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Local input key to First Light initiative

21 September 2016, Andrew Ashton, The Gisborne Herald

FOLLOWING “frank and wide-ranging” discussions, local advertising and marketing experts have been given a sneak peak into the region’s new million-dollar joint marketing initiative. 

Being run in conjunction with Air New Zealand and a number of Gisborne organisations, the regional marketing initiative — Tairawhiti Gisborne, the first light — is expected to boost the local economy by $5.2m.

About 45 local creatives were given an update on the campaign during a special briefing here.

Tairawhiti Business Hub marketing and communications adviser Suzanne Winterflood said initial creative work for the campaign was presented to the group by Vincent Heeringa, the creative director for Roger MacDonnell’s advertising team.

Mrs Winterflood said the briefing on the regional marketing initiative was “by creatives, for creatives”.

High level of interest

“Interest was high, with approximately 45 local creatives attending.

“It was a frank and wide-ranging discussion. Some people were extremely positive about the direction of this new regional branding campaign and the opportunities it offers while others had strong reservations. Many of the attendees have since contacted me, keen to be involved.

“We’re all passionate about this region. The big picture is that if we all get behind this initiative — creatives, tourism operators, business owners, and other locals — Gisborne and Tairawhiti as a whole can only benefit.

“The plan has always been for locals to drive and shape this initiative once the framework has been established.

“The first step is commissioning an initial tranche of content for the new regional website.

“We’ll be calling for expressions of interest from local writers, photographers, videographers, social media experts and others.

“An ad will run today in The Gisborne Herald, and be posted on the Tairawhiti Business Hub Facebook page.”

Activate Tairawhiti chief executive Steve Breen paid tribute to the work done so far by Auckland-based Mr MacDonnell.

“Roger MacDonnell and his team have played an instrumental role in helping our region gain unprecedented funding for this regional marketing initiative.

“Roger has also been deeply involved in ongoing discussions with Air New Zealand.”

Mr Breen said Eastland Community Trust had committed $1.185 million towards the campaign over three years, and Gisborne District Council, the Chamber of Commerce, The Gisborne Herald, Air New Zealand and central government were all providing support.

“While a significant portion of the funding will be used to pay for advertising in a range of media channels, we anticipate that more than half a million dollars will be spent on work generated by local talent over this time,” said Mr Breen.

“We’re establishing a local communications hub that will oversee the direction of the campaign once it’s under way, and manage and develop the ongoing creation of the content it will require.”

Mr MacDonnell is the founder of advertising agency Colenso.

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