14 Classic NZ Ads That Ooze Kiwiana
There’s nothing quite like a super catchy TV ad to bring the country together! No matter which generation you’re from or how much attention you’ve paid to NZ ads – you’ll surely have some favorite commercials that come to mind. New Zealand has been blessed with many great (or not so great depending on how you look at them!) adverts over the years, many of which have the power to make us laugh, cry and buy! Little works of art if you will. Without the exuberant budgets of large overseas ad campaigns, New Zealand directors and writers have had to be relentlessly resourceful and use a healthy dose of true Kiwi initiative. There’s a clever idea at the heart of each of them, which has firmly grounded them in Kiwi Pop culture.
We’ve been absolutely blown away with the amazing conversations and memories from posting this throwback earlier this week. So we’ve put together a list of some iconic Kiwi TV ads that we hope you all remember. We really hope you enjoy and try some of these classic NZ ads, and if you remember don’t forget to leave a comment below.
1. Tip Top – ‘TOGS TOGS, UNDIES!’ – Aired 2006
New Zealand Icecream company Tip Top, in their television commercial, “Undies”, help simplify the answer to the question, “When does a speedo become underwear?” All in the name of the Tip Top Trumpet, an ice cream served up in a waffle cone. “Togs togs togs… Togs togs togs.. Togs togs togs.. Togs… Undies. Undies undies… Undies undies…” CLASSIC!
2. Mitre 10 – ‘You’ll Be Right!’ – Aired 2008
Three little boys captured the hearts of the nation with their in-built DIY urges in the Mitre 10 sandpit ad. The NZ Ad, which first aired in 2008, shows Benjamin Counsell, Reuben Powell and Phoenix Flack having a very serious discussion about home renovations on the playground. Cute kids, home renovation and a little dig at the Aussies – all the ingredients needed to become world famous in New Zealand.
3. Marmite – ‘What Makes Kiwis, Kiwi’ – Aired (unsure)
This classic NZ ad is very much a subtle dig at our neighbours across the ditch. Although it was pretty scandalous at the time it was a classic kiwi ad, selling an iconic Kiwi spread.
4. L&P – ‘World Famous In NZ’ – Aired 1994
Wow! This original L&P TV ad came out in 1994. Its super, effective and cemented L&P as a truly iconic kiwi brand that understood what makes New Zealanders tick. The ad is essentially a montage of New Zealanders doing what we do best; burger bars, public swimming pools, the classic L&P bottle in Paeroa that still stands and some questionable furniture. This ad is probably the oldest to make it on the list, and for those that remember, we salute you!
5. Toyota – ‘BUGGER!’ – Aired 1999
A series of farming mishaps each provoke the laconic comment — “bugger”. This was the formula behind one of the most iconic NZ ads. Made by Saatchis to follow up the beloved Barry Crump/Lloyd Scott Toyota ads, and directed by Tony Williams, it attracted 120 complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority (who ruled that “bugger” was unlikely to cause serious offence). The shock value of that word, the role of Hercules the dog, and the performance of the hapless farmer (in the tradition of Dagg and Footrot), made for Kiwi pop culture magic.
6. Tui – ‘Fuelling BBQ’s Since 1989’ – Aired (unsure)
This TV ad brings together a range of Kiwi pop cultural references. From the BBQ in the sun to the farm/lifestyle block locations, to a group of young men huddled around the BBQ with beers in hand. The ad takes a turn when they run out of gas and decide to use a cow’s farts to fuel the BBQ (we couldn’t make this up if we tried). A little crass, but too funny not to include in our list.
7. The Goodnight Kiwi – Aired 1980/1981
In the days before 24-hour television, there was Goodnight Kiwi, a short animation from Sam Harvey that bade viewers goodnight once the day’s broadcasting ended. Each night the plucky Kiwi shut up shop at the TV station, put out the milk, and caught the lift up to sleep in a satellite dish with The Cat. For a generation of kids, Goodnight Kiwi became a much-loved symbol of staying up well past your bedtime. Viewers never questioned why our nocturnal national icon was going to bed at night, or sharing a bed with a cat. The tune is an arrangement of Māori lullaby ‘Hine e Hine’.
8. Spot – Telecom – 1991
This beloved Jack Russell Terrier starred in over 40 ads for Telecom between 1991 and 1998 – a very impawtent pooch indeed.The adverts are cast on an epic scale, each featuring Spot’s raw talent. From plunging into a pool to skateboarding – Spot could do it!
9. Make it click – McDonalds – 1990’s
A catchy jingle that every Kiwi could without a doubt recite! The fast food conglomerate McDonald’s was one of the first to create a driver safety ad that wasn’t full of screaming and gorey graphics in the 90’s. Instead, they opted for a bright and fun ad, accompanied by a VERY catchy jingle. Complete with police singing along, the whole family is encouraged to “Make it click!” by fastening their seat belts – “whether they were going near or far”.
10. Good Things Take Time – Mainland – 1991
A nostalgic tug on the heart strings with some good old fashioned Kiwi humour thrown in. This ad likens the time it takes to form a quality friendship, to the time it takes to age a good Mainland cheese. The ad spans across changing seasons, showing a friendship developing and the main characters aging. The voiceover is an old man providing commentary on his friendship with the other man. Definitely a feel-good/warm cosies type ad!
11. Crumpy and Scotty (1982)
Undoubtedly one of New Zealand’s favourite ad campaigns. The first of the Crumpy and Scotty commercials, this ad showcases two cliches – Barry Crump, the typical rough around the edges no nonsense country guy and Scotty – the ‘wimp’ from the city. Barry Crump takes Scotty on a wild off-road adventure through the New Zealand bush in the latest model of a Toyota Hilux at the time. These NZ ads continued for 12 years!
12. Milky Bar Kid – 1992
“The Milky bars are on me!”. Sound familiar? The famous line announced by the blond-haired, blue-eyed young boy wearing glasses – aptly named the Milkybar Kid. Numerous child actors have now played the famous character, with the ad having been around since the 90’s!
13. Dear John – BASF Cassette Tapes – 1981
This seriously old school ad was made on an absolute shoestring budget, with milk bottle silver caps acting as the soldiers dog tags and a Wellington quarry standing in as a Korean war-zone setting. We reckon it still holds it’s humor to this day!
14. Legend (Ghost Chips) – Road Safety – 2011
Much newer to the scene and certainly an ad now firmly ingrained in Kiwi pop culture is this 2011 anti-drink driving ad campaign. Countless memes, parodies, over a million YouTube views and new Kiwi slang resulted from this iconic ad.
You’ve likely found yourself using lines from the ad over the years such as “you know I can’t garb your ghost chips”, “Monique says you’re dumb”, “puzzle time!” and the legendary “I’ve been internalizing a really complicated situation in my head”.
Have you got some iconic Kiwi ad favorites? Let us know in the comments below!