The Dim-Post

August 13, 2013

Shut the door. Have a seat.

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 8:49 am

The ‘Are we 100% Pure’ debate rages on, with the PM insisting that the slogan is just a marketing campaign and is therefore ‘aspirational’, and Labour deciding, weirdly, that we just need to abandon it because that’s easier than not turning all our rivers into toxic waste dumps.

As with most of our national crisis, this can best be resolved by asking ‘What would Don Draper do?’ And I think he’d say something along the lines of ‘Slogans are aspirational. They don’t need to be true, but you need to aspire to make them true.’

Disneyland calls itself ‘The Happiest Place on Earth’. They don’t mean that literally, but they try and make their customers happy. They don’t claim they’re the happiest place on earth and then pump tear gas into their air conditioning, which is kind of what New Zealand does when it calls itself 100% Pure and then floods most of its waterways with cow shit and approves open cast mines in its conservation sites.

102 Comments »

  1. When you say “conversation sites” do you really mean places that people sit down at chat? Or was it conservation?

    That said, I kinda like the idea that the state would promote people sitting down and talking to each other.

    Comment by jonob — August 13, 2013 @ 8:55 am

  2. “they try and make their customers happy” should be “they try TO make their customers happy” …. sorry, I just wanted to one-up a published author.

    you’re completely right about 100% slogan – branding has to have an element of truth to it or the customer gets really upset

    Comment by Dean — August 13, 2013 @ 9:13 am

  3. What would Don Draper do?
    http://theoatmeal.com/comics/wwddd

    Comment by Phil — August 13, 2013 @ 9:33 am

  4. New Zealand has added about 3.5 million cows to it’s national dairy herd over the past 20 years. A cow produces about 35 times more shit than a person. So it like we’ve added seventy million people to our countryside, and not bothered with building any new sewers. Not even Don Draper can spin that.

    Comment by Sanctuary — August 13, 2013 @ 10:04 am

  5. This really comes back to Fonterra, and an undiversified economy. Letting dairy farmers get away with unfenced water ways, and encouraging the use of nitrates to promote grass growth.There is an obvious desire for Fonterra to prosper, so the economy does, and this has been achieved off the back of the environment. Until we can lessen our reliance on dairy, we’re fucked.

    Comment by northshoreguynz — August 13, 2013 @ 10:43 am

  6. We need to ditch the 100% Pure campaign anyway. The ads they use just feel tired and overdone to me. Just like Nu-Metal.

    Comment by Auto_Immune — August 13, 2013 @ 11:10 am

  7. “New Zealand has added about 3.5 million cows to it’s national dairy herd over the past 20 years.”

    Each cow on a typical dairy farm is about 14-17 ewe equivalents so we’ve gained about 56 million eq. On the other hand the national sheep flock has reduced from over 70 million 25 years ago to about 31 million in 2011.. so not so bad as it looks.

    Also, a million hectares of trees have replaced sheep on a good deal of the hard hill country over the same period plus farmers have retired a lot of poor country back to scrub and eventually native forest.

    To me its not so much the numbers but the concentration of dairying in various regions.. I worry we dont have a good enough handle of the effects of dairying on dry lands supported by irrigation and in some places the movement of effluent through the soil from high country to lowland.

    Still, concentration has its advantages.. you can bring more of your abatement tools to bear on smaller areas.

    JC

    Comment by JC — August 13, 2013 @ 11:21 am

  8. “…This really comes back to Fonterra, and an undiversified economy. Letting dairy farmers get away with unfenced water ways, and encouraging the use of nitrates to promote grass growth.There is an obvious desire for Fonterra to prosper, so the economy does, and this has been achieved off the back of the environment. Until we can lessen our reliance on dairy, we’re fucked…”

    We think that because we’ve destroyed our manufacturing sector and have now reverted to making practically all our money from agriculture we are not an industrialised country but in a sense, we are – it is just our factories are huge open air ones using most advanced industrialised farming techniques in the world that ensure our cows, at least, are the most productive factory workers in the world. Now, there is nothing inherently at odds with a clean environment and running industrial scale farming, if that farming is well regulated and the infrastructure is put in place to support it. But the entire economic strategy of this National government has been to relax environmental regulations and safeguards in order to squeeze our enviromental lemon until it’s pips squeak for solely financial gain. You can’t approach exploiting the environment for economic gain with the values of a nineteenth century gold miner while at the same time branding yourself to appeal to twenty first century consumer values. It is a screaming contradiction. The Don Draper’s of this world can obscure that contradiction for a while, and the loyal establishment press can do it’s best to hide it for a while, but eventually all lies are found out.

    Comment by Sanctuary — August 13, 2013 @ 12:01 pm

  9. We

    Comment by NeilM — August 13, 2013 @ 12:32 pm

  10. “We want to be 100% pure”?

    Comment by NeilM — August 13, 2013 @ 12:33 pm

  11. I’ve never understood the purpose if the slogan.

    People buy a product because it’s good, not because the country of manufacture happens to make other products that are good.

    How does it serve a company such as Rakon?

    Comment by NeilM — August 13, 2013 @ 12:43 pm

  12. > I’ve never understood the purpose if (sic) the slogan.

    Well, quite. It reminds me of those silly slogans that a lot of cities and towns have (or had):

    Right Up My Hutt Valley.
    Of course you Canterbury.
    Hamilton, more than you expect.
    Dannevirke: Take a liking to a Viking.
    Dunedin, it’s all right here.
    You matter in Matamata.
    Mayfield (near Ashburton): Blink and you will miss out.
    Timaru: Touch, taste, feel.

