How Tourism NZ + TBWA Sydney invited the world to an open-world gaming experience on YouTube

| | No Comments

Case Study: Eleven, TBWA Sydney and Google have partnered up to create a case study on Tourism New Zealand’s campaign ‘PLAY NZ’ to show the success of the results garnered through YouTube.


With international borders closed, Tourism New Zealand invited the world to come and “PLAY NZ”.

Teaming up with one of YouTube’s top gaming content creators, Loserfruit, PLAY NZ brought the country to life as an immersive, open-world gaming experience that lets people explore some of New Zealand’s greatest attractions in a completely new way – effectively marketing the entire country as a game. Smashing ad watch time records, the campaign showed that good creative can overcome short attention spans.

Created alongside TBWA\Sydney, PLAY NZ was a brand building campaign aimed at increasing the number of Australians considering a New Zealand holiday, targeting a millennial audience 25 to 39 years, renowned for seeking new experiences and likely ‘first to fly’ when a travel bubble opens.

Why? The genesis of this idea came from strong insight – that being the rise of gaming amongst Australians and gaming’s expansion into storytelling and entertainment. The campaign leant into one of YouTube’s largest audiences and used the power of gaming and technology to ignite tourism by inviting Australians to virtually explore the country. Designed to engage Aussies unable to satisfy their New Zealand wanderlust physically, PLAY NZ showed off New Zealand by gamifying the experience of travelling to New Zealand, and our landscapes as the backdrop.

As a marketing campaign it utilised the best of YouTube. The bold campaign led with a nine minute hero film, tapping into the power of creative long form storytelling to capture audience attention and the impact of clever collaborations with YouTube creators.

The result?

Launched as a YouTube Premiere on Loserfruit’s channel, the campaign amassed more than a million views in 24 hours.

And when the same ad ran as an advertisement, it had an average watch time of nearly four minutes – a great result for capturing audiences’ limited attention.

Further to views, the campaign also saw a click through rate [CTR] that was 20% higher than the AuNZ travel industry benchmarks for advertising on YouTube.

Says Victoria Berthinussen, Google: “PLAY NZ is an amazing example of how brands can capture audience attention spans – and imaginations. Tourism New Zealand knew their target audience was on YouTube and their authentic partnership with Loserfruit saw genuine engagement and connection with her fans, which led to some seriously impressive results.

“The team took a brave approach compared to other travel providers in 2020 – and it meant they were able to continue advertising and create impact during the pandemic.”

Says Andrew Waddel, general manager, Tourism New Zealand: “Our Gaming & YouTube partnership created the perfect storytelling vehicle to drive inspiration. Especially now as we await the world to re-open for travellers. PLAY NZ unlocks virtual travel, the kind of travel that fuels a sense of wanderlust before we can experience the real thing.”

“As the oldest Tourism Board in the world, we’re also the first in the category to make travel a reality for future Australian visitors – a bold milestone for Destination New Zealand.”

No game-inspired release would be complete without a gamer walkthrough, so alongside Loserfruit, virtual tourists are guided through the experience by the familiar Kiwi voice of narrator Julian Dennison.