NEW YORK: Tourism New Zealand has selected Hill & Knowlton as its AOR in the US, tasking the agency to focus on consumer broadcast, social media, and media relations this fall in an effort to spike travel during the New Zealand summer in January and February.
The government organization had issued an RFP in May, inviting 25 agencies to pitch for the business, and then seven undisclosed agencies to give presentations.
“This year we hosted The Bachelor. That highlighted that a big bang event has the potential to get New Zealand talked about a lot,” said Annie Dundas, North America regional manager for Tourism New Zealand. “For a long time we've been safe with our media choices.”
She noted that H&K communicated ideas that could match such exposure via its presentation of physical installations and visual props.
The organization had worked with Spring O'Brien for more than a decade. Firm president Christopher Spring confirmed that the agency declined to pitch for the business.
"It was clear they wanted a change in strategy and also really highlighted that they were looking to go to a large consumer agency, and we're not a large consumer agency," said Spring. "We're a boutique destination marketing agency."
“We're trying to get a more consistent New Zealand message across a variety of channels,” explained Dundas.
The team will work toward another “big bang” project for New Zealand; infuse some of the other initiatives with a message of value, as the exchange rate is currently strong for the US; and expand its media visitor program.
“We were faced with the challenge that New Zealand was a tourism destination but also a rich country that's more diverse than any tourism destination we had worked with,” added Ivan Kayser, VP at H&K. “We have a more complex story to tell about travel but also lifestyle and trends.”
The firm's Los Angeles and New York offices will work on the account.