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Meridian goes on a renewable tiki tour

Meridian goes on a renewable tiki tour
For a utility company, Meridian Energy has released some consistently good ads over the past couple of years and created a point of difference by loudly banging its renewable energy drum.

For a utility company, Meridian Energy has released some consistently good ads over the past couple of years and created a point of difference by loudly banging its renewable energy drum.

Now, following on from its quirky West Wind and Ross Island ads, which were conceived by Assignment Group and shot by Perendale, the team has sent Jeremy Wells on another entertaining journey in an effort to celebrate the country the company generates all of its energy from – and, of course, get more customers around New Zealand to “sign up to a better energy future”.

“The irony is already we have customers all over New Zealand, but we have never really talked about it,” says Meridian’s brand specialist Lizzy Baker.

The national tour is a fairly common theme in New Zealand advertising, but, as a company with “sustainability in its DNA”, Baker says they had to walk the talk for this ad and try to keep the shoot small and relatively inexpensive.

To do this air travel was minimised, vans were used rather than cars, staff were brought in as extras, Shirl from Upper Hutt made the crew morning tea and they even had dinner at external relations bod Guy Waipara’s parent’s house when they were in Wanganui.

“We did it in a handmade style. And that’s the way we like to do it.” And because the company is so proud of its renewable energy generation, she says “we don’t need to put any lipstick on our pig”.

While shooting in Manapouri they had the chance to release some Haast kiwi onto an island, in between trying to stop cheeky kea from eating the cameras/lunches and avoiding swarms of mosquitoes. And, up in Whangarei, the crew did a bit of a beach clean-up.

“We just hope New Zealanders won’t start vacuuming the beach,” she says (following on from our request for a copy of Gusty, a magazine filled with Lorem Ipsum that featured in the West Wind ad, Baker says the team has decided to make it into a real publication, so it will be able to let consumers know about appropriate vacuuming techniques).

Getting such a well-recognised southern figure as Todd Blackadder on board was a coup for the company, she says, perhaps even more so given it recorded further declines in the South Island market in its most recent operational report. Still, it’s not all bad. Given the effect the What’s My Number campaign had on the number of consumers switching electricity suppliers, Meridian will be pleased its total connections increased by 3,159 during the last quarter, with massive growth in Powershop, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Meridian, and Meridian Retail North Island connections.

“Further evidence of Meridian’s strong customer focus was reflected in Powershop and Meridian Retail filling the top two positions in Fair Go’s Energy Company customer satisfaction survey,” the report said. “Powershop also took the number one ranking in the 2011 Deloitte Fast 50 index, with the highest growth rate ever recorded in the Fast 50s 11-year history.”

This story originally appeared on StopPress.

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