    Comment by Ross — August 13, 2013 @ 1:06 pm

  13. > Labour deciding, weirdly, that we just need to abandon it

    There’s nothing weird about that. What’s weird is having a stupid slogan in the first place.

    Comment by Ross — August 13, 2013 @ 1:09 pm

  14. Foxton, the Fox Town of New Zealand

    Comment by danylmc — August 13, 2013 @ 1:16 pm

  15. @NeilM: “People buy a product because it’s good, not because the manufacturer happens to make other products that are good.”

    Apple. Not all their products are good, but people buy them because they have the logo.

    Brand awareness works.

    Comment by lefty — August 13, 2013 @ 2:02 pm

  16. > Brand awareness works.

    It might work for individual companies but you’d be hard pressed to apply it to a nation. Furthermore, if Apple’s brand was nothing more than “100% pure”, I think their marketing gurus would be shot.

    Comment by Ross — August 13, 2013 @ 2:13 pm

  17. “Foxton, the Fox Town of New Zealand”

    Hey, it was aspirational. In the same sense as “100% pure” is aspirational.

    Comment by Mark Hadfield — August 13, 2013 @ 3:03 pm

  18. It might work for individual companies but you’d be hard pressed to apply it to a nation

    Only if you completely ignore the well documented (Kotler & Gertner, 2002) brand cachet value that “Made in Japan” had on the consumer electronics market from the 1980s onwards.
    Or “Made in Germany” for cars.
    Or “Made in England” for pretty much anything manufactured there during from the mid 19th to mid 20th century.

    Comment by Gregor W — August 13, 2013 @ 3:04 pm

  19. Apple say “designed in California” on their products. That’s for a reason.

    Comment by Keir — August 13, 2013 @ 3:08 pm

  20. …also because “Made with Chinese child labour” didn’t position well with consumers.

    Comment by Gregor W — August 13, 2013 @ 3:22 pm

  21. Apple say “designed in California” on their products. That’s for a reason.

    Because it sounds better than “made in quasi-prison camp conditions by exploited labour, enabled by a dictatorial regime”?

    Comment by Flashing Light — August 13, 2013 @ 3:38 pm

  22. Bugger!

    Commented without refreshing. Sorry, Gregor W.

    Comment by Flashing Light — August 13, 2013 @ 3:38 pm

  23. Maybe we need a change of tourist strategy – legalise drugs and gambling and stuff, and move to a slogan out of Vegas. What does it say on the billboards (I don’t do telly, so my knowledge of popular culture is from billboards): “let the sin begin?”.

    Comment by richdrich — August 13, 2013 @ 3:41 pm

  24. Ah, the broad-brush opinion of ‘farmers who dump cow poo in rivers’. Regional councils are required to manage farm discharges to a much higher standard than that – and if there are discharges to rivers, it should be *treated* effluent (as councils do with residential and industrial wastewater) not raw cow poo washed away from the dairy shed.

    If you’re really interested in regional council requirements, have a look at what Taranaki Regional Council does:
    http://www.trc.govt.nz/dairy-farm-effluent/
    http://www.trc.govt.nz/assets/taranaki/environment/land/dairying-environment/effluent/1.pdf

    And just to throw another element into the mix: Any choliforms at the river mouths in North Taranaki mostly come from waterfowl, not from bovine or human sources. (And nearly all river mouths in NZ should be avoided for a few days after heavy rainfall.)

    Comment by Ataahua — August 13, 2013 @ 4:01 pm

  25. @24
    Just because the councils are supposed to manage farm discharges, does that mean they do?

    Comment by northshoreguynz — August 13, 2013 @ 4:09 pm

  26. @25: All of their activities for the year are in their annual reports, which should be on their websites, so you can see for yourself what effect any regional council is having on environment management. For example: http://www.trc.govt.nz/Annual-reports/

    Comment by Ataahua — August 13, 2013 @ 4:24 pm

  27. ” It might work for individual companies but you’d be hard pressed to apply it to a nation. ”

    Swiss timepieces; German optics, precision instruments, chemicals; Chinese and Japanese ceramics; Equador bananas; Irish linen; NZ lamb; NZ kiwifruit; Turkish hashish …the list is almost endless …

    Comment by Bruce Hamilton — August 13, 2013 @ 4:41 pm

  28. Russian Brides.

    I’ll get me coat…

    Comment by Clunking Fist — August 13, 2013 @ 5:45 pm

  29. ” It might work for individual companies but you’d be hard pressed to apply it to a nation. ”

    Swiss Chocolate; Belgian Waffles; French Croissants; Italian anything-that-goes-in-your-mouth.

    Comment by Phil — August 13, 2013 @ 5:56 pm

  30. As federated pharmas accurately pointed out the other day, that should be cow shit in the smaller waterways and human shit in the larger waterways and sea. (I don’t they used exactly that wording).

    Comment by Ralph — August 13, 2013 @ 6:04 pm

  31. Somali Pirates are also have a certain brand cachet.

    Comment by Gregor W — August 13, 2013 @ 6:05 pm

  32. And who can go past Romulan ale?

    Comment by Sanctuary — August 13, 2013 @ 7:59 pm

  33. Phil #29: “Italian anything-that-goes-in-your-mouth.”

    Designed in Italy. Made in Italy, on the other hand, is a very different kettle of fish.

    Comment by deepred — August 13, 2013 @ 8:10 pm

  34. It might be useful at this point to mention that agriculture makes up 7% of New Zealand’s GDP.

    Comment by Hugh — August 13, 2013 @ 8:12 pm

  35. I’m sorry, 5%! (7% of the labour force)

    Comment by Hugh — August 13, 2013 @ 8:25 pm

  36. Apple, google, Facebook, etc never relied in brand USA to succeed.

    They just got there first and did it well.

