Colenso BBDO

Spark New Zealand

Client: Spark New Zealand
Product: Spark
Title: Kupu
Media: PHD Media
Country: New Zealand
Date Of Campaign: 09/09/2018

Background: The global connectivity enabled by smartphones is contributing to the decline of indigenous languages everywhere. Our now homogenous way of communicating is steadily eclipsing our native languages, making them obsolete. On average, one indigenous language dies every 14 days. While New Zealand’s te reo Maori has seen an increase in revitalisation efforts, learning opportunities remain limited. Just 3% of the population speak te reo fluently. As a Kiwi company and leader in technology, Spark – New Zealand’s largest telco – was in a unique position to help and deliver on their purpose: to help all of New Zealand win big in a digital world. Our vision was to provide Kiwis with a more accessible and easier way to learn te reo Maori than ever before. With the benefit of being one of New Zealand’s largest mobile providers, the opportunity was already sitting in 3.8 million Kiwis’ pockets.

Idea: To deliver a cutting-edge learning experience, Spark partnered with Te Aka Maori Dictionary and Google to use the technology that’s part of the problem to contribute to the solution.Kupu, (the Maori translation for ‘word’), is an app that instantly translates the world around you into te reo Maori. Powered by Google Cloud Vision and Translate APIs, with knowledge from Te Aka Maori Dictionary, Kupu uses Machine Learning to identify objects in your photos and translate them into te reo Maori, in real time. It serves up the most likely translation and audio pronunciation, then provides other options for what it detects in the image. It also lets the user input words and make corrections, so the app is constantly learning and iterating.It is well known that language learning benefits greatly from the reinforcement of vocabulary and concepts through pictures, so Kupu’s image-based learning outputs are not only fun, but effective. It puts bite-sized language learning in the palm of every smartphone user in NZ in an engaging, visual way – turning any environment into a fun language learning opportunity. During Maori Language Week, we blanketed Kiwis with contextually targeted translations of everyday objects wherever they turned, heroing Kupu’s camera viewfinder to transform every placement into a Kupu experience. On bus backs, we translated an image of ‘bus’ to ‘pahi,’ like you’d see using the app. On TV and YouTube, people watching cooking shows saw translations for ‘herbs’ and ‘bread.’The creative was designed to show the product in action, calling upon Kiwis to download Kupu, explore with it, and learn from it.The proposition was simple: take a photo, learn a language.

Results: In the first two weeks, Kupu had 120,000 downloads, 2 million image translations and 2.5 million audio plays (word pronunciations), exceeding download targets by 650%.Kupu was the #1 trending app on the App Store and Google Play stores. The app garnered an estimated earned media reach of 6.4 million.While it’s difficult to track shifting attitudes to language, 58% of our audience said Kupu positively affected how they view Spark, and 70% believed Kupu raised the profile of te reo Maori.Kupu recently won the Supreme Award at the 2018 National Maori Language Awards. To win the Supreme Award by the very body who are committed to te reo Maori revitalisation in New Zealand is possibly the highest honour in this area.The tech and software used to create Kupu is to be made free to use with any indigenous language in the world. Download Kupu directly from the link here:

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