Twenty shoots close encounters with UFOs

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A ‘UFO’ spotted flying over Auckland skies last week was part of an out-there campaign to announce the arrival of online energy retailer Energy Online into the market. And the timing played into the hands of Auckland agency Twenty – their promo came just a week after wide publicity about a ‘real’ UFO sighting in Queenstown.

Energy Online has been flying under the radar in the Auckland market for the past few years and Business Manager of Energy Online, Jason Christini-Crawford, recognised that a bold approach was required to create some buzz in the often dull energy market.

“With so many brands competing in the market we wanted to take a fresh approach. We needed something to capture people’s attention, and we certainly achieved that,” he said.

Marketing agency Twenty worked with production company Zoomslide to create the UFO – an octocopter drone modified to look just like a UFO when flying at night – and for the first time, the Civil Aviation Authority gave approval for this type of activity.

After months of testing, the octocopter was flown by a commercial pilot over Auckland for three consecutive nights sparking Aucklanders to take to social media to try and uncover what was behind the lights in the sky.

Thousands of images, videos and posts were shared and uploaded online (here), and as the number of sightings snowballed, even media were lost for an answer.

The unusual activity was featured on numerous websites and in newspapers right across the country, even making the front page of two. (see the digital coverage here).

With conspiracy theories swirling, Energy Online was then revealed as the brains behind the UFO, coinciding with the appearance of ‘energy circles’ dotted on pavements around the city inviting earthlings to sign up and enter a draw to win a share of $30,000 worth of free power.

Outdoor and ambient media, including adshels, bus backs and a fully wrapped bus, plus radio, press inserts and letterbox drops, as well as a robust digital and social media strategy are also being used to support the campaign.

Jason Hall, Creative Director at Twenty, highlighted the scale of the challenge and the opportunity the brief provided: “Energy Online is a challenger brand. We were lucky enough to have a client that recognised they needed to be brave. As a result we were able to convince them to take a huge leap of faith with this campaign.

Christini-Crawford said, “It was exciting to see how intrigued Aucklanders were about the lights in the sky and also what good sports they were when the UFO was revealed as a stunt.”

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About Energy Online: Energy Online operates as a separate retail brand of Genesis Energy and has approximately 70,000 customers. The company was voted best electricity provider for two years running in the Roy Morgan Customer Satisfaction Awards.

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