Geoff Ross – Director, The Bakery

“We were really fortunate. Our timing was at a point where the Internet was just starting to really build and it was pre-YouTube and so a lot of the crazy little videos that we created travelled quickly to a huge number of people and it got our brand in front of a huge number of people. I think if we were trying to do that today, with the plethora of cool, crazy stuff you can see on YouTube, that task would have been a bit harder. So we were quite lucky. We were one of the first ones there.

The whole thing was quite accidental actually. Daryl wrote some radio ads because we did a sponsorship for a party and George gave us some free air time so we needed some radio ads so we did those. And a week or two later, Daryl said, “Hey these would look quite good with crazy little pictures. We can’t go and film anything because we haven’t got any money but I’ll just steal some stuff off the Internet and put visuals to the audio that we’d recorded – which we did. And it seemed to be funny so we sent it to a few mates and it just went from there.

Kiwis sent them to fellow Kiwis and so we were really, really fortunate that, although New Zealand is a small country of people, we can be quite passionate and vocal about something and so we had all of these young Kiwis, who for the first time ever not only had the All Blacks and sheep to talk about, they had this Vodka to talk about. They wanted to send a viral to their mates and they wanted to bring a bottle to their mate’s flat in London and they wanted to tell the story. And so we were very fortunate. We had a lot of ambassadors working for us.

The first, which was called ‘The Story of New Zealand’, once that travelled and we got a huge amount of feedback and hits to the website from it, we tried to create more and we did. Some worked and some travelled and a couple we made didn’t. It’s kind of self policing. The great thing about the production costs is that they’re so small, you could try a whole bunch of stuff and if they were lots of fun, they would go well and if they weren’t, they wouldn’t.

We fought this constant battle between telling the very clean pristine natural story in a very pure, straight way which was true to the branding – and the need to be heard in a market where people were out-spending you by millions and millions and millions of dollars. So that was often the battle between me and Daryl who often wrote the ads. He’d want to get they quite edgy to travel and I’d want to tell the story but I think we ended up doing a bit of both and I think that ended up being the right mix.

That first viral email went out to a few mates one night and then I came back to the office the next day and it had come back to me from people in the UK and the US just like that and that showed me how quick and how big it really is.”


Down to the Wire is a story that evolves with your memories and contributions so please contribute personal anecdotes, key events and web resources you think others might find useful.

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