Trip of a Lifetime

Ahhhhh, who doesn’t love those long summer road trips? Stopping at tacky tourist sites, getting too much sun, playing too many games of mini-golf and feasting on greasy food along the way. It wasn’t always easy (“Mom, are we there yet?” or “Mom, I feel sick.”). But the memories last a lifetime, no matter how long, far and difficult the trip may have been. Now how do you convince those road-weary travellers to take their ultimate road trip across the Pacific? Ask Tourism New Zealand.

In 1999, Tourism New Zealand (TNZ) launched the visionary “100% Pure New Zealand” marketing campaign to instant acclaim. Immediately successful – becoming the envy of other countries – the new campaign became a hit with travellers around the world.

“New Zealand is widely seen as one of the world’s strongest and most admired destination brands.” – United Nations World Tourism Organization

More than a clever tagline, “100% Pure New Zealand” sought to give New Zealanders a new voice and new identity. It looked to announce an authentic view of the country – through its culture and collective experience. The double meaning for “Pure” was powerful; purity of experience rather than the narrow notion of ‘natural’ purity. The campaign summed up a New Zealander’s typical warm nature, showcasing diversity and playing on their unique identity.

Developed on a surprisingly small budget, the campaign used a fresh, innovative approach to tell New Zealand’s story. Print and TV ads were sleek, and focused on enjoying what New Zealand had to offer, taking advantage of the country's wealth of natural resources. It became easy for visitors to see themselves as part of the New Zealand experience. Pure adventure, pure hospitality and jaw-dropping landscapes were the campaign’s calling card. The treatment consistently reinforced the beauty of New Zealand. And the copy was simple and straightforward, allowing the concept to be easily translated to all languages. “100% Pure New Zealand” became a simple message that related to international travelers.


New Zealand's stunning imagery was paired with a distinctive soundtrack crafted by international singer and local New Zealander Neil Finn (from bands Split Enz and Crowded House), and used in inspiring TV spots, like the one above.

It was an obvious improvement on Tourism New Zealand’s previous campaign (example below), which had become incredibly fragmented and confusing.


The new campaign made New Zealand into a ‘hip’ destination. Soon “100% Pure New Zealand” was seen sponsoring various events such as the America’s Cup, and closely aligning itself with the Lord of the Rings movie franchise, tapping into a massive worldwide audience.


Not to be outdone, New Zealand’s neighbour, Australia, felt compelled to compete. Their “Where the Bloody Hell Are You?” campaign – although provocative – produced little tangible results. Eventually, the word “bloody” was replaced with a more censored “@%#!” in the UK, Japan, Korea, Thailand and Singapore. Ultimately, their new marketing approach failed.

The “100% Pure New Zealand” campaign is timeless. It provides an enduring impression of New Zealand for tourists, even today, ten years after its initial launch. Groundbreaking when created, the strong creative, concept and imagery tells a romantic, authentic story on behalf of New Zealand for many more years to come.

Now, when’s the next road trip?