THIS is the brilliantly bonkers New Zealand TV tourism ad that you can’t see in the UK – complete with a giant kiwi, a jetboat in a hot tub, a Maori bloke in your bed and lots of beards.
As travel begins to open up again after the pandemic, it has been filmed to attract Aussies over the water to New Zealand, thanks to the Trans-Tasman bubble between the two countries.
And to say it’s surreal is an understatement.
‘Stop Dreaming about New Zealand and Go’ opens with an unsuspecting Australian man who is fast asleep in bed, dreaming of making a trip after the long lockdown.
Suddenly, a Kiwi dream buddy shows up, gently whispering ‘Kia Ora’ – the famous Maori welcome – and waking him up. Next thing he knows, his bed collapses and he is falling through the clouds.
He lands safely in New Zealand where, complete with new beard, he finds himself in a restaurant filled with similarly hirsute Aussies, all of whom have had the same dream.
And all of whom just happen to be carbon copies of himself.
There’s a clever nod to Christopher Nolan’s mind-boggling sci-fi movie Inception as the Aussie tries to work out if he’s still dreaming or not.
With his Maori pal, he pedals out of the crayfish cafe on a tandem, passing through vineyards, down narrow aisles sprayed by sprinklers. But he is going to get wetter.
Because next moment he’s riding a jetboat, skimming the surface of the water at breakneck speed.
Second later the camera zooms out to reveal the boat circling in the middle of the hot tub the two pals are sharing.
As if that’s not strange enough, he realises that they are being watched by a colossal kiwi…
Finally, his New Zealand friend claps his hands to turn out the sun and usher in a starry night, ready so that he can drift off back to sleep, his dream over.
“‘Stop Dreaming about New Zealand and Go’ aims to spark the emotional longing in Australians to experience a unique and meaningful New Zealand holiday,” says Declan Malone, of Tourism New Zealand.
“We know travelling overseas is one of the most missed activities for Australians, who previously made up 40% of international arrivals to New Zealand.
“We wanted to remind our friends over in Australia that New Zealand’s beautiful landscapes, wide-open spaces and welcoming people are only a short flight away.”
I love the ad because it remains me of three memorable weeks I spent in New Zealand when, like the ad, I visited the vineyards of Marlborough, rode the Shotover jetboat at Queenstown, and learned about kiwi birds at the top of the Hasst Pass.
It is only being screened in Australia for now. Let’s hope for a new version for the UK market soon. New Zealand is currently on the UK ‘green list’ for travel but subject to quarantine and a negative test upon arrival.
It follows hot on the heels of a hilarious TV ad from Swiss Tourism starring Robert De Niro and Roger Federer, during which the Hollywood A-lister drops an F-bomb and the tennis ace loses his customary cool. See that here.
Thanks to Brian D Butler for flagging the ad up on his always excellent blog Travel Between The Pages.