For three weeks every year, the World of WearableArt (WOW), an internationally renowned design competition in New Zealand, attracts incredible works of wearable art created by designers in more than 40 countries around the globe. WOW showcases the best of these creations in a spectacular show attended by over 60,000 people annually, and to celebrate the event’s 30th anniversary, WOW partnered with principal sponsor, Mazda NZ, to create the first ever WOW My Town roadshow.
By taking the magic of WOW to the people of New Zealand, the roadshow created a strong synergy between two brands that embody design, imagination, and innovation. Secondly, the roadshow was a way to give back to the communities and individuals who have supported WOW’s vision since its humble beginnings in small-town NZ.
Auckland, NZ-based Boyd PR was tasked with developing and planning the roadshow campaign. “Our success came down to the natural alignment of the two brands—both Mazda and WOW are centred around design and innovation,” says Managing Director John Boyd.
The firm’s specific goals were to:
- Offer a ‘money can’t buy’ experience to long-time WOW fans, strengthening brand affinity for both Mazda and WOW
- Generate positive media coverage with brand mentions
- Generate interest in ticket sales for the 2019 show
- Connect WOW with heartland NZ and create a unique piece of content
Read on to see how Boyd’s campaign held firm to a tight schedule and exceeded its goals—and as a result, took home a Silver Award in Bulldog’s 2019 PR Awards.
To ensure the success of WOW My Town, the Boyd team conducted research to determine where WOW super fans were located across the country, which allowed them to capture a cross-section of heartfelt, personal memories about WOW from the past 30 years. They also made the strategic decision to target places that also provided stunning locations, and this ensured extraordinary visuals and stills of the WOW models and garments, strengthening the video content. Wherever the roadshow stopped, the public was able to engage with the models and garments in an upfront and personal way. This offered the public a unique experience otherwise only available at the Nelson, NZ-based WOW museum or at the show. The Mazda vehicles became a moving snapshot of history, as the vehicle wraps were designed to showcase a timeline of some of the award-winning garments from the past 29 years.
“The hardest part of the WOW My Town roadshow was how little time we had—we visited six towns in ten days which meant everything had to go exactly according to plan,” Amy Taylor, Account Manager and campaign lead explains. “The team was up until midnight most nights editing video footage and creating social media content for us to share on Mazda NZ’s social pages as we went.”
To launch the roadshow, the team implemented a multifaceted strategy, including:
- Media outreach program
- Cross-channel promotion between brands
- Bespoke teaser social media campaign—this was an important part of the storytelling process as the Boyd team began the narrative at the Nelson “home” of WOW where Founder Dame Suzie Moncrieff launched the roadshow around the country
The campaign’s primary target audience was those with a rich history and sense of connection to WOW, as well as potential new attendees and local and national media. In the planning of this campaign, Boyd PR took a collaborative approach with the WOW team. The garments are artwork and, as such, had a strict protocol in terms of the way they were represented.
It was critical that WOW representatives were involved in both the planning and execution of the roadshow. The Mazda CX-9 and Mazda6 visited Auckland, Taupo, Nelson, Christchurch and Queenstown from the September 15-24, 2018, before ending in Wellington just in time for the 2018 WOW Awards Show Opening Night on September 27.
Taking unique and delicate garments on the road for two weeks and ensuring they continued to look amazing was a potential barrier. By working closely with WOW experts, the team achieved this through careful and precise packing of the garments. They also needed to maintain the interest of our target audiences during the roadshow, so the film crew filmed and uploaded new content in real-time—allowing fans to feel as though they were a part of the road trip. Social media was further utilised to gain mass awareness through promoted ticket giveaways on Mazda’s Facebook page.
In addition, the team engaged local media at each stop, with an invite to the high foot traffic location where they would be displaying the garments, and then followed up with beautiful imagery from the visit. They also partnered with Mediaworks, who ran a radio promotion for three weeks supporting the roadshow. Radio is a strong medium in the regions, and was the right tool to extend the campaign’s reach to the target audiences.
The roadshow content was edited into a 10-minute film that featured in a bespoke installation at the 2018 WOW Hub on Wellington’s waterfront, playing on a custom-made prism connected to the car via an over-exaggerated power cord. The sharp edges and mirrored surface of the prism represented the reflective nature of the content playing through it. The main challenges were logistical, the road trip covered a lot of ground in just 10 days with very little turnaround time —and there was no room for error.
There was, of course, the risk that no one would show up, but the team countered this by utilising the insights they had available. For example, they visited towns where a high percentage of ticket sales have previously come from, and where there is a strong fan base, be it designers, models or other people who have had a rich history with the show.
Key outcomes from the campaign included:
Goal 1: Offer a priceless experience to veteran WOW fans, and improve brand awareness for both Mazda and WOW
- The roadshow engaged thousands of fans across the country, with the majority taking the time to share their memories of WOW with the crew
- The anecdotal feedback from people was they were immensely grateful for the opportunity to see WOW in their towns
Goal 2: Generate positive media coverage with brand mentions
- 13 pieces of earned media coverage to an estimated circulation of 385,000 people, including the national Sunday Star Timesnewspaper
- 110,000 social media engagements across the campaign
Goal 3: Connect WOW with heartland NZ and capture a special piece of content for the WOW Hub
- The final 10-minute cinematic execution was seen by the 60,000 people who attended WOW shows in 2018 plus onlookers of an estimated 10,000 throughout show season, and an additional 1,800 on Facebook
“We are proud that we were able to strengthen brand affinity between Mazda and WOW, while also offering a ‘money can’t buy’ experience to long-time World of WearableArt fans and give back to the communities and individuals who have supported WOW’s vision since its humble beginnings in small-town New Zealand,” says Boyd.
“The biggest lesson we took away from this campaign is that there’s no such thing as planning too far ahead,” Taylor offers. “Getting council approval to activate in the towns, film and use drones and creating traffic management and health and safety plans was very time consuming and required us to be very organised and detail-oriented—there were definitely nights I couldn’t sleep worried that we had forgotten something!”