This is one of the most moving projects I've had the privilege of working on. Māori Television approached us with a simple brief: draw attention to their Anzac Day coverage. Our answer was a short documentary exploring the stories of two soldiers, one Māori and one Pakeha.
It was also a way of provoking discussion of where Aotearoa is today. For me this project helped create a bridge between my past, at a high school immersed in Te Ao Māori, and my present.
Air New Zealand
So, one time I had this crazy dream. I was locked in a fake plane for two days with 80s exercise legend Richard Simmons; a rather awkward Paul Henry; that Kiwi guy who doesn't sound like a Kiwi from The Amazing Race; and a bunch of terrifyingly happy Les Mills instructors.
And then I realised it wasn't a dream, because over 3 million people around the world had seen it too.
The primary component of the campaign was an inflight safety video, but this was targeted at YouTube audiences as much as the passengers on Air New Zealand’s planes. PR and online seeding were used to spread our content as far as possible into key overseas markets.
Fit to Fly won Gold at the 2011 RSVP Awards.
One of my last projects at Goodfolk was the Show Your Love website page for the 2016 Auckland Local Body Elections. My job was to create a simple, translatable landing page that would explain to non-voters why they should vote and why it was important. The catch? We couldn't get political, and we had to work within the existing campaign theme developed by DDB.
I jumped at the chance to work with the supremely talented Toby Morris, who helped us show what a modern, positive Auckland looks like.
The single best day in my professional life was when I got this signed off for Westpac's 150th birthday. Not the TVC - which I love - but the idea: giving 150 newborn babies a financial head start in life.
One day, thanks to this campaign, at least one kid who should never have had a chance in life is going to fly higher than their parents could ever have dreamed. Hopefully more than one. Maybe the whole 150 of them. But even if it's just one, I'll be very, very happy.
The Westpac Gen W campaign utilised much more than just TV. Centred around Facebook, it drew together a remarkably enthusiastic online community of families eager to give their kids the right start in life. In branches, it was used to start conversations about financial literacy and being better with money. And within Westpac it had a huge positive impact too, playing a central part in the bank's internal 150 year celebrations.
This project for Vector was a new kind of challenge. I worked directly with a talented production team rather than through the traditional agency system. Rather than a straight 'explainer', the client wanted a more engaging, emotional way to show what the future of energy might look like.
Directed by Simon Clark at Farmer Clark, with post from Creature, The Craft Shop and Pete Ritchie.
The One Percent Collective
In 2014 I had an idea. "What if," I thought, "I made a little magazine with profiles of people doing good things in the world, beyond their day job?"
Then about a month after that thought, I met a man named Pat, a Scots-Kiwi ball of inspiration who founded the One Percent Collective. "What if", said Pat, "we made a little magazine with profiles of people doing good things in the world, beyond their day job?"
My idea was pure coincidence, but an opportunity found a willing collaborator who had a design studio of people with generous spirits, and The Generosity Journal was born.
It's a project close to my heart though, for the most part, I was more a guiding hand and a sounding board. If it sparks just one generous thought in someone out their, I've done something good in the world.
Issue One of The Generosity Journal was a finalist at the BEST Awards 2015.
The funny thing about big companies is that they're all made of the same thing. People. And when you go out and meet those people, and find out what they do and why they do it, those big companies don't seem so big anymore.
In Genesis Energy's case, there's a great bunch of people up and down the country who get up every day and make sure we get our hot shower, our cup of tea, and all the other things we take for granted daily. So this ad was all about drawing that line which connects them to their customers, and rendering a massive energy company at a more human scale.
The 60 second brand commercial was a finalist in three categories at the 2014 AXIS Awards.
This project was a fascinating journey down a West Auckland Croatian rabbit hole. The Babich family have been making wine for 100 years, so we figured they must have 100 stories to tell. I went West and got lost in their stories, rummaging around the winery for artefacts, and pulling together the most interesting stories they'd let us tell.
I got to taste wine with the most experienced winemakers in the country. I got to hold an Austro-Hungarian passport that's over a century old. I got to meet an Italian water pump called Henry. And I got to understand what it truly means to have a family legacy.
Sometimes you receive a brief and an image of the final project pops into your head almost immediately. That's what happened with this project, a promo for Haka Fusion, a show that mixes dance styles with kapa haka.