    Comment by NeilM — August 13, 2013 @ 11:05 pm

  37. I’ve had this sort of discussion recently about marketing for universities.

    We’ve had for a while this absurdity of universities spending millions on advertising – trying to poach students from other regions.

    And the ads are the normal generic crap sloganeering that’s not going to appeal in the slightest to the perpetually distracted social media generation.

    I’ve always argued that the best PR is the slow burn just do small things well.

    Comment by NeilM — August 13, 2013 @ 11:16 pm

  38. @Neil – The ‘100% Pure’ brand is currently the only advantage New Zealand manufacturers have in terms of adding value to products that could otherwise be produced cheaper and closer to major markets. Why we would actively trash that brand is beyond me, unless there was already a new comprehensive branding strategy ready to go. Its more than a brand too, the idea expressed is our entire niche within the global economy. Tourism, agriculture, cultural exports, manufacturing, all currently rely on the idea that the rest of the world feels that there is something inherently worth spending money on by association with New Zealand, as opposed to basically the exact same product that they could get closer to their by comparison ‘impure’ home. Russia has just banned Fonterra products simply because the brand has been tarnished, why should they ship our products across the world when they could get that same tarnished product without the long supply chain?

    And in keeping with the theme of this thread, your point at 36 is a facetious pile of bullshit.

    Comment by alex — August 13, 2013 @ 11:23 pm

  39. @alex

    For my sins early this year i spent some time in rural NSW.

    When the locals wanted a decent white wine they most often went for an NZ suav blanc. What better after a hard day at the mine.

    They actually weren’t they slightest bit interested in if we had mines here. They did however pay attention to the quality of the wine.

    Comment by NeilM — August 13, 2013 @ 11:45 pm

  40. Well thank heavens we can still sell products to a market of 20 million people right next door. Thats going to make a difference when we can’t sell to the billions of people who live in the Northern hemisphere.

    Comment by alex — August 13, 2013 @ 11:52 pm

  41. Let me know when our dairy sales collapse. I’m sure the Chinese are only too keen to source diary products from Japan or France where there’s no nuclear energy or mining.

    Comment by NeilM — August 13, 2013 @ 11:59 pm

  42. “…Let me know when our dairy sales collapse…”

    I’ve read that Fonterra baby milk products are anything up to fourteen times more expensive than the local product in China, and routinely command four times the price in most other markets, all because NZ is perceived to be clean, green producer of high quality, safe food. “Dairy sales collapse” is the usual distraction we expect from you. More to the point is the potential collapse in the farm gate return for our farmers.

    The tainting of our 100% Pure by literally shitting in our back yard is a big deal because clean, green and unspoilt is how we’ve sold NZ food products to the world forever. Not just dairying – everything. Icecream uses “NZ Natural”, when all know “natural” is nowadays a metaphor for pure. Our seafood is sold as coming from pristine waters. We tell the world our lambs gambol on unspoilt farms with sweeping green fields, not languish in sheds. We countered the food miles argument by pointing out how “natural” our animal rearing practices are.

    Without the marketing edge of being clean, green and 100% pure we are hauled back into the pack, just another player but the one furthest from the market. And Jesus – it isn’t as if keeping that clean, green reputation should be that hard. There are just 4.5 million of us on islands the size of Japan (pop. 100,000,000) and the UK (pop. 65,000,000). If the British can have trout in the lower reaches of the Thames, surely we can keep cow shit out of most of our rivers? Why have we become so pathologically complacent that we are incapable of admitting any truth we don’t like? Is it a consequence of having a completely tabloid media, who won’t feature stories that might make their readers think rather than just react?

    Comment by Sanctuary — August 14, 2013 @ 7:36 am

  43. @Sanc: Plenty of human shit and sheep shit included in that. That doesn’t excuse some (not all) dairy farmers doing the same, but one needs to be careful about assuming things that are not true. For example, photos of cows shitting in streams looks bad, but direct deposition is a very small portion of the problem – runoff is far more important, as is draining through soil.

    Comment by lefty — August 14, 2013 @ 7:58 am

  44. I was worried for a second, but NeilM says the PR effect is all good so I’m not worried anymore.

    Comment by Christopher Bull — August 14, 2013 @ 8:07 am

  45. For my sins I spent some time last year in Canada. I was surprised how many strangers asked, when they learned I was from NZ, whether it was true that our animals were farmed outdoors. Yes, I said, that is true for cows and sheep. Oh good, they said. We’re happy to pay more for meat from NZ because the animals can graze outdoors.

    Comment by MeToo — August 14, 2013 @ 8:43 am

  46. @MeToo

    Partly a climate thing. It’s pretty standard in the colder countries for animals to spend large amounts of time in doors. It doesn’t necessarily reduce quality.

    It always surprises me when each year surprised Southland sheep farmers go – oh my god it’s snowed and the lambs are dying.

    Comment by NeilM — August 14, 2013 @ 8:50 am

  47. @lefty – I don’t doubt that the general environmental degradation we’ve witnessed in our rural waterways in particular over the last twenty years have an equally general range of causative factors. But the issue isn’t even the source of the pollution. It is the refusal of so many to accept simple At the moment, we’ve got a government, farming and business sectors and rural communities engaging in obfustaction, wishful thinking and downright denial that a problem even exists. This refusal to face unpleasant facts seems to stem from the same root cause as climate change denial – anything that might act as an absolute limiter on growth is to be ignored for fear it might lead to fundamental questions being asked about the underlying assumptions that underpin the economic system behind these environmental disasters.

    A huge step forward would just be for Federated Farmers, the government and rural communities leaders to accept we’ve got a huge issue with dealing with the pollution caused by industrial farming, and start getting serious about coming up with and funding some solutions.

