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Shortland Street’s golden run continues with major international marketing awards recognition for TVNZ 2’s primetime mainstay – an innovative and immersive virtual reality campaign to promote the show’s 25th anniversary was a winner at the Annual PromaxBDA Global Excellence Awards in New York last week.

The producers also paid a tribute to their broadcasting partner Mercury’s agency FCB Media, who they say played a key role.

The Shortland Street 25 years virtual reality experience won Gold in the Best Technical Innovation category and Silver for Best Stunt Promotion. TVNZ ECD Jens Hertzum puts the win down to a strong creative idea and bold execution.

 “Due to the increasingly competitive media landscape it’s become crucial for TVNZ to adopt a multi-platform approach with campaigns in order to seek out as many potential viewers as possible,” he said in a statement to M+AD.

“The creative idea, however, is still the critical component. It has to be worth the audience’s time and energy to win their engagement.”

Bold execution coupled with strong content makes for effective messaging, he says. “Our VR campaign was a new way for our audience to immerse themselves in the world of Shortland Street. Saving a dying man is nothing new when it comes to hospital drama, however, when you are given the opportunity to do it with the characters in an interactive version of New Zealand’s most beloved drama; the experience becomes something that resonates.

“TVNZ’s Commercial and Blacksand teams led Mercury’s Shortland Street campaign development, in collaboration with South Pacific Pictures and their agency FCB Media.”

“It’s always a thrill to win at the Global PromaxBDA Awards as you are competing against the very best creative teams in the world when it comes to marketing and promoting content. These are our international peers; Canal +, NBC Universal, Channel 4, TV2 DK, BBC, Hulu and many more. And they all do what we do: drive eyeballs to content and raise the profile of brands and platforms.”

Shortland Street is a 7pm powerhouse. This year, each episode of Shorty has pulled an average audience of 189,400 and a staggering 40.4% share of the channel’s target 18-49 audience.  It remains New Zealand’s most watched soap.

The Channel 23 campaign for TVNZ Duke also earned international Promax honours. It received a Silver in the Best Channel Image category and a Bronze in Best Channel ID category.

As part of Shorty’s anniversary celebrations last year, broadcast partner Mercury teamed up with TVNZ to offer fans up and down the country an opportunity to take a starring role in a virtual reality roadshow.

More than 10,000 people took part. Fans were able to meet their favourite characters from Ferndale and try out a one-of-a-kind virtual reality experience that put them right in the midst of the action at Shortland Street hospital.

TVNZ’s Commercial and Blacksand teams led Mercury’s Shortland Street campaign development, in close collaboration with the show’s producers South Pacific Pictures and Mercury’s marketing team and their agency FCB Media.

Blacksand brought in Satellite to manage the national roadshow and Staples to execute its innovative virtual reality concept.

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