From planning to booking: Air New Zealand leverages TrueView and bumper ads to effectively reach Australians

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When Aussies browse international flights, there’s no shortage of competitive offers and options. Looking to reach these prospective travellers throughout the booking journey, Air New Zealand used a unique combination of YouTube TrueView and bumper ads, boosting awareness, consideration, and sales.

Goals
Increase bookings
Increase brand awareness and consideration
Approach
Used a combination of long- and short-form YouTube ads
Launched campaign with TrueView hero video
Ran Google Preferred ads alongside TV
Remarketed with bumper ads and banners to drive sales
Results
+40-57% lift in brand awareness
+53% lift in brand consideration
+241% increase in market share
+37% increase in bookings
+374% increase in Skycouch purchases online

Air New Zealand has been a well-known airline in Australia for the last 77 years. But with more than 15 international airlines competing for the attention of wanderlusting travellers, the brand was operating in an increasingly crowded market. Only 40% of Australians were aware of Air New Zealand’s international flights to North and South America, and only 20% were considering booking an international flight with the airline.

Realising it needed to change its perception quickly or risk being left behind, Air New Zealand set out to develop a campaign that would reach potential travellers across screens and platforms during each stage of the booking journey.

Launching an innovative, memorable YouTube campaign

In 2016, Air New Zealand launched its first national integrated marketing campaign in Australia, with YouTube playing a significant role in the media mix.

First, Air New Zealand wanted to create a memorable character to carry its ambitious campaign. That’s where a CGI goose named Dave came in (voiced by beloved Australian actor Bryan Brown). The hook was that Dave prefers to fly on Air New Zealand to North America instead of flying himself across the ocean.

After working on executional planning earlier in the year, Air New Zealand launched the campaign using an innovative content strategy to create and distribute the ads on YouTube. A “hero” video ran as the broad awareness piece, telling the full story of “Dave the goose” and showing off the airline. Shorter ads served across YouTube featured the character enjoying specific features like the Skycouch, luggage-free connections through Auckland, and destinations like LA. This content encouraged planning, while other helpful videos included price points with the destinations to encourage booking.

Reaching potential travellers with TrueView + bumpers strategy

Air New Zealand knew its hero video would be perfect for TV, but having one good piece of content in one place wasn’t enough. Before running the hero video in cinemas and on TV, the brand introduced Dave on YouTube with bumper ads that ran for 24 hours. These six-second videos got Australians quickly acquainted with the high-flying goose character, teasing and amplifying the hero piece.

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After the campaign was off the ground, Air New Zealand used Google Preferred to build reach and frequency, and it served the hero video across TrueView to boost engagement. The brand continued using bumpers to re-engage potential travellers, re-targeting users with creatives that focused on destinations and price points to drive sales.

Dave the goose drives awareness and consideration in Australia

Thanks to Air New Zealand’s innovative content strategy, the campaign was a flying success, generating significant media interest and coverage. The two-minute hero video garnered more than 8M views with an average watch time of 88 seconds.

Most importantly, the campaign immediately transformed brand perceptions, driving an unprecedented lift in awareness and bookings for Air New Zealand’s previously unknown long-haul offerings. The brand saw a 40-57% lift in brand awareness and a 53% lift in brand consideration in Australia, while its market share of flights to North America jumped from 4.1% to 14% over the campaign period.

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The campaign spoke to travellers across the entire booking journey, driving a 155% increase in Skycouch searches on YouTube and a 374% increase in Skycouch purchases online. Furthermore, a 195% increase in overall brand searches led to a 37% increase in bookings.

Tourism New Zealand Uses YouTube Bumper Ads to Turn Potential Travellers From Dreamers to Doers