VMLY&R New Zealand

Statistics New Zealand
"Even Harry Styles"

Client: Statistics New Zealand
Product: New Zealand Census Survey
Title: Even Harry Styles
Media: PR, Social
Country: New Zealand
Date Of Campaign: 23 February - 7 March 2023

Background: For most New Zealanders, Census Day is not an exciting one. It's a national survey required by law, with little to no perceived payback for everyday people. For the first time, the 2023 New Zealand Census was including questions about sexuality and gender. Making it the most inclusive census ever.Our challenge was to find ways to make a forced government survey relevant and exciting for people from all walks of life, including disengaged youth.

Idea: Even Harry Styles After digging through census law, we found out that everyone in the country on Census Day needed to take part. We discovered that the champion of inclusivity himself, Harry Styles was set to perform in Auckland on Census Day, meaning technically he'd have to take part too.But we didn't just want Harry to take part, we wanted him to use his influence to advocate for the nation to join him. So, a week before Census Day (and Harry's Auckland concert), we confirmed on Twitter that everyone in the country on March 7 would need to fill out the census, even former members of One Direction – setting off a social media and global news frenzy. We also sent a census scarf to Harry’s guitarist, New Zealander Ny Oh, for her to wear on stage. Along with signs for eager fans to hold in the crowd. And then we, and the whole nation, waited for his answer.

Results: On Census Day, in front of 40,000 ecstatic fans, with the curious nation watching on, Harry answered the question on everyone’s lips – he had done the census with us. Singing our campaign song and encouraging everyone to take part, he helped turn the typically dry, low-interest census into a cultural moment in history. As word about Harry headlined the news, online participation in census soared, with peaks directly corresponding to the national news coverage. Many respondents later confirmed they did it ‘because of Harry Styles’.Our campaign reached 25.6 million, in a nation of just 5 million (currently being counted).

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