Ina Nooroa, one of the local stars in the recent Hungry Jack’s ad campaign, in production mode. (PHOTO: CREATOR’S HYPE) 21011520
In the midst of a pandemic, local tour guides and creatives found themselves working together to help create an ad campaign for one of Oceania’s most recognisable brands.
pandemic raging throughout the world, there’s still no tourists in the Cook
Islands. Yet a group of local tour guides found themselves unexpectedly busy
instead of explaining the splendours of Rarotonga’s landscapes and showcasing
the beauty of the lagoon, they were giving their online audiences a ‘tour’ of a
an unlikely match when the tourism specialists were recruited to assist in
marketing a product for one of the region’s most recognisable fast food brands,
but for the advertising campaign’s video director, the two complemented each
other like hot chips and ketchup.
Australia’s Hungry Jack’s teamed up with Uber Eats to promote the return of the
fast food chain’s Tropical Whopper – a double cheeseburger with double bacon
and two slices of pineapple – it was a twist of fate that a well-known figure
in Cook Islands media production circles was already involved in the project.
director Dylan Harrison had been involved in some major ad campaigns throughout
his career. Locally, he played a leading role in the production of the much
loved ‘Katu Kanga’ video series for Cook Islands Tourism.
Director Dylan Harrison and wife Louise Paiti. (PHOTO: DYLAN HARRISON). 21011521
campaigns were done by well-known Australian advertising agencies. Having their
ears, Harrison was able to offer some creative input into the Tropical Whopper
it comes up in conversation with Australian creative directors, they just love
the warmth and charm of our local people, not to mention the natural beauty of
our little paradise,” he says.
the Sydney-based advertising agency Special Group developed concepts to promote
the Tropical Whopper from Hungry Jack’s with their client Uber Eats, they hit
upon the refreshing idea of using tropical tour guides to showcase the burger,
given they’re currently bereft of customers due to the ongoing Covid lockdown.
they knew of our experience in both markets, we were the first people they
called to turn the idea into reality.”
agency’s original plan was to use tour guides from across the Pacific, said
partner is a Cook Islander, and he’s been able to call the Cook Islands home
for prolonged stretches of time. He had a suggestion.
response was that they’d find all the great talent and spectacular tropical
locations they would need, right here in Rarotonga,” he says.
that, Harrison told the executives at the ad agency that Rarotonga had the
production expertise needed to turn around the project with the right results.
been slow moving for the local tourism industry of late, with borders shut for
the better part of 2020 and any prospect for a travel bubble with New Zealand
is still months away.
local guide Josh Utanga received a phone call asking if he’d be interested in
participating in an international ad campaign, he had a mild dilemma.
vegetarian, it was purely a financial decision,” he says with a laugh. “But I knew
about Hungry Jack’s, and I’ve eaten a few whoppers in my time.”
says he had never been in front of a camera, but having competed at the 2012
Summer Olympics in London, representing Cook Islands, he was up for the
challenge. And having spent day-after-day in front of tourists showing them the
splendours of Rarotonga’s lagoon through his business Snorkel Cook Islands, he
was primed for the role.
getting briefed on the details of the ad campaign – which was to be a series of
short videos with each local personality describing in detail, and with a
little humour, the features of Hungry Jack’s Tropical Whopper – he was given a
script to prepare.
day of the shoot though, he still had some jitters. “We stopped at the golf
club and had a few brews of liquid courage first.”
And with that, he set off to the beach at Blackrock to make his showbiz debut.
“100 per cent, being in front of tourists helps you build your confidence. It’s what I do, and I love having my back against the wall and having a little challenge. I like the sense of being uncomfortable.”
been re-defined for many in the age of Covid-19, particularly for those working
in media production.
working in remote locations such as the Cook Islands deal with their own unique
set of challenges: finding the right gear, uploading massive files through
painfully slow internet, and the fear of dropping an expensive DSLR in a salty
their storyboards drawn out, Harrison needed a production team to bring their idea
to reality. Covid-19 border restrictions meant they had a short list of
companies to work with: they’d have to go local.
marketing agency Creator’s Hype ended up getting the call. Led by chief
executive Jaiah Arai, a production team was assembled including photographer
Tabby Berg and videographer Ben Raela.
worked with (Harrison) on some other projects, and when he told me it was for
Hungry Jack’s, I was like ‘damn, alright’,” says Arai.
following weeks, Arai and his team carried out shoots with a number of local
personalities including Charlotte Piho, Ina Nooroa, Kura Happ, Steven ‘Captain
Moko’ Kavana, and Charlee McLean.
great, we’ve worked with some of them before, so it’s just another day in
paradise for us,” he says.
it’s for a more high-profile client. That’s the only difference. The energy and
vibe is the same. There’s a reason why they’ve chosen these people, they have
an outgoing personality and bring something special to the shoot.”
thanks to Dylan for creating that opportunity to work with local creatives here
in the Cook Islands.”
arduous task of uploading video content and production completed, the videos
were released this week on social media, including paid promotions on Instagram
and Facebook. On YouTube alone, three of the videos – featuring Utanga, Nooroa,
and Happ – have generated over 87,000 views.
from living in both Rarotonga and Australia, all of the tour guides featured
are not only good friends of ours, but we knew they’d be great on camera,”
Harrison says. “Like all Cook Islanders with a bit of a cheeky personality, as
soon as a camera comes out, they can turn it on and really shine.”
started out as a campaign to promote the Tropical Whopper, Harrison says it has
now morphed into an Australia-wide campaign promoting the Cook Islands.
talent and crew involved should be very proud of representing their country,”
client has even gone on record saying that they were so taken by the warmth and
charm of our local tour guides and locations, that they can’t wait to come
visit once planes start flying again and tourism is allowed.”
Local guide and musician Kura Happ, starring in the recent ad campaign for Hungry Jack’s. 21011524
Happ, last year was tough with no tourists to take on her reef walks, but she
says she’s always maintained there was something to gain from the downtime.
“I’m still enjoying life and still on that vibe, but I still need to make some
easy to film because we had scripts to rehearse from,” she says. “We didn’t
have to memorise it word for word, just be relaxed … you know, it’s islands
would be great to see some of these people when the bubble opens up and hear
them say, ‘You’re that girl from the Hungry Jack’s video’.”