VMLY&R New Zealand

Coastguard New Zealand
"The Long Swim Home"

Client: Coastguard New Zealand
Product: Coastguard membership
Title: The Long Swim Home
Media: The Project in show segment, TV, radio, OOH, press, digital display, facebook, instagram
Country: New Zealand
Date Of Campaign: 16th Nov 2020 – 31st Mar 2021

Background: Situation: New Zealand has the highest number of recreational boat users per capita in the world. But not enough of them are Coastguard members. Brief: We needed to draw their attention to the value of a Coastguard membership, which could not just help save your life by supporting the vital rescue charity, but also save you hundreds of dollars on a tow should your boat break down at sea – something that happens surprisingly often, with flat batteries, fuel problems and flooded engines.Objectives: Get more boat users engaged and signed up to a $115 annual Coastguard membership.

Idea: If your boat gets stranded miles out at sea, it’s not like you can walk home. So what are you going to do? To draw attention to the very real problem facing thousands of New Zealand boat users every year, we held an ocean swim race with a difference: The Long Swim Home. This swim race started from a stranded boat in the middle of the Hauraki Gulf, 3km out at sea; a common distance recreational boats break down. Only an elite swimmer would make it to shore – the ocean currents would prove too much for the rest. As exhausted boaties were dragged from the water by Coastguard, they shared their new-found appreciation for membership, which could save your life and hundreds of dollars on a tow. An absurd dramatization of what not to do at sea, we’d use the swim content to trigger engagement and membership signs ups.

Results: The content triggered mass engagement on social, with 5.3 million social media impressions, and the highest membership signups in Coastguard’s history. Online, boaties enthusiastically agreed “The Long Swim Home” was not a viable option, and that if you get stranded at sea, the best thing to do was stay with your boat and get help. An even better thing to do was get a $115 Coastguard membership, which would help you with free on-water assistance in the event of a breakdown, and with a life-saving rescue in event of an emergency. With a new appreciation for the risks of getting stranded and the benefits of Coastguard membership, more than 21,000 boaties raced online to sign up and pay the $115 annual membership fee, providing millions of dollars in vital funding to the volunteer rescue charity dedicated to saving lives at sea.

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