2020 was a devastating year for the international tourism industry. The pandemic closed international borders and tourism as we know it is on hold.
With Aotearoa New Zealand the #1 outbound destination for Aussie travellers, we had a very real responsibility to keep travellers connected to the country while international borders remained closed. We also had an adventure starved audience looking for entertainment and adventure.
We had to defend the #1 position, increase brand preference and keep New Zealand top of mind in a locked down world.
With online gaming spiking, we found a way to engage in an entirely new way — we marketed the entire country like a game. PLAY NZ is a rich brand experience that gives people playful, interactive content to engage with and a vehicle for New Zealand to deliver disruptive storytelling to a new audience.
Launched with a Twitch live stream, Australian gaming influencer Loserfruit led thousands on a journey through the best of New Zealand, featuring a “gamer walkthrough” where she “played” the country and interacted live.
Every channel mimicked a real game launch, using teasers and trailers, digital banners and in-app ads in gaming media channels featuring real gamers’ reviews. The world-first creative idea spread the campaign from just hardcore gamers to travellers and those playful at heart, garnering a wealth of PR interest across online gaming publications, as well as mainstream social channels.
Not satisfied, we drove future travellers to the PLAY NZ immersive hub where they were met with 18x VR180° films aimed at inspiring future itineraries for when the borders officially reopen — encouraging itinerary-building behaviours.
Tourism board gamifies New Zealand’s landscape