Engine is behind a major new campaign for Xero, starring Rhys Darby, best known for his roles in Flight of the Conchords and Hunt for the Wilderpeople. The comedian demonstrates how the online accounting software can help small businesses to master the daunting task of dealing with their finances, all via a jetpack.
It's the London agency's first campaign since its appointment to handle the UK advertising account earlier this year, following a competitive pitch to create a distinct brand identity. The strategy is built on the insight that "accounting and bookkeeping isn't something to be 'boshed', 'done', or 'smashed'," as Engine puts it. It's instead at the heart of any business, and "crucially important to have control over if you want a healthy business".
In the TV ad, we see Rhys Darby in a series of tongue-in-cheek analogies about how difficult running a business can feel. We see him taking part in what seems like a normal marathon. But as he talks about how it can feel for small business owners to keep up, we realise it is anything but, as he suddenly finds himself running through a desert and then sucked into quicksand. The message then shifts to: "But with Xero in hand (literally, as a smartphone app) the feeling of being overwhelmed is replaced with that of ease and control". Then, thanks to Xero, Rhys is suddenly in a fun run, on roller-skates, followed by taking off in a jetpack. He reminds us to search 'Xero with an X' followed by the new brand positioning of a "healthy business is beautiful business".
"Our ambition was to make sure that anyone watching would be utterly clear about what Xero is and what it can do for their business," says Billy Faithfull of Engine. "Colliding the world of health and business gave us a really powerful platform and having Rhys Darby deliver it will ensure it cuts through the noise, with a self-deprecating tone, on roller-skates, with a jetpack, in a desert."
The campaign breaks on 15 May and runs for an initial five weeks, across television, radio, online video and out-of-home.