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Campaign renders new direction for Fly Buys

Campaign renders new direction for Fly Buys

Fly Buys is looking to the past to produce an advertising campaign for the future, as part of a major increase in dollar spend behind New Zealand’s largest loyalty programme.

Tonight (Sunday 6 August) New Zealanders will receive their first sight of a $5 million campaign using exhaustively hand-rendered animated images, incorporating techniques first used in the 1920s.

At the heart of the campaign is an animated Fly Buys card called Cecil, who personifies Fly Buys and helps guide New Zealanders to increase their points earning capacity.

Cecil’s first advertisement was painstakingly made from more than 1,000 individual drawings, rather than produced through computer animation alone, because of the additional details required to ensure Cecil was lifelike.

Produced by Clemenger BBDO in Wellington, the new campaign was directed by Euan Frizzell over a period of six weeks.

“It may seem remarkable in a day and an age dominated by the computer, that computer animation, while able to produce detailed images, is still not able to generate those intangible qualities that allow people to relate to a character,” Mr Frizzell said.

The first advertisement alone, for example, contains 750 individual illustrations of Cecil as he jumps out of a wallet and introduces himself.

Modern technology, however, does have a part to play.

After each illustration is drawn, it is loaded onto a computer, which then adds light and shade and smooths out Cecil’s movement. Once the smoothing process has been completed, the images are again manually hand rendered – this time to imbued them with colour.

Clemenger BBDO’s Jeff Clark said the decision to use an animated image was motivated by a desire for a device that could be used in a variety of media and alongside the brands of the 27 Fly Buys participant companies.

“Cecil brings an added human dimension to the programme around the most ubiquitous element of the programme – the Fly Buys card - and provides a focal point for guiding New Zealanders to make the card even more rewarding.”

Mr Clark said there was also a strong desire to create a sense of expectation of rewards, as opposed to anticipation.

“In the past, communications relating to travel rewards of all types have tended to rely on cliched images of anticipated far-off shores and endless glistening beaches.

“What we want to communicate is far more tangible – ‘there’s a wedding in Timaru in October and we want to be there’ sort of stuff.”

Fly Buys General Manager Alastair Hutchens said the campaign provided a fundamentally new direction for communications for Fly Buys and would add a new dimension to what was already a powerful brand.

“From a marketing perspective, the very success of Fly Buys has, ironically, also proved to be somewhat of a handicap.

“The brand’s omnipresence has made it part of the New Zealand retail landscape. With this campaign we are setting out to ensure that the brand’s strength is matched by it level of evocation,” said Mr Hutchens.

Fly Buys is the most successful loyalty programme in New Zealand with 27 participating companies and more than 765,000 households as Members (or over 1.6m cardholders). It is free to join.

Members have already taken the equivalent of 707 Boeing 737 aircraft flights.


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