After a hiatus from Kiwi TV screens as its big brother’s white cans took over during the RWC – and with DDB now as its lead agency – Steinlager Pure launched its new campaign yesterday during TV One’sSunday Theatre.
Since Steinlager Pure was launched in 2007, Lion has used big name American actors to endorse the brand, with the likes of Harvey Keitel, Willem Dafoe and Vincent Gallo gracing our screens and stroking our egos in the past campaigns made by Publicis Mojo.
But for the first time the new mascot is a Kiwi: successful director, actor and all-round funny man Taika Waititi.
"It was a lot of fun to be involved in the new Steinlager Pure campaign, both as an actor and director,” says Waititi, who also contributed significantly to the writing of the ad.
"I am excited to be the first Kiwi front man for Pure and it was exciting bringing my style of comedy to the brand and celebrating how good we have it in New Zealand, in a slightly unique way.”
The ad kicks off with Waititi saying "do I really have to tell you how good we have it in New Zealand?" and then gives some stick to a host of advertising cliches that have been used to sell New Zealand’s virtues in the past.
DDB’s managing director Justin Mowday says he’s pretty stoked, both to get Waititi on board and with the end result, which was filmed in Los Angeles and orchestrated by Waititi’s production representatives from Curious.
“It’s pretty out there,” he says. “But everyone we’ve showed it to has loved it.”
He says there’s a tendency for premium brands to be a little bit too earnest and “uber serious”, so enlisting Waititi and embarking on a new, more comedic strategy was an attempt to make the brand more approachable and fun.
He says there’s no explicit connection to the “clenched fist on heart” patriotism of the very successful We Believe campaign, but he admits it is a brand with a bit of momentum at the moment and that campaign helped to re-establish a place in Kiwis’ hearts, so there’s a desire to replicate some of that love by using one of our local lads. And there’s also a desire to show that the cultural cringe isn’t what it used to be and we’re willing to celebrate successful Kiwis on the world stage.
As Todd Gordon, Steinlager’s marketing manager (who’s soon to head to Australia with a new job inside the Lion family) says: “This is a coming-of-age story. We’ve developed a newfound confidence in our place in the world and this new campaign reflects that. Taika is a Kiwi succeeding on the global stage and we’re proud of him and other Kiwis that are achieving internationally. We’ve come a long way as a nation, and can now pat each other on the back when we do well, and this new instalment of Pure is a reflection of this.”
Obviously, Waititi, who has just had a baby, has a signature style, and Mowday says everyone agreed that it wasn’t worth getting him on board to do the ad if he was just going to be shut down, which meant he had a fairly loose leash so he could do his thing.
Recently, Waititi managed to drum up some cash in order to get Boy, New Zealand’s most successful movie, shown in the US and it received rave reviews. And, after being nominated for an Oscar, directing a couple of Flight of the Conchords episodes, starring in The Green Lantern, and directing a few other shows and movies, his star keeps rising, as evidenced by this big musical number he directed for NBC that showed before its Superbowl coverage.
This story originally appeared on StopPress.