An ad campaign about building a restaurant in a tree north
of Auckland has won a Webby, the internet equivalent of an Oscar.
The Yellow Tree House campaign for Yellow (formerly Yellow
Pages) took out the Telecommunications section of the Webbys, which were announced
overnight in the US.
The campaign was devised by AIM Proximity and Colenso BBDO. Applications
were sought from amateur entrepreneurs to meet the challenge of building a
restaurant 10 metres up a tree in a redwood forest near Warkworth. They had to
do this using only the expertise available through Yellow. The winner was “an
accordion player” named Tracey.
The onion-shaped structure was completed in 66 days,
employing more than 60 businesses. Progress was posted on a website featuring a
blog, video webisodes, pictures and a webcam.
The site attracted more than 221,000 visitors and stories
about the project were posted on more than 10,000 other websites.
2000 people dined at the treetop restaurant during the month it was open – just
half the number of people who actually booked. The project also gained
worldwide media attention.
“We’re absolutely thrilled,” said Kellie Nathan, Yellow’s
Marketing Director, about the Webby. “It’s completed a full year of awards for
the Tree House campaign and I think in particular the Webby Award focuses on
“We had a lot of blog comments and a lot of engagement by
people across the country and internationally who were following that campaign,
and so I think the website design was a key element in why we won.
“We got a lot of local visitors, but we also got an
international audience, which I think was due to the uniqueness of the idea. It
was quite a whacky challenge, and I think the beautiful design of the
restaurant, the onion shape, drew a lot of international visitors to the site
from an architectural and design point of view.”
For AIM Proximity and Colenso BBDO, the Webby adds to a
string of awards collected by the Yellow Tree House Campaign in the past year,
including Cannes Lions, the Effies, and the Asia Pacific Digital Media Awards. Adam
Good, CEO of AIM Proximity, says they are “stoked” about the award.
“There’s no doubt from Colenso’s and AIM’s point of view
that it’s a campaign we’ve really been proud of; what we believe is a bit of a
game-changing idea,” he said. “Fundamentally these sorts of campaigns can’t
work without using digital channels. They build over a period of time; people
talk about someone building a restaurant in a tree – digital amplifies those
conversations, people hear about it, they see content about it, they visit the
location, they take photos of the restaurant, and the way we’ve evolved
marketing is that if you can create an idea where people can participate along
with the campaign, you’re in a good place because people are interested in it.
People will start forming their own opinions, so suddenly this community
‘trust’ starts to build and people want to know about it. That’s why we’re
doing more of these sorts of campaigns.”
The owner of the land where the tree house was built is now
seeking resource consent to use it for private and corporate functions.