New Zealand Customs Service

Ethnic communications, Our Work

Duty-free tobacco allowances to fall awareness campaign 2014

The brief

New Zealand Customs Service (NZCS) is the government agency ensuring the security of New Zealand borders. From 1 November 2014, travellers would have to pay GST and duty if they bring in more than 50 cigarettes, down from 200, or 50 grams of cigars or tobacco products. The gift concession for tobacco had also been removed. Customs officers at the border started enforcing new duty-free limits for tobacco products. NZCS needed an awareness campaign to inform local communities and international travellers of the new duty-free allowance level.

Research showed smoking prevalence among Asians continued to increase, especially in China and India. China has the largest smoking population in the world, consuming about 40% of the world’s cigarettes. To drive awareness of the allowance changes using specific languages and tone with a positive and friendly approach, we developed and implemented an awareness campaign targeting Asian communities including Chinese, Indian, Filipino, Korean, and Japanese, both local and inbound international travellers.

  • Chinese (mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan) – 70%
  • Korean – 15%
  • Indian – 5%
  • Filipino – 5%
  • Japanese – 5%

We provided a cultural transformation solution that goes beyond the traditional marketing effort plus an integrated ethnic community marketing and communication strategy, making the messages clear, direct, and easily understood by Asian audiences as well as adding a cultural dimension to each Asian community, including:

  1. Compelling visual and content creation in a certain language and cultural context for each community – Chinese, Indian, Filipino, Korean, and Japanese
  2. Asian media pitching and buying through a range of selected ethnic media outlets and channels that precisely reach and connect with the target audiences at the optimal time.

The results  

  • Campaign messages were widely delivered through press advertisements, radio, TVC, TV interviews, website landing page and banner, WeChat articles, airport signage, marketing collaterals, inflight passenger arrival card, etc.
  • Communications and key messages were well received among target local Asian audiences, who gradually play an active role in helping deliver the message to offshore Asian friends and family.
  • Although total international arrivals were increased by 9.6% from 2014 to 2015 – 34.3% from China, 7.6% from Japan and 17.1% from South Korea, the campaign saw success in preventing an increase of offences to duty-free allowances at the border among Asian inbound travellers after the allowance changes were introduced.

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