Shortland Street Carpark

2014 | New Zealand

Holden needed to change. 

Brand perception was outdated amongst small car buyers - a target who pays no attention to car advertising.

The strategy to tap into an existing obsession delivered more than the required perception change.

E Top-of-Mind awareness for Holden 130% increase amongst viewers


Holden’s strength in the large car market was holding it back.

Buyers increasingly wanted ‘small and smart’, but perceived Holden as offering ‘big V8 gas guzzlers’.

Given the explosive growth in the small car market, Holden had to change this misconception about the brand.

The car-buying cycle, and the depth of the brand perception, meant that any impact on sales was unlikely to be immediate – we had to be in for the long haul if we were to soften the brand for the largely female small car buyer.

Our challenge; to improve key brand health metrics known to drive preference and be key pre-cursors to purchase.


To redefine what Holden meant to women, we had to redefine the way we used media.

We were faced with a challenge that was the result of the brands success over the past 60 years. We were known for ‘big V8 gas guzzlers’ when the market was demanding ‘small and smart’.

CCS revealed our insight – that our female target audience did not care for, or notice automotive advertising.

Engaging an audience who turn their heads is tough! We couldn’t be overt or traditional in our approach. Therefore our strategy was to engage them through entertainment, and then deliver the Holden story through the content.

But how?

Because of the time required to shift brand perceptions we needed a long term platform.

We did not have the time or money to develop an entertainment platform of our own, so we sought out an established property that enabled a regular conversation with our female audience.

'Shortland Street' is a popular, locally produced medical drama that runs weeknights on TV at 1900.

It has an incredibly passionate female fan-base with an insatiable appetite for story lines and characters in the show.

It was the perfect entertainment property for us to leverage!




Our opportunity was to build knowledge and appeal of Holden by leveraging viewer’s obsession for the show and its characters.

If our audience wanted to know more about Shortland Street characters, then we’d tell them. We’d feed their obsession by letting them into the world outside the hospital. Literally, just outside. In the carpark.

The virtual Shortland Street Carpark was created where the worlds of Shortland Street and Holden collided.

Each vehicle in the Holden small car range was aligned to the cast member who best reflected the personality and lifestyle of the target.

On-air sponsorship elements showcased the models, and teased viewers with the experience that awaited them at

Once here, visitors indulged in and were rewarded for their obsession by solving mysteries, proving their show knowledge, and made character decisions – with Holden vehicles central throughout.

Fans searched through virtual vehicles for props from the show and clue’s to discover who the driver was. Users could open doors, glove compartments, and browse phone call and sat nav history in their quest for the truth – while learning about the cars features.

We produced web-only storylines with the shows characters. Holden vehicles were central to these ‘webisodes’ as were features of the cars.

E Top-of-Mind awareness for Holden 130% increase amongst viewers
w Over 70,000 unique users with over 60% repeat visits
v Holden makes cars for NZ driving conditions. 88% increase amongst viewers
Q Likelihood to purchase a Holden 63% increase amongst viewers

“The partnership with Shortland Street has well exceeded our expectations. The clever use of the negotiated assets (TV, digital and social), has seen Holden significantly change the outdated perception of the brand. The media partnership was so successful that we have re-committed for 2015.”

Marnie Samphier General Manager Marketing
^Back to Top