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Holden NZ Undergoes Mullet Makeover in New Campaign



Robber’s Dog director, Adam Stevens, directs slick new film announcing Holden’s new brand direction

Holden NZ Undergoes Mullet Makeover in New Campaign
Australian automobile manufacturer, Holden, and its agency, Special Group, have launched a tongue-in-cheek new campaign directed by Adam Stevens of Robber’s Dog, that marks a major shift in its branding in New Zealand. 

‘The Chop’ debuts a new character whose metamorphosis mirrors Holden’s as it enters a new phase in its branding. At the heart of the campaign is the theme of shrugging off an old image and remerging as a new and improved version of itself, whilst remaining faithful to your core identity. This explicit reference to the business’ transformation is a significant departure from traditional Holden ads, which have tended to be focused on the launch of new models rather than an overarching brand message. 

The hero of ‘The Chop’ is a mullet-wielding Kiwi who’s looking a little rough around the edges. His snakeskin boots take him across the city, where he encounters admirers and critics, until he reaches his long-awaited destination - the barbershop. He emerges a new man, clean-shaven and mullet-less, having traded in his scruffy clothes and wife-beater for a slick shirt and blazer. Importantly though, he retains his trademark boots as he strolls towards his Holden. 

The decision to change the automobile manufacturer’s brand perception was supported by six months of intensive qualitative research. Marnie Samphier, General Manager of Marketing at Holden, comments on the process:

“We learnt that Kiwis have a genuine love and affection for the brand but we’d lost relevance, and too many people consider Holden as a brand for someone else. So in this campaign, showing our central character chopping off his mullet and moving on is really a representation of the brand transforming and moving on – but, at the same time, staying true to the elements of the brand that Kiwis love (signified by our lead character keeping his trademark snakeskin boots).”

In ‘The Chop’, Adam Stevens’ talent for executing films with strong visual motifs, relatable narratives, and comedy shines through. His distinct directorial style and sense of humour makes him a perfect choice to appeal to Holden’s target audience.

Holden and Auckland-based production company Robber’s Dog’s collaboration on ‘The Chop’ builds on their partnership from previous campaigns, such as ‘Twitch’, which involved Ogilvy New Zealand. 

Describing their relationship on this project, Marnie says, “We knew the quality of Robber’s Dog’s work as a production company from our previous collaborations, and whilst we hadn’t worked with Adam before, we were very impressed from the outset. He fully understood what we were trying to achieve for the brand and he presented an interpretation that turned an already great idea and script into something very special. Importantly, he was very open to debate and discussion, making it a truly collaborative three-way process between Holden, Robber’s Dog and Special Group. It’s certainly been a highlight campaign in my career.”

This campaign has set the tone for Holden’s future branding. It’s first advert to air following ‘The Chop’ builds on this model of the confident but likeable hero and employs a tone that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Following the success of ‘The Chop’, the brand will continue to focus on cinematic storytelling and feature a hero character in its future campaigns.

‘The Chop’ launched on 3rd September 2016 on TV and online.


Agency / Creative
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Genres: Storytelling, Comedy, Action

Categories: Automotive, Cars

Robber's Dog - Auckland, Thu, 06 Oct 2016 15:48:12 GMT