    Comment by Sanctuary — August 14, 2013 @ 9:02 am

  48. *It is the refusal of so many to accept simple facts…

    Comment by Sanctuary — August 14, 2013 @ 9:07 am

  49. “…It always surprises me when each year surprised Southland sheep farmers go – oh my god it’s snowed and the lambs are dying…”

    my old man was a tough as they come, a good keen man is the Barry Crump tradition who grew up on farms and in forestry camps. He’d shoot anything without a qualm, but every year he would rage at the television at the cruelty of early lambing. Let’s hope that doesn’t become the focus of any overseas news stories.

    Comment by Sanctuary — August 14, 2013 @ 9:12 am

  50. “Swiss timepieces; German optics, precision instruments, chemicals; Chinese and Japanese ceramics; Equador bananas; Irish linen; NZ lamb; NZ kiwifruit; Turkish hashish …the list is almost endless …”

    You’re talking about individual products while the discussion is about 100% pure as a national slogan. Try sticking to the topic.

    Comment by Ross — August 14, 2013 @ 9:38 am

  51. > Apple, google, Facebook, etc never relied in brand USA to succeed.

    There’s some on here who possibly think the only reason the All Blacks are so successful is due to their branding!🙂

    Comment by Ross — August 14, 2013 @ 9:40 am

  52. > Russia has just banned Fonterra products simply because the brand has been tarnished,

    I think you’ll find Russia has waded into this because they think there’s an opportunity to gain some advantage. It’s got nothing to do with “the brand”.

    Comment by Ross — August 14, 2013 @ 9:44 am

  53. Russia has just banned Fonterra products simply because the brand has been tarnished, why should they ship our products across the world when they could get that same tarnished product without the long supply chain?

    Banning all products by Fonterra suggests to me that Russia is/was probably doing it to be protectionist. If the brand is truly tarnished, then consumers would simply stop buying the stuff – no need to ban everything.

    Comment by Auto_Immune — August 14, 2013 @ 9:49 am

  54. The fact that our competitors have pounced on this to get protectionist barriers erected should act as a jolt to the dolts who think free trade is the promised land and once there we can do whatever we like and no one will notice or be able to do anything about it. Unfortunately, the last two comments show there are sill plenty of complacent fools who would prefer to stick their fingers in their ears and go “LA-LA-LA-LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU” than face up to the reality we live in a world where what we do or don’t do in this country to our environment is going to have real world ramifications.

    Comment by Sanctuary — August 14, 2013 @ 10:43 am

  55. Basically I think the 100% thing is a trap of our own making. It doesn’t take much not to be 100%.

    Make priofucts people want to buy is the best PR. (Is lamb actually bought overseas because of its quality – or that it’s cheap.

    And the Chinese aren’t having a go at us over the quality if our waterways, they don’t care about that. The do care though if some pipes in a factory aren’t clean.

    Wealthy overseas trout fishers would be more affected by fresh water pollution.

    Comment by NeilM — August 14, 2013 @ 10:55 am

  56. “…And the Chinese aren’t having a go at us over the quality if our waterways, they don’t care about that. The do care though if some pipes in a factory aren’t clean…”

    Have we learnt nothing from Pike River? Pike River was the culmination of a whole culture of regulatory slackness and systemic managerial failure to put in place workplace systems that are designed to identify and provide early warnings of issues that left unattended may lead to a greater catastrophe. So let’s learn nothing. Let’s do nothing. Let’s all stick our heads in the sand. Let’s blame some poor bastard on a low wage who didn’t put the right mix of steriliser through the pipe at 4am and move on. Let’s breath a sigh of relief no one died and with a bit of PR dosh we’ll get people believing again we are clean and green and all is hunky dory down on the farm.

    And then let’s all get outraged and astonished at our bad luck when foot and mouth arrives in an unmonitored shipload of palm kernels that are used to feed our unsustainable numbers of cows, or when a busload of Chinese tourists are poisoned because they took a dip in a “clean” lake just after it rained.

    Comment by Sanctuary — August 14, 2013 @ 11:52 am

  57. ” You’re talking about individual products while the discussion is about 100% pure as a national slogan. Try sticking to the topic.”

    You initially wrote:-

    ” > Brand awareness works.
    It might work for individual companies but you’d be hard pressed to apply it to a nation. ”

    I, and others, provided examples based on the above, not what you would like it to mean.

    Repair your composition, and then I’ll worry about my comprehension.

    Comment by Bruce Hamilton — August 14, 2013 @ 12:31 pm

  58. @56
    What clean lake?

    Comment by Northshoreguynz — August 14, 2013 @ 12:42 pm

  59. > I, and others, provided examples based on the above

    You provided examples of well-known products, not of any branding or slogans. This debate is about the 100% pure slogan and the fact it’s meaningless.

    Comment by Ross — August 14, 2013 @ 12:55 pm

  60. Sanc @42
    More to the point is the potential collapse in the farm gate return for our farmers.

    Global wholesale markets for milk powder have pretty much shrugged the news off, and prices for Fonterra product aren’t doing anything different to the rest of the world. Farm gate prices won’t change because of this. Where Fonterra gets hit by baby powder losses is through the dividend paid to investors.

    Comment by Phil — August 14, 2013 @ 12:56 pm

  61. This debate is about the 100% pure slogan and the fact it’s meaningless.

    By comparison, when Lara Bingle uttered the now famous “Where the bloody hell are ya?” she might have been predicting the future of her ex-lover’s batting form.

