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Campaign of the Year


Winner
Campaign Title

Richie McCaw Chopper Challenge
Client

Westpac New Zealand
Agency

Westpac Media Relations Team

Westpac has been sponsoring rescue chopper services in New Zealand for more than 25 years. For the annual appeal in 2011, it wanted a fresh approach. This was also needed given the strong response for public donations following the two Christchurch earthquakes in September 2010 and February 2011. The PR campaign focused on driving widespread awareness about the work that choppers do and to elevate the appeal to top of mind among the key target audiences — provincial communities, school children and their parents, and Westpac customers and staff. It was important for the campaign to be aligned to and be representative of Westpac’s corporate values, which include ‘inspiring goodwill in our communities’ and ‘delighting consumers’. The three-person Westpac media relations team originated and executed the ‘Richie McCaw Chopper Challenge’. With New Zealand hosting the 2011 Rugby World Cup the appeal focused on utilizing the biggest name in the New Zealand game and several former high profile players to try and capture the public and media’s attention. The strategy was to offer the prize of McCaw visiting the school that raised the most funds per capita for a three-hour visit. The execution of the campaign required skilled stakeholder management and organisation. Logistics included coordinating 51 school visits. Pitches also had to be made to the media. Key messages focused on the role of the rescue helicopter in the community. The appeal generated the most media coverage in the sponsorship’s 25-year history and raised a record amount of funds. More than 100 schools registered for the challenge. The challenge also helped to raise awareness and pride among Westpac staff.