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Shrek a merino marketing monster

Shrek a merino marketing monster

Global news media coverage of the Shrek phenomenon is worth more than money can buy for the merino and premium garment industry, advertising leader James Hall says.

Before-and-after images of Shrek being shorn have been transmitted globally by the world's new agencies and picked up by newspapers, television and radio stations and websites. These include The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian and The Sun in London and the Washington Times, San Francisco Chronicle and Miami Herald in the US. The story has introduced merino to audiences from Papua New Guinea to Latvia.

International news websites such as the BBC, CNN, Google and Yahoo have also featured the Shrek story prominently, as have syndicated television and radio stations.

Hall, who has just returned to New Zealand from London where he was head of Saatchi & Saatchi, said the exact value of the coverage in dollar terms was "certainly in the tens of millions of dollars".

He said, however, it was impossible to put a true value against a story that captured the world's imagination and centred on a New Zealand brand.

"It's one thing to have a good news story but another altogether to have a story that goes right to the heart of your product benefits and which captures the world's attention. It's a marketer's dream."

At the centre of this global attention was merino outdoor clothing company Icebreaker. A special Icebreaker merino top was made for Shrek using three different Icebreaker fabrics and this image, featuring, was beamed around the world.

Icebreaker CEO Jeremy Moon, a pioneer of the premium merino garment industry, says the exposure is already worth many millions of dollars and is "brilliantly timed" given Icebreaker's rapid expansion in the US, Europe and NE Asia.

"This has thrust New Zealand merino wool onto the world stage, has linked the origin of merino to the beauty of the Southern Alps, and has completed the cycle by highlighting the product it becomes," Moon said.

Moon said the website had "gone ballistic" with more than one million hits within 24 hours of Shrek's new top appearing in the media around the world.

Customers and distributors from all around the world had also called and emailed.

The NZ Merino Company, which markets merino fibre and products globally, was the catalyst behind much of the exposure.

CEO John Brakenridge said that like many organisations located within New Zealand but exporting to the world, NZ Merino operated on tight marketing budgets.

"The media exposure around Shrek is equivalent to more than 50 years' worth of our international marketing budget. Creative marketing is the cornerstone of our promotional activity, which is why we got behind this opportunity from the outset.

"Shrek survived the toughest conditions thanks to a fleece that locked in heat during winter and protected him from sun in summer, keeping him cool. The sporting and outdoor garment industries such as Icebreaker are now discovering these unique qualities and putting this technology from nature to use as clothing for humans."

"The country's 700 merino growers have long known this high country animal and the fibre it produces is something unique. Now the rest of the world knows as well."

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