Werk partnered with Whanganui District Council and Horizons Regional Council to launch a new, frequent bus service in Whanganui. As big public transport advocates we were excited to be involved in the naming process, branding, signage and wayfinding, video production, and marketing campaign rollout for Te Ngaru The Tide. The name is beautifully poetic. The bus ebbs and flows back and forth across the city–between Castlecliff Beach and Aramoho–mimicking the movements of the sacred Whanganui River as it connects to the sea. The tide is rising in Whanganui with fresh energy poured into new multi-modal public transit options.
This campaign had lots of moving parts on a short timeline so efficient project management and clear communication was essential to the campaign’s success. Our client was primarily Whanganui District Council, but with Horizons Regional Council overseeing the entire regional public transport network, it was essential to take them on the journey too. It was crucial during the branding process that the visual identity for Te Ngaru The Tide was integrated seamlessly into the regional public transport brand, Connect, for consistency across livery, wayfinding and collateral such as timetables. During this naming process we also worked closely with WDC and HRC to choose a name that told a compelling story, and with local iwi to gift an appropriate te reo name.
Central to our launch campaign strategy was a hero video asset telling the story of Te Ngaru The Tide, and how this new frequent bus service would positively impact the daily lives of Whanganui residents. Werk produced the video in-house from start to finish; including scriptwriting, talent and location scouting, production planning, directing and filming, topped off with a post-production workflow of grading, editing and motion graphics. Featuring local legend Jay Rerekura as our narrator and over 17 locations throughout Whanganui's neighbourhoods, the video resonated strongly with target audiences and had an incredibly high engagement rate within our digital campaign–clearly communicating key messages and building excitement for Te Ngaru The Tide's launch–resulting in immediate public uptake of the new service.
Being a significant behaviour-change campaign we developed a comprehensive strategy to go far and wide to educate, engage and incentivise action. We rolled out a robust prelaunch digital and out-of-home schedule to build anticipation for the impending service. We utilised a range of creative video assets as the cornerstone of the digital campaign with tailored messaging to resonate with multiple target audiences–from youth, young professionals, families and the elderly–complemented by radio ads with supporting messaging. Our OOH media featured colourful, branded designs on digital billboards and billstickers to captivate attention throughout the city.
Whanganui District Council and Horizons Regional Council both consider the campaign a resounding success and a "massive boost" to public transport patronage in the city. Whanganui District Council’s representative on Horizons’ Passenger Transport Committee, Anthonie Tonnon, says: “From other centres, we’ve seen it usually takes months to grow patronage for a new service, so it’s amazing to see such a quick increase in public transport use and a range of people – young and old – making The Tide part of their day."