Luckily for me, I was able to get that image out of my head, communicate it to the client and the director, and bring it to life exactly as I first imagined it.
Sometimes the idea just pops out. In this case, the brief was to help show how Yellow makes online marketing easy for small and medium businesses with their easy-to-use marketing platform.
It’s a super simple system. Put your business info in one end, some marketing happens, and new business comes out the other.
Just like a machine.
Child Cancer Foundation
Some people you meet impress you. Some inspire you. Some blow your mind. Quinn was the latter. Every single one of the beads she is wearing in this TVC represents a blood test, chemo session, operation, spinal tap, hospital stay, blood transfusion, or other procedure. Every single one. And there are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of them. I got nauseous just imagining them; she endured them, survived, and beat her cancer. She was (and is) amazing.
Humour is hard. Especially when you've only got the budget for one person on screen. But the two rounds of TVCs I've made for TOWER have given it a good nudge, and I really like them.
The high point? Getting a Dad joke in. I think they're some kind of evolutionary vestige, from a time when the tribe needed an excuse to stone their old people to death. I love the fact that, no matter who you are, you can't defeat the inexorable urge to make awful jokes once you've become a father. It's hard-coded into your DNA.
The One Percent Collective
One of my reasons for loving the One Percent Collective as a charity is that it makes it easy to be a hero, at least on a small scale. I wanted to find a way of explaining that, and exploring the fact that all of us humans are innately generous.
So with the help of a talented illustrator and a bastardised understanding of Joseph Campbell's hero's journey and carl Jung's mythic archetypes, I create the Generosity Journey.
Professionally speaking, I'm pretty good at playing with others and sharing my bat and ball. In this case, we were making a TVC to celebrate New World's commitment to sport at all levels, but needed to keep it in the same family as the brand work Colenso BBDO had done for the client, and get their seal of approval.
It's just one of a number of projects where I've been called on to be part of an interagency team; it happened a lot on Westpac and Vodafone too. I've always been happy to play my part.
I don't always write things. Sometimes I help bring other kinds of ideas into the world. Like this bus, that is also a giant shark. It's the only thing I've made for a client that has made it into an ad for another client - Shark Bus featured in a National Bank TV commercial a few years back.
Joshua's Ice Cream
Joshua had a simple problem. His ice cream tasted amazing, his story was compelling, but his packaging and brand were decidedly average. We brought life, colour and flavour to the brand in a way that properly represented how good Joshua's Ice Cream tastes.
It wasn't just an aesthetic success either. The new visual impact of the brand helped Joshua secure supply arrangements with some major retailers, helping his small backyard business to take on the big guys, one tub at a time.
When refugee and migrant teens arrive in New Zealand, they are often totally overwhelmed by their new environment. They sound different, look different, are different to most of the people around them. The try their best to bridge their gap between their own culture and their new lives. It's hard, but they give it everything.
But some days, they just want the chance to be themselves. And for hundreds of young people over the last 10 years, their day for being themselves is Saturday. Because Saturday is the day they go to Mixit to be with their friends and learn from New Zealand's best actors, dancers, musicians and choreographers.
To celebrate Mixit's 10th birthday festival, we created a visual representation of the vibrant coming together of cultures that helps turn unsure youths into confident adults.
When Spark Digital wanted to launch a new online store for business apps, we wanted to find a way of reminding people how the apps could help them avoid the bad things that can happen at work. So we dug into the little IT dramas that we've all faced - the presentation we forgot to save, the file we deleted, the security breach we inadvertently caused - to create some human moments for a technical world.
On a tight budget, we turned around a simple, funny, engaging campaign that pushed the right buttons and helped deliver a successful launch.
Spark New Zealand
This brief was an interesting one. How do you politely tell New Zealand that, when it comes to the cost of telecommunications, that they've actually got it pretty good? Answer: cat videos, fish and chip comparisons, and the nostalgic sounds of a dialup modem.
Over the school holidays, many children experience something called 'the summer slide'. If they don't have support and encouragement to read for themselves, their reading ability slides backwards when school's out.
Auckland Libraries run a fantastic programme to help combat this, but it needed a visual refresh. We created a friendly family of forest dwellers to help engage young readers. And, for the te reo version of the programme, we illustrated the evocative legend of Rehua and the three baskets of knowledge.