    Comment by Phil — August 14, 2013 @ 12:59 pm

  62. There is no doubt we have some huge challenges relating to biosecurity, food safety and water quality. It is unfortunate that a typically empty-of-real-meaning advertising slogan, meant to apply to the “New Zealand Experience” as a whole, can now be causing us so much international embarrasment.

    It is not an acceptable reaction or excuse to point out the biosecurity, food safety and water quality issues facing other countries. Although it does feel inherently unfair…there may be a few wizened brown trout in the lower Thames (see #42) but if I was part of a sweaty busload of Chinese tourists (see #56) I would rather take my chances swimming in Lake Taupo than in the Thames (maybe not Ellesmere though).

    Many other countries have similarly meaningless and derisory advertising slogans. For instance, Switzerland Get Natural; Hong Kong Best Place, Best Taste (really? I had awesome food poisoning on one visit); See The World. Visit London ( a patent lie) etc. Our problem is we have so many eggs in the “Clean and Green” basket. We set ourselves up for this.

    As Sanctaury says… So let’s learn nothing. Let’s do nothing. Let’s all stick our heads in the sand.

    Comment by PPCM — August 14, 2013 @ 12:59 pm

  63. his debate is about the 100% pure slogan and the fact it’s meaningless.

    The thing is Ross, it isn’t meaningless at all.

    As a slogan, it is conditional.
    From a marketing perspective it is loaded with meaning, particularly when combined with the semiotic inferences from the visual images which accompany the campaign – pristine lakes, virgin forests, clear water, untouched mountains.

    If it was meaningless, why would millions have been spent on promoting it?

    Comment by Gregor W — August 14, 2013 @ 1:30 pm

  64. NeilM I know why we farm animals outdoors and appreciate our climate is less harsh than Canada’s. My point (implied, not spelled out) was there are people who buy our products because they believe the image of NZ food being clean and green and natural – they are prepared to pay a premium for food they believe is not the industrialised corn-fed feedlot system of animal husbandry that is common in north America. Clean and green and natural is part of Brand NZ. We don’t live up to that brand at our peril.

    Comment by MeToo — August 14, 2013 @ 8:37 pm

  65. The biggest polluter in the ashburton river is the bloody sea gulls. As alluded to earlier before my farm was converted I was running sheep so the increase is not as alarming as the Green Party would suggest . It always amuses me though every time tv or print media run a story about effluent in the water ways that have images of Angus or Hereford cattle standing in rivers. To the uninformed non dairy cows

    Comment by Graham — August 14, 2013 @ 9:41 pm

  66. Seagulls the biggest polluter? riiiight…

    Down here where I live it’s the little brown kiwi that’s responsible for the majority of farm effluent flowing into the river.

    Those stupid townie media types, don’t they know Angus and Hereford cattle don’t shit, unlike their dairy counterparts?

    Comment by Rob — August 15, 2013 @ 7:56 am

  67. I hold severe doubts as to the sanitary patriotism of Pukeko, the amount of crap they leave around here bodes ill for the nation.

    Comment by Sanctuary — August 15, 2013 @ 8:45 am

  68. > If it was meaningless, why would millions have been spent on promoting it?

    Are you serious? I recall my marketing lecturer telling me that half of all advertising is a waste of money. The trouble is, the advertising gurus don’t know which half.

    Comment by Ross — August 15, 2013 @ 9:50 am

  69. I’m sure loads of money was spent on the slogan “Hamilton, more than you expect”. No doubt the tourism industry in Hamilton has boomed since this stunning slogan took effect?

    Comment by Ross — August 15, 2013 @ 9:53 am

  70. Are you serious? I recall my marketing lecturer telling me that half of all advertising is a waste of money…..I’m sure loads of money was spent on the slogan “Hamilton, more than you expect”.

    Position defended via red-herring and hearsay provided by an academic. I stand corrected.

    Comment by Gregor W — August 15, 2013 @ 10:01 am

  71. “half of all advertising is a waste of money”

    If you ask people overseas what they know of New Zealand the ones that have heard of us will talk about the scenery, green landscapes and the hobbits. The ones that have been here will have gone to the scenic tourist areas. Many millions of dollars come into the industry that John Key is the minister for, based on the perception that the 100% campaign helps support. Is advertising this aspect of our natural heritage to try and attract tourism and create a favourable impression (and consequent premium prices) for our exports a waste of money?

    Only if we then go and undermine it by turning our country into a bunch of shitty waterways, holes in the ground, and crowded farms, constantly embarrassed by environmental failures and inaction…

    I haven’t talked to any marketing experts, though…

    Comment by nommopilot — August 15, 2013 @ 10:16 am

  72. nommopilot

    I’ve been to Queensland a few times. It was never because of their slogan “Beautiful one day, perfect the next”!

    You’re assuming that the 100% pure slogan is a money-spinner. Where’s the proof? On and I don’t see the connection between Hobbits and 100% pure…they’re surely different things.

    Comment by Ross — August 15, 2013 @ 10:24 am

  73. > Position defended via red-herring and hearsay provided by an academic. I stand corrected.

    At least try to be a little more open-minded. There’s plenty of examples of companies throwing away good money after bad on advertising.

    http://247wallst.com/special-report/2012/02/01/the-eight-brands-that-wasted-the-most-on-the-super-bowl/

    Comment by Ross — August 15, 2013 @ 10:43 am

  74. ” It was never because of their slogan “Beautiful one day, perfect the next”!”

    No it was because Queensland make sure that all their advertising shows pictures of their rubbish dumps and industrial areas. You went because you thought Queensland would be a horrid, cold place that would be miserable and polluted. Of course no one acts because of a slogan. branding campaigns are designed to create a perception which will – albeit indirectly – create favourable impressions of a place.

