With the global spotlight on New Zealand for the premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the Tourism New Zealand 100% Middle-earth campaign went up a gear with the appearance of a series of stunning illustrations made in collaboration with the artists at Weta Workshop.
Using the photographic stills from the campaign as the base artwork for each unique creation, Weta’s magician’s (Paul Tobin, Nick Keller and Gus Hunter) created one of a kind, Middle-earth inspired scenes that can lie on top of the photography to create a perfect match, so the parallel universe of Middle-earth illustrated fantasy, lies over the fantastic reality.
These immaculate renditions appeared all over the web in paid display, rich media, on newzealand.com, on Facebook, and in real life.
Visitors to newzealand.com could explore a Middle-earth virtual book containing exclusive artwork, spectacular filming locations and action packed itineraries.
Since the virtual book went live it has received 130,000 page views, with an average of 14 book page views per visit.
Visitors to New Zealand (in the real world) were greeted by a 23m installation that uses a unique form of sculptural lenticular. One of the first thing visitors will see is Middle-earth come to life over a double triptych of illustrated adventures. As they walk by, the fantasy adventures become real New Zealand adventures. 70,000 visitors walked through the installation in its first week and were encouraged to share their Middle-earth travel experiences on Twitter using the hashtag #realmiddleearth.
‘One stamp to rule them all.’
On premiere day, those arriving in New Zealand could also opt to have a ‘Welcome to Middle-earth’ stamp added to their passports. Larry D Curtis, senior contributor to ‘theonering.net’ did just that and immediately afterwards posted images on Facebook(of the passport stamp, and the installation) and within hours had nearly 4,000 Likes.
‘And now for the weather…in Elvish.’
Tourism New Zealand hired an official ‘Sindarin Elvish’ dialect coach (she does exist) and workshopped the language with TVNZ breakfast presenter Tamati Coffey until he had it down pat. TVNZ broadcast a Middle-earth long-range weather forecast in Elvish on the morning of the premiere. It was quickly picked up on the other side of earth by the BBC, the Daily Mail, and other news sources which broadcast it to wider global audience.
The Middle-earth weather report can be viewed on Youtube.
Andy Blood, Executive Creative Director at Whybin\TBWA New Zealand, commented: “From the launch of the Tourism New Zealand brand commercial last August this has been, and continues to be, one of the biggest, most interactive and involving campaigns anyone could wish to be a part of, ever. The campaign has been seen by people in the UK, USA, Australia and South East Asia via numerous channels - online, on TV, in cinema, via the multiple paid and rich media formats, through to the incredibly rich content and the PR activities. The brand commercial alone has now been viewed online by almost 800,000 people, which is which is over 5,000 hours of viewed video content.”
Che Tamahori, Managing Director of Digital Arts Network New Zealand added: “The level of engagement with the online content has been fantastic. It’s clearly leveraging a huge surge in interest in all things Hobbit related. Our job has been to convert that interest into broader investigation of New Zealand as a destination. And the website is doing exactly that.”
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and the second and third films of The Hobbit Trilogy are productions of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM), with New Line managing production. Warner Bros. Pictures is handling worldwide theatrical distribution, with select international territories as well as all international television distribution being handled by MGM. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will be released in New Zealand on December 12, 2012.
Whybin\TBWA New Zealand
Executive Creative Director – Andy Blood
Digital Creative Director – Ross Howard
Art Director – Chris Lewis, Cece Chu
Copywriter – Ryan Price
Copywriter – Lucy Morgan
Group Head – Natasja Barclay
Senior Account Manager – Julia McKee
Account Executive – Lynlee Smith
Production – Michelle Hong
Digital Arts Network
Account Director – Stephanie Creasy
Project Manager – Louise Leitch
Creative Director – Mark Zeman
Designers – Jonathan Mead, Ee Venn Soh
Production – Andrew Zen, Cato Johnson, David Harris, Pete Gray
Illustration - Paul Tobin, Nick Keller and Gus Hunter