Last month Tourism New Zealand’s Premium team and Sydney agency Storyation won Best Use of Native Advertising/Sponsored Content at the global Content Marketing Awards in the US, beating an impressive line-up of entrants that included Coca-Cola, McDonalds and Intercontinental Hotels.
So how did they do it?
A hard-to-reach audience
Launched in 2013, Tourism New Zealand’s Premium Sector strategy aims to improve the awareness of New Zealand as a luxury destination and inspire the top 10 per cent of the world’s wealthy to travel to New Zealand.
These Very High Net Worth Individuals (VHNWI) and Ultra High Net Worth Individuals (UHNWIs) and their trusted advisors are hard to reach via traditional means and authentic storytelling using native advertising has been a key pillar of the Premium strategy since launch.
By delivering our message on the Robb Report, a digital environment already trusted by time-poor VHNWIs and UHNWIs, it gave us an opportunity to reach our target audience at scale. (Robb Report online audience has an average net worth of $2.3m.)
Food, glorious food
For this campaign we focused on a key market – the US – and using the insight that food and wine is a deep interest of our VHNWI and UHNWI target market built a multi-media content solution around a group of exceptionally high-profile influencers travelling to New Zealand to visit luxury lodges.
The three restaurateurs included Will Guidara, owner of the Michelin-starred Madison Park in New York which was recently named number one on the prestigious World’s 50 Best Restaurants list; Christina Tosi, US Masterchef judge and owner of Momofuku Milk Bar; and Seattle restaurateur Brian Canlis.
We needed to create content about the trio’s trip to New Zealand that was not simply a passive travelogue of images but used proven story-telling techniques to allow the influencers to authentically share their reflections on their New Zealand luxury experience and create an emotional connection with the target audience and compete against editorial.
Pavlova with a twist
For the written and video content we created bespoke experiences tailored to the interests of each influencer. Not only did this give us a narrative arc for the pieces (and a distinct, targeted headline) it aligned with Tourism New Zealand’s strategy to highlight the kind of unique, one-off travel experiences that are available to luxury travelers to NZ.
For example, US Masterchef judge Christina Tosi learned to make the quintessential New Zealand dessert pavlova in a luxury lodge kitchen and gave it her own twist using ingredients from the market garden.
Will Guidara had a paddock to plate experience in Hawke’s Bay without leaving the lodge property. One content piece focused on the trio of restaurateurs taking a day trip to Waiheke Island near Auckland.
Driving intent to visit
The campaign was an outstanding success with time spent with the content far exceeding industry averages for either brand-sponsored or editorial content.
The content generated 56,000 highly targeted page views versus a goal of 30,000 (87 per cent above the KPI) and an average engagement time of 80 seconds (compared with an average of 55 seconds for the Robb Report editorial content.) The strongest performing page in the hub was the ‘Waiheke Island’ piece which drove a very healthy average time on page of 4.23 minutes.
A bespoke Robb Report survey showed that 85 per cent of readers thought that the content they were shown was “worth paying attention to”, 68 per cent said they would mention it to someone about taking a vacation and 65 per cent said the content had increased their intent to visit New Zealand for a vacation.
Throughout we also drove the audience to our content hub at www.newzealand.com/luxury so that they could get more detailed information to plan their trip to New Zealand.
This stand-out performance led to Storyation and Tourism New Zealand winning Best Use of Native Advertising/Sponsored Content at the 2017 Content Marketing Awards hosted by the Content Marketing Institute in the US.