TBWA\ & ANZ get smart for NZ athletes

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AUCKLAND, Thursday: TBWA\ has created a clever wearable connecting Kiwi fans who can’t travel. It was developed for the NZ athletes at this year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games.

TBWA\ CCO Shane Bradnick said: “The wearable is now being offered to Games fans globally in a remarkable example of the Olympic spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.

“Called the ANZ Support Band, the device uses Bluetooth technology in a world-first that brings athletes and fans within touching distance despite closed borders, social distancing and athlete bubbles.

“It’s this lack of fan presence and the support they bring that has led to the decision by ANZ, with support from the New Zealand Olympic and Paralympic Teams, to open source the technology they’ve spent more than 18 bmonths developing for the rest of the world to use.

“The ANZ Support Band allows fans at home to send support to athletes in Tokyo by tapping their device or directly through the New Zealand Team app. A wearable innovation that bridges continents, athletes will receive the vibration of support via their own wristband.

NZ Olympic team ceo Kereyn Smith said: “We’re all part of the global Olympic family and not having our friends and families with us will impact us all – whether we’re representing New Zealand or any one of the world’s 206 Olympic nations,.

“Wherever they are from, athletes have worked incredibly hard to get to Tokyo and to be expected to perform without the physical presence of loved ones and fans will be tough, so we’re grateful to be able to provide a way for them to still feel the support they deserve.”

“That’s why ANZ decided to open up the technology for all to use. Right now, we and the world’s athletes need this more than ever.”

Taking place in Tokyo from 23 July, this year’s highly anticipated Olympic and Paralympic Games will look very different. With Covid-19 limiting audiences and travel to an event that historically attracts thousands.

Shane Bradnick said: “It’s well known the crucial role touch plays in our wellbeing. Whether support, respect or empathy, it’s something we’ve all missed and something we know our athletes will miss at this year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“The sharing of this technology so athletes overseas can feel the support of fans back home epitomises the Olympic & Paralympic spirit.”

“The ANZ Support Band aims to bridge that gap by showing our athletes that we’re thinking of them and supporting them through a tiny pulse on the wrist.

“ANZ, New Zealand Olympic Team, New Zealand Paralympic Team, Satellite Media, Gladeye and our TBWA teams have all done an incredible job in creating this technology to help connect our athletes with their fans.

“We’re thrilled to be able to open up this unique technology so other sports teams around the world can use it to feel the support of their fans.

“This is another example of Kiwis leading the way and showing thoughtfulness and generosity to the global community. In the mean time we can’t wait for the games and to make this available for Kiwis and athletes alike later in the year.”

The technology has been closely developed with the input from a number of current Olympians and Paralympians, including sprint cyclist and Rio Silver medallist Sam Webster, competing in his second games and already anticipating just how different the atmosphere at this year’s Olympics will be.

Webster said: “As an athlete, you thrive off the energy a crowd can bring. Without that support it’s tough, I love the fact we are giving away this incredible technology so my fellow athletes from around the globe have the chance to feel their fans’ support too.”

ANZ NZ ceo Antonia Watson said: “In Tokyo, all national teams will be facing the same challenges and we know the difference the support from fans and loved ones can make.

“This is why we wanted to make sure athletes wherever they are from could still receive that support and fans could show their teams they are right behind them even though they may not be there physically. This is why we’re opening up the technology behind the ANZ Support Band.”

Paralympics NZ ceo Fiona Allan believes the sharing of the technology helps encompass the values of the Paralympics.

“The Paralympics are all about athletes and teams coming together to showcase courage, determination, inspiration and equality and in doing so, drive social inclusion,” she said.

“The sharing of this technology so athletes across the world can now feel the support of their fans back home epitomises the Paralympic spirit and the core values of inspiration and inclusion.”

There’s three videos in the series, NZ Olympic & Paralympic athletes, plus mission chief Rob Waddell and Paralympics chief Paula Tesoriero.

  • That’s Why it’s Important at the top of this page.
  • See How it Works here
  • Unboxing here


Client: ANZ Bank New Zealand
Creative Agency: TBWA\NZ
Support Band Tech Partner: Satellite Media
NZ Team App Developer: Gladeye
Creative Production: TBWA\Bolt
Public Relations: TBWA\Eleven PR

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