Tourism New Zealand’s online campaign which rides on the potential success of the new Hobbit film goes live today.
Justin Watson from Tourism New Zealand says the 100% Middle Earth campaign takes aspects from the movie and draws parallels with New Zealand.
The online campaign follows a 60-second 100% Middle Earth commercial released in August this year, which is broadcast in key tourist markets including Australia, United Kingdom, United States, China and Germany.
“What phase two of the campaign does is take images from the TV and we’ve had the guys from Weta Workshop re-illustrate them like they would be in Middle Earth,” Watson said.
“Throughout the movie there’s spectacular vistas and landscapes which is what New Zealand has so we’ve taken that from the TV commercial and basically brought it to life in a Middle Earth way.”
Watson said the advertisement, which does not contain any film footage or direct references to the movies, was signed off by Warner Brothers.
“Warner Brothers own the assets to the movie and just like any copyright or any brand owner or asset owner they have to have a level of involvement to make sure that how we’re depicting their assets that they’re comfortable with that,” Watson said.
He said the approval process was quite complicated, but “ultimately they just approve the use of the imagery not the whole campaign”.
More than a decade ago, a similar campaign referenced The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which Tourism NZ says was a resounding success, attracting around 2.5 million visitors here each year.
Watson said he thinks there will be the same energy around The Hobbit, and there is nothing to say this will not be more successful than the Lord of the Rings campaign.
Watson agreed with criticism that Tourism New Zealand did not jump on the bandwagon early enough for the Lord of the Rings campaign.
“So we looked back and thought how do we get ahead of the curve and ahead of the eight ball on this and do a better job,” he said.
Watson said Tourism NZ can detach itself from the movie if it is not as successful.
Tourism NZ has invested around $10 million on producing the new campaign.
Meanwhile, travellers flying Air New Zealand get a dose of The Hobbit before landing in New Zealand.
Air New Zealand collaborated with Weta Workshop to produce a Tolkien-inspired airline safety video.
The four minute clip gets into the spirit of The Hobbit by including Hobbits, elves, wizards and orcs in Middle-Earth style costumes. The video also features a cameo from Oscar-winning director of the new film Sir Peter Jackson, as well as Gollum.
Millions have watched the video on YouTube since it was released on Halloween.
The premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will be held at Wellington’s Embassy Theatre on November 28.