    Why do you think our products get a premium? Or tourists choose to come halfway round the world? sure, it’s not the slogan, but it is the impression which that slogan is trying to spread and reinforce…

    “You’re assuming that the 100% pure slogan is a money-spinner. Where’s the proof? On and I don’t see the connection between Hobbits and 100% pure…they’re surely different things.”

    LOTR was by far and away the biggest advertising campaign for this country in the past 20 years. The 100% pure brand was bootstrapping onto the epic sweeping scenery and massive publicity of LOTR, and tons of money was poured in to capitalise on the momentum created by the movies. And it worked pretty well by most accounts.

    I thought you’d done a marketing course? I take it you flunked.

    Comment by nommopilot — August 15, 2013 @ 10:48 am

  75. > Of course no one acts because of a slogan.

    You could’ve said that at the beginning and saved us some time.🙂

    Comment by Ross — August 15, 2013 @ 10:51 am

  76. that’s not to say that spending all that money is guaranteed to work. we can certainly undermine it and damage our brand, but only some seriously stupid economic vandals would deliberately weaken our environmental protections, cut back on DOC funding and try and increase the amount of polluting industry in our economy while trying to brand ourselves as a country of natural beauty and healthy clean food…

    Comment by nommopilot — August 15, 2013 @ 10:54 am

  77. “You could’ve said that at the beginning and saved us some time”

    so what do you think then? should we not market ourselves as a nation at all? or maybe you’re marketing expertise could suggest a better strategy?

    thanks for engaging with the substance of what I said rather than picking out one sentence and ignoring what I actually said…😀

    Comment by nommopilot — August 15, 2013 @ 10:57 am

  78. There’s plenty of examples of companies throwing away good money after bad on advertising.

    I don’t disagree.
    But positioning specific advertising failures as examples to suggest that the “100% NZ” which is a national brand strategy supported by multiple agencies, promoting a range of products and services for ‘NZ Inc.’ is (a) unsuccessful or (b) wasteful misses the point.

    Branding and advertising are completely separate activities in the marketing arena. You can have a wildly successful brand that his subject to a poorly executed campaign. This is why campaigns change frequently but good brands rarely do.

    The situation we have in NZ is one of long term and seemingly effective brand management and associated public perception of ‘NZ Inc.’ being undermined (and therefore devalued) by the clear disconnect between image and reality. Successful companies are aware of this as their brand represents more than their products – it represents an image of what the company aspires to inculcate in their workers (or in this case, citizens), consumers and the competition.

    Brands are a proxy for corporate personality. It’s aim is to create an emotional connection between the company and the audience for a variety of reasons.

    Comment by Gregor W — August 15, 2013 @ 11:42 am

  79. @78 what are you? a marketing lecturer?? heh

    “The situation we have in NZ is one of long term and seemingly effective brand management and associated public perception of ‘NZ Inc.’ being undermined (and therefore devalued) by the clear disconnect between image and reality.”

    Exactly this! and the government, because their policies are completely at odds with managing our resources in a way that is responsible to our ecology and to future generations are absolutely are failing us dismally.

    And Labour are complete shysters for trying to tell us it’s the brand that’s the problem rather than the reality.

    Comment by nommopilot — August 15, 2013 @ 11:54 am

  80. > thanks for engaging with the substance of what I said rather than picking out one sentence and ignoring what I actually said

    I didn’t ignore you, I was just trying to be difficult🙂

    But since you asked, I did say near the top of this thread that I’d be happy to see no slogans when it comes to NZ. That includes subsidising the America’s Cup which presumably is little more than a branding exercise. Sure, individual companies can and do brand themselves. That’s up to them, and I don’t have a problem with that. But governments should not be in the branding game. I don’t see that government branding adds much (if anything) to what is already there. The rest of the world probably saw NZ as clean and green long before we told the rest of the world we were clean and green. Similarly, the All Blacks were quite a successful team before the PR men and women started advertising the fact.

    Comment by Ross — August 15, 2013 @ 11:55 am

  81. “I’d be happy to see no slogans … … But governments should not be in the branding game.”

    see Gregor’s “Brands are a proxy for corporate personality. It’s aim is to create an emotional connection between the company and the audience for a variety of reasons.”

    I think there is a great deal of value in having aspirations and that branding allows leadership to propose and attract people toward a goal – like, say, being a country that is unpolluted, beautiful and nice to live in. I could get behind that brand, because I would quite like to live in a country that was heading in that direction. I don’t think NZ IS 100% pure. I think we’re rapidly heading in the wrong direction, in fact, but that doesn’t mean that branding ourselves this way isn’t a good idea. We just need to act as though we mean it so that our brand isn’t hollow hollow hollow….

    America’s cup? terrible waste of money. tourism? important export sector challenged by the fact that small businesses on the far side of the world cannot afford to market themselves in multiple, high-exchange-rate markets to help bring travelers (who would otherwise not think of NZ) to our shores. yes, I can see a lot of value to our economy of a strong brand. agriculture? once again, a lot of small businesses trying to negotiate distant markets to bring $ to NZ. can you really not see the value?

    Did you really take a marketing course, or did you just make that up?

    Comment by nommopilot — August 15, 2013 @ 12:28 pm

  82. Just to play devils advocate for a second, I’m not entirely convinced that our product exports are particularly tied to the ‘100% Pure’ label. From my experience overseas in Asia and Europe, I think people are buying our Agri products becuase they’re objectively better quality that other countries similar offerings – we are widely regarded as having the best quality milk in the world. Our fruit and vege (apples, pears etc) on supermarket shelves around the globe stands side-by-side with the best stone fruit offerings from anywhere else.

    Then there’s our manufacturing exporters: the Rakon’s, Tait’s, and yacht builders for example. Again, they’re successful because they make objectively great products that meet customer demand.

