Why This New Zealand DIY Retail Campaign Resonated So Strongly

The Mitre 10 campaign came out on top of Kantar's Effectiveness Awards in the category for most effective television campaign

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For over 47 years, Mitre 10, a retailer of hardware products, builders’ supplies and DIY essentials, has been catering to New Zealanders who, after being stuck at home for a prolonged period, dreamt of making home improvements perhaps beyond their capabilities. This realization meant that it was time for the brand to implement change to recognize that consumer needs had evolved.

Last year, with the pandemic still ongoing, the company decided it needed to reconnect with its customer base and demonstrate that not only was it there to sell supplies but to also support them in their endeavors.

The need for the change came from the brand’s recognition that the passing down of DIY knowledge from generation to generation was eroding due to an overreliance on parents fixing things for their children. So those who were looking to take on a project were doing so without the foundational know-how and confidence that was previously built through family experience.

The subsequent first campaign, titled “With You All the Way,” replaced the “DIY is in our DNA” tagline that was developed by its long-term agency partner FCB New Zealand. This week, that campaign has been named by Kantar as its most effective television campaign of 2021 in its annual Creative Effectiveness Awards.

The Kantar Effectiveness Awards evaluated more than 13,000 TV, digital, print and outdoor ads across 75 markets throughout 2021 using its Link creative testing platform, with the aim of recognizing the best creative work produced over the year.

“Our objective was to further grow brand love with our customers in a meaningful way, to foster deeper trust-based relationships with them by creating genuine emotional connections across all touch points. The campaign aligns to our brand vision, inspiring Kiwis to love where they live, work and play,” explained Jules Lloyd-Jones, chief marketing officer of Mitre 10.

The first element of the campaign was released in July—a 45-second ad that plays to the overtures of The Wannadies’ 1994 earworm “You and Me Song,” featuring a budding friendship between a customer who is on a DIY mission repeatedly and one of Mitre 10’s advisors.

FCB New Zealand, Mitre 10

Aiming to introduce a new brand platform that would resonate with customers, the brand and agency conducted research among its own marketing and customer service teams to discover the advice and expertise they offer. It saw this as a key point of difference in contrast to competitors and an area that customers valued. With Mitre 10 being franchisee-owned, adding more customer support was seen as a differentiation from its larger, more corporate competitors in the country.

Mitre 10 and FCB decided to focus on the relationship between consumer and retailer and to introduce a year-long training program for staff to deliver on the customer promise that would be made. The focus would be placed on developing a TV/YouTube-spot as the 5 million-person population of New Zealand is still a television watching audience, according to FCB New Zealand’s executive creative director Peter Vegas.

Selling the message internally

Following internal research, the marketing team aimed to achieve buy-in from the brand’s board and its co-op around the new brand platform and customer promise by developing a general script with internal stakeholders before going into production.

“We had to be confident that the groundwork was laid internally first before we committed to making this ad. We knew it had great potential, but it would fall flat if it our store teams weren’t equipped to deliver on the promise,” Lloyd-Jones said.

The internal campaign, called “Make It Epic,” featured leadership coaching for team members to ensure they had the confidence to deliver DIY advice and support. It was rolled out several months ahead of the TV ad’s launch, a process that the team believes was a major factor in the overall campaign’s success.

“It’s not about just going to buy a product and sticking it in and everything’s fine,” said FCB’s business lead on Mitre 10 Jane Wardlaw. “You’re going into the store to make something, so there’s this whole emotional attachment to DIY, [but it’s] impossible to just talk about products and really connect with people. So there’s this whole shifting mindset and marketplace about who we’re talking to.”

We knew it had great potential, but it would fall flat if it our store teams weren’t equipped to deliver on the promise.

Jules Lloyd-Jones, chief marketing officer, Mitre 10

Vegas added: “One of the big New Zealand cultural codes is that ‘mateship’ thing. There’s that respect between two people have when they don’t know each other, and this story is about two people becoming mates. It was hard because we had to walk a fine line. … It was a partnership; we had to make sure they were equals.”

Measurements of success

Following its release, brand and customer experience tracking showed a “significant” increase in brand love and leadership, two key metrics of success that also inspired team members to rally around the new promise.

“It has given our team members a sense of pride to be part of the Mitre 10 family, and they personally identify with it because of its intrinsically Kiwi character and sentiment,” Lloyd-Jones said.

Since it ran, Mitre 10 said it has seen awareness grow, with 65% of respondents to a survey around the TV campaign saying that they had seen the ad, with 71% saying they found the ad “very or somewhat believable.” The brand also said that the survey found the brand’s affinity score was rated at 75.11, with 0 equaling “hate” and 100 equaling “love.”

We’ve had a number of CMOs come and go, and we’ve all changed here. But there’s been this proud history from Mitre 10 of creating brand ads that really connect with people.

Jane Wardlaw, business lead on Mitre 10, FCB

Another element of the success came from the long-standing relationship between the agency and Mitre 10, which has lasted more than four decades in various forms and has created a deep understanding of the business, according to Wardlaw.

“[Over the years] people have changed a lot. We’ve had a number of CMOs come and go, and we’ve all changed here. But there’s been this proud history from Mitre 10 of creating brand ads that really connect with people across New Zealand as a kind of establishment. Mitre 10 is an iconic Kiwi brand,” she added.

Speaking about the TV campaign’s effectiveness, Kantar’s global director of creative Vera Sidlova highlighted the decision to “show what they can do for you” over producing a campaign that worked as a product demonstration, which proved to be what resonated most with audiences.