new American Nick), and take a tour of the major landmarks of his life (like the cave where he was conceived). The characters in the series, like Pete the Steinlager CEO, forklift driver Ben and assistant warehouse manager Zeb, shine through, as does New Zealand itself—which was one of the mandates of the campaign, says D5's David Droga. "It gave us a reason to talk about New Zealand; something that's enjoyable and gives people an incentive to get involved." entirely justified.

The campaign sprang from the idea that the American launch is so important to New Zealand Breweries that the company is sending its marketing director to the U.S. to oversee the effort full time, says Droga. But no porn-y suds shots, no disproportionately attractive/unclothed females, no usage of the words clean, crisp, cold, refreshing? What gives? Says Droga, the campaign was more about creating a tone of voice—"like the type of person you'd want to have a beer with. It's such a cluttered market; you can't just talk about 'it's refreshing and great tasting' anymore. We wanted to do it in a fun but not disposable way."
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