100% Pure New Zealand BrandIt’s been around for a while now (over 10 years) and quite possibly one of the most successful and unique tourism brands in the world that has stood the test of time.  But is it time for something new? Would anything new just be a hard act to follow? Or a welcome evolution of progress and the growth of our industry?
We certainly wouldn’t want something safe and generic like the new Australian “There’s nothing like…” campaign.  Yet 100% Pure is more than a campaign, it is a true brand that has earned it’s significance and can be interpreted on so many levels – it’s not just about being pure and green, it’s about promoting pure New Zealand experiences.

Changing a brand that works so well is a big decision, a gutsy move and something that perhaps should not be done just because “it’s time” but because it’s no longer relevant or effective.  Tourism New Zealand certainly haven’t indicated a change is coming but it’s no doubt something for the new CEO Kevin Bowler to consider with his team.

Overall I think it’s a been and still is an effective overall umbrella brand for New Zealand and we should continue to create campaigns, like the “Youngest Country” and other more tactical campaign initiatives  under that umbrella that can be differentiated to continue to inspire and attract our various target markets.

I’d be interested to hear the thoughts of others in our industry with your opinion is as to whether we should still be “100% Pure New Zealand”?

20 thoughts on “100% Pure New Zealand Brand – Is it Time to Change?

  1. I like 100% Pure (in spite of comments lately about the validity of that claim). I think it’s still fresh enough in principle. Personally I’d brainstorm it. Pull it apart, throw it around, ask the questions – why? what are we trying to achive? what is our vision for NZ tourism? – and then put it back together again. If it looks the same, so be it. If it’s just earned a splash of colour or a new typeface, may be that’s fine too. If there’s a hole that emerges from the process, perhaps it’s time for a facelift.

    1. May I ask, which company did the campaign and does it continue to exist?


  2. This is something I’ve been thinking about quite a lot lately. I’m from the UK, and a younger version of myself used to love saying and telling people about ‘100% Pure NZ’. But I’m not feeling it anymore. It’s almost like discovering there’s no Father Christmas. Lately there has been so much going on that doesn’t fit within what ‘100% Pure NZ’ meant to me and it’s made me feel incredibly sad.

    I don’t think anything could ever successfully replace the ‘100% Pure NZ’ brand because it would be like admitting that the spark has gone. However, something needs to happen to make people believe once again before it’s too late. The brand is so well known across the world that it’s almost like a celebrity, and we all know what happens to celebrities when they act out of character.

    1. Some great feedback John – you’ve made some good points and interesting to get a UK perspective. If you feel this way makes me wonder how many others, especially travellers, think so too.
      It’s easy to blindly follow the “100% Pure” mantra because it’s so idealistic, but it also has to be realistic. For example the issues related around Freedom Camping are certainly NOT 100% Pure.
      If there’s a rising feeling from within our target market that 100% Pure is no longer positive then it would be a wise time to review and come up with something we can deliver on 100%.

      1. Thanks Michelle 🙂 The issues around freedom camping certainly aren’t 100% Pure, I’ve seen it myself in a number of places.

        If New Zealand were unable to deliver on the ‘100% Pure’ brand, what would it mean for our international visitor numbers? Would a long haul flight to a not so pure New Zealand still be an acceptable option?

  3. True, the 100% Pure branding could become a liability…but what about the implications of moving away from that ‘promise’? Isn’t that a bit like admitting defeat? Shouldn’t we up our game to achieve those standards rather than lower the bar? I can’t help envisaging a bit of a backlash. Perhaps part of the branding review/exercise is to be seen to be actively addressing those areas that don’t meet 100% Pure? Afterall, the brand is more than a logo and a tagline.

    1. Definitely! Nothing would make me happier than seeing the country step up to the mark once again. But with the well documented backward steps the government seems to be taking, what example have people got to follow?

      In regards to the freedom camping issue maybe campervan hire companies need to look at products like http://www.peepoople.com/index.php. If people are going to continue having needs and councils are unwilling to fork out for the amenities to meet their needs, then maybe we need to be giving things like this a try?!

      1. I dig the peepoople concept! Absolutely. Come on, the Kiwis are no.8 wire folk, sideways thinkers unafraid to try something a bit different…this is exactly what I mean by addressing the problem – find innovative solutions to make steps towards the goal NZ set itself.

        1. It’s a very cool concept, whatever will those Swedes think of next?! 🙂

          Definitely agree with the ‘no.8 wire folk’ comment, if there was ever a country that could conjure up a working solution it would be New Zealand!

          What other creative solutions can be put forward?

  4. Before Kiwis develop a solution they first have to accept that there is a problem. Sadly, many do not see the problem.

    At a recent workshop on sustainable practices a nature tour operator in Dunedin said “We are not that bad. Have you been to the Pyramids? We pollute a lot less that the Egyptians!”

    This is a bit like saying, “I am not that bad. I beat my wife and kids a lot less that some of my neighbours.”

    NZ is a very special country but is hanging onto its image only because of the small population. If it had 50-60 million people (average for its land mass) doing what is currently being done then it would be a very different matter.

    A major part of the problem has been the bad job done to date by the Green party and other “Greenies” (a derogatory term in NZ), who have being selling conservation as a practice of going without and paying through the nose for it.

    They have have failed to show the huge benefits to be had from sustainability, not just for the planet but for business and lifestyle too!

  5. Something to consider is that the proposition “100% Pure New Zealand” has quite a different meaning from “New Zealand 100% Pure”.
    I think the intention of the brand is to mean so much more than a perception of being clean and green, but more about experiencing something uniquely kiwi – from our culture to our adventure activities to our food and wine and so on.
    Unfortunately the key take from the words 100% Pure has largely been about the environment – so perhaps the marketing of it’s meaning just needs to evolve and become less subtle.