Genesis Energy's Tomorrow Street
Tomorrow Street was a sustainability experiment, where different families were given different energy-saving technologies and products to trial at home. For the Clayton's, this included variable tariffs - lower costing electricity for appliances that ran at night.
Problem was, variable tariffs aren't very interesting to look at. So we threw their washing machine in bed with them to illustrate the point.
Big loyalty schemes are great for supermarkets and service station chains and big box retailers, but they're pretty useless for the little guys. That's where Collect comes in. It's like Fly Buys for the little guys.
This explainer video was aimed at both customers and retailers, explaining how Collect works in a simple and appealing way.
As the leader in enterprise-level digital technology, Spark Digital also focus on thought leadership for their clients and the wider business community. FWD was their programme for delivering this, and we were involved in delivering comms around FWD events, creating a webcast for non-attendees, bringing the brand to life on the day, and ensuring guests received ongoing contact.
This little video was to play at the KEA World Class New Zealand Awards, to a room full of internationally successful Kiwis. We wanted the sense that we were beaming in from Shanghai or Vancouver or New York when in reality, we shot the whole thing in Freeman's Bay then worked some magic in post.
This is one from the vaults, but still a favourite because it is possibly the only script I've ever written that made it from presentation to screen basically untouched. When you write and present a script, you normally expect the client to make changes. But I guess you don't normally end up as the voiceover artist either. So it's a rarity on both counts.
Pitch document or concept presentations aren't usually something you put in your portfolio, but this one was something worth showing off. It came out of a particularly fruitful partnership I had with an amazing art director. You can watch the TVC, but they real magic is below that.
To sell our concept to the client, we created a hardbound picture book laying out in careful, evocative detail the story we wanted to tell. The care we had taken to paint a compelling picture of what their brand could be was like nothing they'd ever been presented. They were sold.
A big part of what makes New World's customer experience so good is the work that has gone into building their brand internally. Part of this is a campaign promoting their four key brand values. These posters were to promote 'Love Welcoming', one of the four.
This launch campaign for a cinema loyalty programme is still one of my favourite projects. I created six characters based on six stereotypical cinema-goers, and brought them to life with the help of brilliant comic book artist Ant Sang, the man behind the character designs for bro’Town. I even got to use a line from The Princess Bride.
We used street posters, University magazines, radio, POS and in-cinema ads to launch, and keep the characters fresh with regular updates on their own website.
When The Film Squad launched, Facebook was nearly invisible in New Zealand. Yet we pulled in over 100,000 members in its first six months, a feat that earned two Bronzes at the 2006 RSVP Awards.
Air New Zealand
When Nothing to Hide went global, Air New Zealand understandably wanted to keep the body paint idea going. I helped create a series of billboards that showed just how committed the crew were to going all the way.
This was the first time I truly understood what it means to be a creative director. The idea wasn't mine but I straightaway saw its potential, so I presented it, championed it, and pulled out all the stops to make sure it would happen.
It had a huge emotional impact on Westpac staff who experienced it first hand outside their building, and it made it onto the 6pm news and to various current affairs websites. Its beauty was in its restraint; a simple gesture to show that on Anzac Day, we remember.
The reason I'm proud of this campaign? It was the first major brand project I ever got to tackle, and it was the campaign that showed that at .99, we were no longer "just those retail guys".
This was another project where, though the idea wasn't mine, I did everything I could to make it happen. It was a fairly mad idea to put forward, but both Westpac and the Sir Peter Blake Trust saw that despite being unusual, it was very true to the great man's spirit of adventure.
This piece was originally created to share at an awards night celebrating world class New Zealanders. Rather than reiterate all the usual cliches and flatter the audience, I wanted to do something that issued a little bit of a challenge to theme and, hopefully, sparked them into aiming even higher.
Genesis Energy's Tomorrow Street
Another one from the Tomorrow Street sustainability experiment, this ad was about telling the story of an intelligent fridge. By using its sensors to learn the household routine and reduce energy use, it became a fully contributing member of the family ( though not very talkative).
This work is very old. The main reason I like it? King Kong's hand is actually my hand, extensively retouched.
When I think back to the times PFB (pre-Facebook), I wonder how we ever got these things to spread. To promote the (terrible) movie Jackass number two, we taped a guy to a billboard. For real. And then, I dunno, PXTed it to each other or something.
Social media has made this stuff so much easier.