Trans-Tasman bubble battle: Australia and New Zealand's tourism campaigns go head-to-head

It's been more than a month since Australia under-armed its tourism advertising campaign at New Zealanders, but it wasn't until this week that our tourism board got its equivalent up on its foils and across the ditch.

But who is winning the trans-Tasman tourism ad battle, Australia or New Zealand?

Entitled 'Stop dreaming about New Zealand and go', the ad begins with an Australian man asleep in bed being woken up by a Kiwi who has seemingly snuck into his bed to awaken him up by whispering sweet kia oras in his ear.

A conversation follows about the man's dreams about coming to New Zealand... and having a beard.

Had he known he was going to have company, he might have cleaned up beforehand.
Had he known he was going to have company, he might have cleaned up beforehand.

Nothing odd about the ad so far. Just two men in bed talking about body hair.

Both men are then transported to a crayfish restaurant which is filled with other people having dreams of Aotearoa with 'dream guides' who have taken them there.

Then there's a montage of both men experiencing cycle trails, jet boating and finally soaking up in a hot tub in the middle of a paddock.

It's here where the two men are met by a giant kiwi bird.

"I don't want this dream to be over," the Aussie man says as his beard disappears and his journey back to his bed in Australia begins.

"I'm not a mouse from New South Wales, I promise!"
"I'm not a mouse from New South Wales, I promise!"

While it reads like the campaign's creators may have been watching A Christmas Carol a few times before creating this advertisement, don't worry. There's no ghosts from holiday's past in this ad.

The ad instead finishes with the line: "It doesn't have to be, just book a ticket."

Meanwhile, Australia's ad was very un-Australian: it conceded pavlova is a New Zealand invention, while listing many of Aotearoa's other achievements.

According to Bodo Lang, a senior lecturer in marketing at the University of Auckland, both ads hit the mark and get their message across.

"They are both good. They are doubly culturally appropriate, ie what Australians seek and what NZ is like and vice versa," Lang told Newshub.

It would be faster to fly to Australia, but each to their own.
It would be faster to fly to Australia, but each to their own.

He said neither ad shows much city life, which he says is sensible as consumers may feel caged in, so showing landscapes is simple but effective.

"They both seem like appropriate representations of their countries: One feels large/corporate, while the other feels disruptive and quirky/like a start-up," he said.

So, has New Zealand smashed it out of the park, or has Australia got us stumped with its budget and beauty? It's time to break the ads down and find out who did it better.


Bodo Lang says both ads "show off" their respective countries, particularly landscapes, but says Australia shows off more. Well done, Aussie. First points to you.

Win: Australia


The Kiwis saved on casting by just using one guy.
The Kiwis saved on casting by just using one guy.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the New Zealand ad is more humorous and creative, according to Lang.

"As a result, it takes the audience through a wider emotional journey (suspense, surprise, humour, exhilaration, calm)."

Win: New Zealand


Lang says the Australian ad uses some powerful mechanisms such as flattery and playing on the rivalry between Aussie and New Zealand, but does feel a bit like a montage of stock footage.

He said the Aussie ad is likely to wear out faster because "ultimately it is simpler, while the New Zealand ad is more abstract and may be re-watched more often".

"They are both memorable but the Aussie ad is easier to make sense of and to explain to others," he said.

Also, there was no sign of Rod Stewart at any stage in New Zealand's video. This could have resulted in disqualification, or at least a yellow card.


UNSPECIFIED - OCTOBER 10: In this screengrab Sir Rod Stewart performs during the 2020 Carousel of Hope Ball benefiting the Children’s Diabetes Foundation.  on October 10, 2020 in UNSPECIFIED, UNSPECIFIED - Region AMER. (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images for Children's Diabetes Foundation )


"The Australian ad is likely to have a broader appeal because it's message is simple, while the New Zealand ad is quite intellectual and layered," Lang said.

Both ads include the all important call to action.

"Just book a ticket! - New Zealand

"Isn't it time you added another first to your list?" - Australia

Lang says the New Zealand messaging is clearer as it straight up tells you what to do, whereas the Australian ad just asks a question.

Win: New Zealand

The giant Kiwi. Known for their green laser eyes.
The giant Kiwi. Known for their green laser eyes.


While I like the storyline of New Zealand's ad more, I was disappointed with the lack of Aotearoa's scenery included in the ad. Australia did a better job at showing off its country, and after all, that's what the ad is selling.

So, that makes this battle a tie.  

There will be no super over, no golden goal, no referee constantly penalising New Zealand (that one is for you Warriors fans out there).

To decide just who did it better, we will use the highly unscientific method of an internet poll.

Place your vote below and share your thoughts on the Newshub Travel Facebook Group.

If the poll doesn't show up below, you can vote by clicking on this link.