    Would consumers stop buying these products because we dug some holes in the middle of nowhere and a few cows shit in a stream, clouding their subjective view of the country? I really doubt it.

    In terms of tourism the data shows most of our tourists, even if they say they’re coming for the scenery and fresh air, are spending pretty much all of their time and money in our major metroploitan areas, with the occasionaly jaunt to established tourism hot-spots like Queenstown and the wine-regions.

    Comment by Phil — August 15, 2013 @ 1:02 pm

  83. “Would consumers stop buying these products because we dug some holes in the middle of nowhere and a few cows shit in a stream, clouding their subjective view of the country? I really doubt it.”

    It’s a brand. The more negative PR our environment gets, the more embarrassing interviews our PM gives on hard talk, the more people will come to see it as hollow. Branding supports the subjective judgements people make and connects the ideas and images with the product. People learn about and make judgements of NZ through all sorts of different channels and think many different things. But branding does influence people’s ‘subjective’ experience.

    “Would consumers stop buying these products because we dug some holes in the middle of nowhere and a few cows shit in a stream, clouding their subjective view of the country? I really doubt it.”

    Some would, some wouldn’t care, some wouldn’t know. It’s a question of volume: the more shit, the more holes, and the more people hear about the shit and the holes, the more our brand becomes “100% pure shitholes”.

    “In terms of tourism the data shows most of our tourists, even if they say they’re coming for the scenery and fresh air, are spending pretty much all of their time and money in our major metroploitan areas, with the occasionaly jaunt to established tourism hot-spots like Queenstown and the wine-regions.”

    Doesn’t actually matter what they do when they get here – that well-off people who can afford to holiday on the other side of the world don’t actually want to spend 3 weeks in a tent shouldn’t be a surprise – they profess that are coming because of what they perceive the place to be. Our brand (along with our products and reputation) is part of what creates that perception.

    Comment by nommopilot — August 15, 2013 @ 1:16 pm

  84. I think people are buying our Agri products because they’re objectively better quality that other countries similar offerings

    True. But good branding also encapsulates and reinforces this difference in the mind of the consumer. To whit, branding is about creating that connection – in the case of ‘100%’, purity = quality – as a trigger for consumer engagement. In the case of new markets, it reduces the consumers decision set by creating that shortcut before the product is even considered.

    It’s actually really hard to differentiate commodity products because in of themselves, there is a lot of price elasticity / sensitivity.
    Brand allows the organisation to create intangible value – the concept of quality – for what are essentially undifferentiated products.

    Regional branding certainly works; otherwise why would terroir be so vigorously protected in France (and NZ) if it didn’t infer value?
    Otherwise we’d look a bit stupid buying carbonated Chardonnay from the other side of the world at ludicrous prices when a practically indistinguishable product is produced here.

    Then there’s our manufacturing exporters: the Rakon’s, Tait’s, and yacht builders for example.

    It’s never been suggested that “100 Pure” is the only brand for NZ companies. Of course individual businesses rely on their own brand. This is how they differentiate.
    If NZ brand presence was “100% pure engineering genius”, then the story would be different and certainly in that case, you would not expect to see advantage introduced into the agri and tourism sectors by way of that positioning.

    Comment by Gregor W — August 15, 2013 @ 1:23 pm

  85. here’s what NZ looks like from Japan

    Comment by nommopilot — August 15, 2013 @ 1:24 pm

  86. Funny how you folk that are always negative and anti are still negative and anti on this topic.

    We hosted some vistors from the UK, here for a mutual friends wedding. They didn’t come here for the slogans, or any real understanding of what’s on offer. It was a wedding.
    Wellington blew their minds: a beach that you could walk to in your lunch break. People who spoke with you on the trains and buses, Bars to die for. Food to die for. Rush hour traffic that didn’t last for an hour. Suburbs within walking distance of the cbd. You could see the stars at night, even though you are in a built up area with street lighting. They hired a car and travelled up and down the country for the remaining few days (they hadn’t made any plans). They are now, back in the UK, seriously considering work visas.

    Toyota have recalled a few cars recently. It’s a bit of a wobble, but we still like our Toyotas. Get over it. It seems our customers have.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — August 15, 2013 @ 1:51 pm

  87. “It’s a brand. The more negative PR our environment gets, the more embarrassing interviews our PM gives on hard talk, the more people will come to see it as hollow.”

    It’s been hollow for a long time. Cows haven’t only just started shitting in creeks.🙂

    The fact remains that overseas consumers buy NZ products despite (not because of) our branding.

    Comment by Ross — August 15, 2013 @ 2:00 pm

  88. We are still a dream place compared to most of the world. I had elderly Chinese tourists stop me and help them use the ATM. A Chinese colleague visited China and was robbed within hours: “NZ makes you careless” he said “In a good way.”

    Comment by Clunking Fist — August 15, 2013 @ 2:01 pm

  89. Food to die for.

    Peggy! Get Fonterra on the phone.

    Comment by Gregor W — August 15, 2013 @ 2:02 pm

  90. > People who spoke with you on the trains and buses

    That doesn’t sound like the Wellington I know😉

    Comment by Ross — August 15, 2013 @ 2:06 pm

  91. @86 “Funny how you folk that are always negative and anti are still negative and anti on this topic.”

    Actually, I’m not always negative or anti, I have also been known to be ideological, naive, optomistic, pessimistic, cynical, misguided, passionate, and ugly. it’s a very chaotic brand identity. but I do try to think critically and base my opinions and arguments on more evidence than an anecdote about a couple of people I know who came here from some other place that’s not as nice as here.

