Using Local Media to Bust Myths and Engage New Zealand's Communities

The New Zealand flag debate captured the nation but it also came with a lot of misinformation. On behalf of the Flag Consideration Panel we engaged communities across New Zealand, showing them why the flag debate mattered and busting misinformation. 

The Challenge 

The New Zealand Flag Consideration panel challenged us to reach the people and communities that weren’t engaging with the Flag Debate; convinced that their voices didn’t matter, that the referendum wasn’t relevant to them, or who had fallen prey to misinformation. 

We needed to clear up the misinformation and show the people that their voice, and participation, mattered. 

The Insight 

Knowing our audience meant we knew who our journalists needed to talk (respected, local thought-leaders) to build an interactive campaign that showed those communities why their voices mattered. 

What We Did 

Firstly, we identified the audiences we needed to connect with: Maori, Pacific Island and new migrants, and where these people were in the country.

Fairfax Media journalists talked to the community about their choice. 

Fairfax Media journalists talked to the community about their choice. 

Then, we focussed on creating relevant messaging, using peer influence, to engage with these audience segments, bringing them into the debate and dispelling any misinformation.  

In our targeted regions we worked closely with Stuff’s editorial team to identify local thought-leaders to share their views through Q&A articles in print, focussing on community papers in relevant regions (utilising Stuff Nation for online content) on the final two flags and the debate at large.  

More largely to mythbust around flag misinformation and show both flags in-situ, we created emotive video content which included user generated content , deployed across Stuff and social media, and long form articles and fun fact quizzes.  Both quizzes and video content are high performers with the Stuff audience. 
 

We defined three types of audience the campaign needed to reach. 

We defined three types of audience the campaign needed to reach. 

Once the audience was chosen we connected with them through their chosen medium. 

Once the audience was chosen we connected with them through their chosen medium. 

The Results 

The campaign encouraged voting through connecting readers with their community. 

The campaign encouraged voting through connecting readers with their community. 

Engagement with the flag debate exploded and readers engaged strongly with the videos, quizzes and articles. We reached audiences off Fairfax Media platforms as well, connecting with them over Facebook and Twitter. 

We succeeded in generating open and honest conversation across these platforms, brought fresh and much-needed diverse voices to the debate through our 55 Community newspapers,  and addressed the confusions and misinformation that had run rife throughout the campaign.  
 

What the Campaign Director Said 

"This campaign is a testament not only to how well we connect with our readers but our ability to stimulate engagement, debate and reach New Zealanders across the country. Our journalists worked incredibly hard to cut through the misinformation and inform our audience (especially our target audience) about the realities of the flag change and history of our current flag. While the cross-platform campaign ensured we successfully became a  voice of reason and information on Fairfax platforms and on social media. "

Susana Leitao, Custom Solutions Director