They say you always remember your first, and we certainly remember this one. Now established in the hearts and minds of Kiwis, Absolutely Positively Wellington was the campaign that almost wasn’t.
It all started when Wellington Newspapers Ltd gave some space to the advertising dudes at Saatchi & Saatchi. The plan was to fire things up a bit following the economically troublesome 1980s. The result was a series of eight profiles featuring Wellingtonians who had turned their lives around by getting out there and doing something. People like Stefan Lepionka, who was getting up and squeezing oranges in a converted washing machine and delivering fresh juice to hotels (Stefans, now Charlies) and Gordon May, who bought an old sewing machine and started making ties (Rickson Groove). At the bottom of each page was a simple three line logo - ‘Absolutely Positively Wellington’.
People loved it. They connected with these stories about human endeavour and they wanted more. At the opening of the new Civic Centre, $100,000 was pledged by local businesses and Saatchi talked media owners into donating around one million dollars of local time.
Absolutely Positively Wellington was launched in 1991 and eventually led to us being set up (an awesome outcome in itself). The campaign sold Wellingtonians on Wellington. As they believed in it and embraced the ‘Absolutely Positively’ philosophy that our city is loved for to this day, the rest of the country did too. The legacy remains, with ‘Absolutely Positively Wellington’ remaining the city’s brand, managed by Wellington City Council.
Steve Lahood shot the television commercial throughout the region on a ten day shoot.
Were you involved? Tell us what you remember.