Issue 49 | December 2018


Colenso BBDO

Creative Team

Creative Chairman Nick Worthington Chief Creative Officer Levi Slavin Executive Creative Director Dan Wright Creative Director Mike Davison Art Director Alex Polglase Copywriter Joel Francis Google Zoo Google Chief Creative Officers Matty Burton, Dave Bowman Google Zoo Creative Directors Tara Mckenty, Iain Nealie Google Zoo Creative Technologist Mathew Tizard

Production Team

Head of Digital Production Tenille Barnes Producer Michelle Hong Google Zoo Producer Chris Rollings Production Company Rush Digital

Other Credits

Managing Partner Vanessa Nicol Group Business Director Jacqui Copas Business Director Ryan Butterfield Strategy Director Nick Salter Communications Director Joe Carter Digital Strategist Emma Tait Client Brand Center of Excellence Lead Sarah Williams Brand Lead Partner Hannah Bay Business Manager – Maori, Spark Digital Lisa Paraku Corporate Relations Partners Ellie Cross, Anaru Tuhi Google Zoo strategist Samuel Payne Media PHD Media


September 2018


While New Zealand’s indigenous language, te reo Maori, has seen increased revitalisation efforts across the nation in recent years, actual te reo learning opportunities remain limited and sometimes inaccessible.

So, for Te Wiki o te reo Maori (Maori Language Week) 2018, Spark was in a unique position to help play a small role in making te reo Maori more accessible and easier to learn for New Zealanders than ever before.

As one of New Zealand’s largest mobile providers, the opportunity was already sitting in 3.8 million Kiwis’ pockets.


Spark partnered with Te Aka Maori Dictionary and Google Zoo to launch Kupu: a free app that packaged bite-sized language learning into an interactive and fun mobile experience.

The proposition was simple: take a photo, learn a language.

The goal was equally simple: encourage Kiwis to download Kupu and explore the world around them with it.

Using Google Cloud Vision and Google Translate APIs, supported by Te Aka Maori Dictionary data, Kupu used Machine Learning to understand the objects in the photos and translate them into te reo Maori, in real time. It served up the most likely translation and pronunciation but also let users input words and make corrections, so the app was constantly learning and iterating.


Within the first 24 hours, Kupu had generated 35,051 downloads, exceeding total campaign targets by 119%. After two weeks, Kupu had 120,000+ downloads, two million image translations and over 2.5 million audio plays (word pronunciations), again, far exceeding targets.

Interaction rate was 4,372%, which means the average user took 15 photos and played 29 audio clips. Kupu was the #1 trending app on The App Store and Google Play and reached an estimated 6.4 million people through earned media coverage.

Our Thoughts

Some of the most interesting developments in brand communications are happening in audio. Not just the rise and rise of podcasting but also voice-basted interfaces such as Alexa and Google Home. It’s making technology more human. Now you can chat to your phone the way you would to a friend. Similarly, when you’re trying to learn a language, what do you do? You point and ask, what’s that? This idea is exactly the same principle except your friendly tutor is now your mobile.

What is so heartening about this campaign’s success is it reveals the huge respect all New Zealanders have for the indigenous culture that three hundred years of settlement has disrupted.

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