  6. There is no doubt that the 100% Pure brand campaign is respected in advertising circles.
    I agree that there has been a shift in public perception and 100% Pure has moved from an aspirational attitude/experience slogan to a tall poppy, environmental over-promise.
    This unfortunately opens the branding to unrealistic environmental scrutiny. Ironically, the biggest knockers and wreckers appear to be hand-wringing Kiwis that wish to qualify their enviro-beliefs by overstating the negative man-made impact on the Kiwi landscape.
    There is also a risk that the 100% Pure branding will paint us as a bunch of 3rd world, boring luddites 😉
    With the advent of new media platforms, we suggest that it may be time to start questioning the ROI on taxpayer funded centralist coke-style branding campaigns.
    Maybe it’s time to get 100% Real?

  7. Hey all,
    Great comments and very good to see others out there with feedback and very valid points, ones that I completely agree with on most levels.
    In my opinion, I feel the 100% Pure NZ campaign is not hitting the mark anymore – it’s kind of similar to when not long ago, Americans that traveled started picking up on the vibe that the world was not happy with them anymore…
    I think NZ needs to find a pride in itself, its size and its ability to stand up against what ‘economic benefits’ the bigger countries are trying to push on us (ie mining, becoming a state of Australia (WHAT IS WITH THAT?????) – we ARE a small economy. Let’s embrace that, use it as a means to practice what we preach (which we are FAR from doing at the moment) and start making NZ a sustainably responsible country that the world will be inspired by in 2020…
    Working in tourism 100%, I see every day that we are not pure…

  8. Is it ironic or is it inevitable that it’s Kiwis speaking out about New Zealand environmental issues? And are they really doing it to qualify their enviro-beliefs or are they doing it because they feel their way of life threatened?

    I disagree that the 100% Pure branding would paint us as a bunch of 3rd world , boring luddites. And besides, would we really want to be bundled in with the rest of the ‘developed’ world. New Zealand’s better than that. It’s the perception of 100% Pure that makes New Zealand a good alternative to other destinations, and such a strong point of difference is necessary when we’re so far away from the competition.

    I agree that it would be a good time to start questioning the ROI of the branding campaigns, but not if it leads to finding ways to smooth over the growing cracks in New Zealand’s image/culture/character.

  9. Michelle, what a great feedback you’re getting! I’m not a kiwi native, been here for 8 years, coming from the Netherlands. If it’s decided to change the brand then there will have to be a very good reason. A more sustainable approach is basically taking the 100% pure direction further in a more genuine manner. The LOTR movies have done as much promotion of NZ as well as the 100% pure gig. The point is that it’s New Zealand’s nature that is the seller and that should, along with the kiwi culture and staunchness be the key. If this message (how accurate is another debate) is being changed just for the sheer ‘wanting to have a change thing’ it could very well become a diluted crappy version – which will do more damage then contribute. Every country has something going on, it doesn’t mean you have to hang the dirty washing on the line when visitors arrive. They want to see the green paradise. Give it to them. Believe me they’ll clue in once they live here for a while, but that is another story and also, may I say, another market.

    1. Obviously a topic people are opinionated and passionate about isn’t it. I think getting international perspectives and feedback is very valuable – kiwis tend to be very critical of our own patch.

  10. Its healthy to be debating the future relevance of the 100% pure positioning for NZ abroad. It has served us well. Before we began to broadly question it the international media have been expressing their doubts about its authenticity for a while now. Like all successful brands authenticity must be earned. We have earned our following. Or have we? Either way its the future that counts. For it to remain authentic and relevant we must make changes as a country. My hunch is these changes may be beyond the current administration. Rather than flog a tired brand that can no longer be authentic we should consider what else differentiates us socially, culturally and geographically.

  11. The 100% Pure brand has done for New Zealand what the new Auckland Super City Logo will never ever do for Auckland!

    It has worked, it has resonated with people and it has provided this country with attention and publicity (and visitors) beyond our wildest dreams.

    What great plans do we then have to replace it? Do we seriously want to risk everything just because its been around a while, or because we are frightened that we can’t measure up? And if we ditch the brand what will the critics have to say about us then? It certainly wont stop them.

    The challenge we have set ourselves is a worthy one. I prefer to think that the NZ tourism industry has done this country a favour in bringing the issue of environmental sustainability to the fore. NZ (along with the tourism industry) needs to rise to that challenge and get serious about protecting what we have.

    No Country has a perfect record. There will always be things that we get wrong. The important thing is that we stay on track.

    We should understand that the 100% Pure Brand was developed as aspirational brand, that aside we can use it to motivate all NZ’ers to lift our environmental game.

    I agree with Dr Ian Yeoman – the brand has never been more relevant than it is today!

  12. I get tired (and a little annoyed!) at defeatists who say “there is a spillage down the road” or “look at the rubbish someone has left behind”, using that as justification to dump the 100% Pure image.

    The fact is, New Zealand is clean, green and very unique in the world. Just ask the international tourists who are buying that proposition!

    While we may not be perfect all of the time, 100% Pure does in general and global terms encapsulate New Zealand.

    Long live 100% Pure New Zealand!

    John Stokes
    Online Tourism TV

  13. There is no denying the effectiveness of this campaign and with the new Hobbit-tourism DVD feature on the horizon I think it’s got some legs still for sure.

    I think others have hit this one on the head in so much as we, as NZers, aren’t living up to our own branding. I feel like there is a sea-change happening in the tourism industry, although there is a massive way to go yet. But when we release news like ’23 seals clubbed to death’ and ‘state-owned coal miner to turn lignite coal into diesel’ we are killing any effectiveness of the 100% pure campaign…

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