Hooton on 100% pure

Matthew Hooton writes in NBR:

The usual suspects are at it again.

After the Fonterra fiasco, the likes of the Daily Mail, Rod Oram, the Chinese Communist Party and the Green Party are again targeting Tourism New Zealand’s 100% Pure campaign.

I wonder if other countries put up with this nonsense? Many countries have marketing slogans that are of course not literal statements of fact.

In fact, the 100% Pure campaign was never exclusively or even primarily about the environment.

Launched in 1999 by the Shipley government, and maintained throughout Helen Clark and Mr Key’s prime ministerships, 100% Pure was always about the quality of the visitor experience.

Jumping off a bridge tied by the feet to an elastic band is 100% Pure adrenalin, dining on fresh crayfish and Cloudy Bay is 100% Pure indulgence, and so forth.

Tourism New Zealand’s market research always showed that tourists and potential tourists understood the campaign’s messages far better than those who, for domestic political reasons, have co-opted 100% Pure and subverted it to be solely about the natural environment.

Matthew is absolutely right. They are trying to hijack what the slogan is about.

Indeed, early market research suggested that the initial 100% Pure imagery was too focussed on the natural environment and neglected people and activities. Potential tourists wondered if there was anything to actually do in New Zealand except stare at a lake.

As a result, through most of its history, 100% Pure’s imagery has been designed to tell a story of how landscapes, people and activities combine to produce a uniquely, 100% New Zealand experience.

Environmental lunatics like Dr Ehrlich may define a world as 100% Pure only if there are no people in it but most human beings understand they have just as much right to be part of the environment as the Eritrean gannet.

Indeed, a country with no humans is the only way you can be 100% environmentally pure.

Those who doubt how our environment stacks up are clearly ignorant of the rest of the world but those who visit here are not. In Tourism New Zealand’s 2012 Visitor Experience Monitor, satisfaction with our landscapes and natural scenery received an overall rating of 9.5 out of 10, the highest rating in the survey and ahead of food, beverages and shopping.

Only 9.5/10. What a disgrace.

The commercial danger is that the green movement’s misrepresentation of 100% Pure will create pressure for it to be dropped.

100% Pure is the most successful tourism marketing campaign in history, winning dozens of international awards including best destination marketing campaign at the 2012 World Travel Awards for its latest 100% Middle Earth iteration.

Part of its secret is its longevity. While other countries change their tourism campaigns regularly, 100% Pure has survived 13 years. Its core message has been repeated for so long that it has become well enough known to be worth theDaily Mail criticising it.

The data speaks for itself. Since it was launched, holiday arrivals have increased by 56%, from 785,000 in 1998/9 to 1,224,000 in 2012/3. Total revenue is up 53% to $5.5 billion. 

Yet a few dedicated people want us to drop it.

New Zealand is a clean and green country, with a beautiful natural environment, and offers a wide range of 100% Pure holiday experiences. We should be proud of it. And the green movement and their foreign backers should stop running it down.

Hear hear.

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