    I know this is an amazing country. I live here. I just want the people who run the place to take good care of it and leave it in better shape than when they got it. And for our country to live up to the high regard people overseas generally have for it.

    Comment by nommopilot — August 15, 2013 @ 2:06 pm

  92. “It’s been hollow for a long time. Cows haven’t only just started shitting in creeks.🙂
    The fact remains that overseas consumers buy NZ products despite (not because of) our branding.”

    a) Sure, that doesn’t mean we should resign ourselves to it.

    b) The ‘fact’ is that you do not know the individual motivations of the world’s consumers or to what extent they are influenced by our branding.

    Comment by nommopilot — August 15, 2013 @ 2:13 pm

  93. 85.here’s what NZ looks like from Japan

    Comment by nommopilot — August 15, 2013 @ 1:24 pm

    Oh wow, we have such giant golf balls. I would come here for that!

    Comment by MeToo — August 15, 2013 @ 3:26 pm

  94. Little Miss Muffett
    Shat on her tuffet
    Mixing her turds in the whey
    Along came Fonterra
    Made formula dearer
    and frightened the Chinese away.

    I’ll show myself out…

    Comment by PPCM — August 15, 2013 @ 4:18 pm

  95. Ross @ 90 – yeah, okay, so they didn’t take the train during the rush hour!

    “I just want the people who run the place to take good care of it and leave it in better shape than when they got it.”
    More regs, please!
    Are you saying that they’ll leave it worse? Just like one snowfall doesn’t disprove global warming, one dirty pipe doesn’t invalidate our image. We’ve seen a massive increase in dairying, it’s not surprising to see an increase in waterway problems. But hopefully, mostly, councils are getting on top of it. make a donation to that chap you is crusading for cleaner rivers. i forget his name, but I believe he is pressuring dirty councils into doing their jobs.

    In the meantime, don’t be like Norman, who appears to be playing up the problem, ranting to any news outlet that will listen, keeping the issue live in consumers minds, as if trying to increase the amount of damage done. And all for his and the Greens political ends. “Give me my flag back. Give me my flag back.”

    PPCM, that is brilliant.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — August 15, 2013 @ 4:53 pm

  96. “more evidence than an anecdote about a couple of people I know who came here from some other place”
    There’s been a bit of research to back this up, actually: visitors find NZers are nice folks who live in a nice country and so they enjoy their time here.
    “that’s not as nice as here”
    Even the folk from France liked their visit here. I’ve been to some of these places, most are just as nice as NZ, but in different ways. Even the UK.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — August 15, 2013 @ 4:57 pm

  97. “Are you saying that they’ll leave it worse?”

    Certainly. There have been some improvements in some areas but overall our environment -is- worse now than it was when my parents were kids and will be worse for my daughters’ kids (unless our current trajectory is curtailed). the bigger problem is that the rhetoric is all about balancing the economy with the environment, when in fact the correct relationship is that the economy balances upon the environment and until this is recognised we will continue to prioritise economic development and leave DOC to try and do more with less…

    “one dirty pipe doesn’t invalidate our image.”

    where have I (or anyone) said that? brand damage is cumulative, just like brand strengthening…

    “In the meantime, don’t be like Norman, who appears to be playing up the problem, ranting to any news outlet that will listen, keeping the issue live in consumers minds, as if trying to increase the amount of damage done. And all for his and the Greens political ends.”

    You mean criticising the government over their failures in order to win more votes? that’s what he gets paid to do.

    Comment by nommopilot — August 15, 2013 @ 5:25 pm

  98. “visitors find NZers are nice folks who live in a nice country and so they enjoy their time here.”

    sure. we look after tourists and don’t take them to meet the not-so-nice people or swim in the lower Tarawera river. but as Ross said our brand was already clean and green – it is expected. if we allow that brand to be eroded we will literally be up shit creek…

    I was at a BBQ in Sausalito and an older American women said to me “oh, I love New Zealand. It reminds me of California 25 years ago.” Having just driven through the artificially irrigated frankendesert and up the concrete, strip-mall-strewn coastal freeway I shivered in horror. 12 years later we’re definitely moving in that direction.

    /Anecdotal showdown…

    Comment by nommopilot — August 15, 2013 @ 5:33 pm

  99. and yes, I know (and have been to) some very nice, beautiful places in America…

    Comment by nommopilot — August 15, 2013 @ 5:34 pm

  100. Maybe 100% Pure was designed by a cunning environmentalist forcing successive governments to at least consider the environment. No wonder they’re now coming up with something new. Without 100% Pure the environmentalists lose a key arguing point.

    Comment by nigelsagentinthefield — August 15, 2013 @ 9:27 pm

  101. I don’t think we should keep the slogan and I do understand that there will be more of a fallout if we drop it because other countries will perceive that we’re admitting to being somewhat against the environment.

    Comment by Daniel Lang — August 16, 2013 @ 10:17 am

  102. 97.“Certainly. There have been some improvements in some areas but overall our environment -is- worse now than it was when my parents were kids and will be worse for my daughters’ kids”
    I wasn’t aware that there was reliable data going back that far.
    Or are you going by perception? Perception always tells us that things are getting worse. perhaps because we are getting older and more irrelevant.
    My neighbour laughs when I tell her about how my kids (white) learn a bit of Maori at school, even though there aren’t any Māori pupils or teachers. She received the strap several times as a child, for speaking maori at school.
    My parents have most of their own teeth. My grandparents had none of theirs.
    Both my grandmothers died of bowel cancer. My father survived it.
    /Anecdotal showdown…
    remember, some people just have a pessimistic disposition. They seem to end up working for NGOs and other advocacy groups.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — August 17, 2013 @ 3:27 pm


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