The heart of the edge of the world

May 8, 2007

I’m a big fan of the ideas behind The New Zealand Edge.

Here is where the name comes from:

The metaphor was given to me by Kevin Kelly, founding editor of Wired. I drove Kevin to Karekare, as one does, when he visited in 1996. He said that New Zealand was really easy to understand, because in biology – his genre – change and innovation occurs first on the edge of a species, where the population is most sparse. New forms of life emerge on the margins, away from the deadening effects of the center. The excitement is on the wing, not in the scrum.
Brian Sweeney, Victoria University Design Conference, 2003

Applying these ideas to New Zealand came out of the work that Saachi & Saachi did for the Tourism Board in the late 90’s, before being dumped because of a scandal involving a dinner between Kevin Roberts and Jenny Shipley.

In it’s place we got the “100% Pure” campaign.

They have great photography of amazing scenery and of course an award winning website, but it feels like an unfortunate compromise to me.

We must turnaround our fixation with beauty. We have to stop defining ourselves in terms of other countries’ standards. We’re actually not going to win a ‘My Alps Are Bigger Than Your Alps’ contest, so we’ve got to add massively to the existing set of perceptions about New Zealand. People don’t have a really great holiday here just because the mountains are so beautiful, or the fishing’s great, or the fjords terrific. People are the essence of most memorable tourist experiences.
Kevin Roberts, NZ Tourism Industry Association Conference, 1998

Here is a video of a recent speech where Kevin Roberts applies the same ideas to Wellington:

The heart at the edge of the world

It’s 38mins, but worth watching.

Here are a couple of quotes that stuck with me:

On measuring the success of an advertisement:

The only question that matters is ‘do you want to see it again?'

On engagement:

It’s not about ‘marketing at’ it’s about ‘connecting with'

Good stuff!

P.S. You might notice that their logo is the alternative NZ flag design, as proposed by Lloyd Morrison and friends (see What ever happened to that campaign? It seems to have just fizzled out eh? What a shame!