The New Zealand International Comedy Festival Print TOOSOON by Colenso BBDO Auckland


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Industry Shows, Events & Festivals
Media Print, Magazine & Newspaper
Market New Zealand
Agency Colenso BBDO Auckland
Art Director Alexandra Tyler
Copywriter Hadleigh Sinclair
Released April 2012

Credits & Description

Category: Best Online Advertising in a Promotional Campaign
Creative Chairman: Nick Worthington (Colenso BBDO)
Creative Director/Digital Creative Director/Copywriter: Levi Slavin (Colenso BBDO)
Creative Director/Digital Creative Director/Art Director/Digital Designer: Aaron Turk (Colenso BBDO)
Art Director: Alexandra Tyler (Colenso BBDO)
Copywriter: Hadleigh Sinclair (Colenso BBDO)
Digital Developer: Paul Headington (Colenso BBDO)
Agency Producer: Rob Linkhorn (Colenso BBDO)
Senior Account Manager: Lucy Sparks (Colenso BBDO)
Media placement: Digital - Website - - 16 April 2012

Describe the objective of the promotion.
The Objective was to create conversation around the 2012 NZ International Comedy Festival and drive past fest goers and their social networks to the comedy fest site to explore and buy tickets.

Run by a trust, the NZ International Comedy Festival relies heavily on media partnerships and word of mouth to get numbers through the doors. In its 20th year, conversation was low and media coverage had slowed.

They needed to create some buzz around the 2012 festival. They were looking for a new way to connect the public to the many different comedians on show.

Describe how the promotion developed from concept to implementation.
We wanted to increase festival site visits. We wanted to connect individuals to relevant comedians. We wanted to get the festival back in the news and across social networks.

Based on the universal insight, ‘how soon is too soon to joke about something?’ we created toosoon – a remarkable search engine that could accurately predict when any topic was too soon to joke about.

After five searches the site would match your specific topics to relevant comedians and shows in the festival. From there you could simply click through and buy tickets.

Using your search term, toosoon sampled the tone of millions of online conversations. If public sentiment was mostly positive, the topic got an ALL CLEAR. If public sentiment was mostly negative, it got a TOO SOON.
If the topic was TOO SOON, the search engine then estimated a time and date the result would change.

After five searches, your search terms were matched to an upcoming Festival show. Users could simply click through to book tickets there and then.

We even made a handy mobile version so people could avoid social blunders and buy tickets on the go.

The search engine was launched to the public via the Comedy Festival’s online database. Instantly getting the festival much needed conversation and media attention.

Explain why the method of promotion was most relevant to the product or service.
For as long as jokes have been around there has been the issue of a topic being too soon. Using this universal insight we created a resource and conversation starter for stand-up comedians and the public alike.

Finally, comedians and the public could find out if a topic was too soon before they told the joke.

The NZ International Comedy Festival had an ongoing resource that would make them famous, get them lots of conversation, give them the credibility as the true home of comedy, and live long beyond the festival.

Describe the success of the promotion with both client and consumer including some quantifiable results.
As the search engine was positioned as a serious innovation, the public flocked to test it.

Toosoon received 20,000 searches in its first week.

Users spent an average of 4 minutes per visit - twice the previous festival site’s engagement time.

Festival site visits jumped 30%

The Comedy Festival experienced a record year of ticket sales in 2012.