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Almost Famous
For a small country, New Zealand is home to quite a few world-renowned icons

Troy Goodall by Troy Goodall on March 15, 2020

The phrase ‘world famous in New Zealand’ is synonymous with many of our country’s classics, including L&P, pineapple lumps, Bluff oysters, the kiwi, Marmite, the Buzzy Bee, kiwifruit, pavlova, Lord of the Rings, and let’s not forget our unlikely hero… the Nek Minut guy.

Now the list can boast a new addition — Skinny Mobile New Zealand’s “Almost Famous” campaign.

The idea behind the campaign was to use “Almost Famous” New Zealanders — Kiwis with the same names as famous celebrities — to demonstrate Skinny’s dedication to providing New Zealanders with the lowest mobile plan prices by avoiding costly ad endorsements.

As it turned out, we had no trouble tracking down homegrown stars for the shoot — apparently plenty of New Zealand parents love an opportunity to give their kid a celebrity namesake. From Michael Jordan the web programmer to Jackie Chan the pharmacist, we had plenty to choose from.


But we wanted the celebrity resemblances to be unmistakable. So put Michael Jordan on a basketball court, Ben Affleck on a movie set, Kelly Slater on a surfboard, Clint Eastwood on a horse (of course) and my personal favourite, Michael J. Fox in a Honda City complete with gullwing doors.

Because Skinny wanted the focus of the campaign to be on the “Almost Famous” concept, we then had to work out a way of including their ad plug without detracting from the impact of the images. We needed it to be subtle.

In the end, we decided the best way to achieve this was to simply include a phone with the Skinny branding in each of the scenes.

I downloaded a green screen on my phone prior to the shoot so that I was able to work out how the phone would fit into the shots seamlessly without having to make big adjustments to the images later.

This made the shoot run more smoothly, however being a primarily TVC campaign, getting the images I needed still had its inevitable challenges.

I had three days to shoot my stills, which sounds like a lot of time, but not when there were so many different scenes to shoot. As always, it came down to being ready to go when I was needed, as well as having a good assistant, especially when it came to the lighting.

Given that Skinny’s previous ads had been exclusively animated cartoons, the campaign really made quite the impact (you can view the full TVC ad here). It even ended up with its own Reddit thread. Admittedly, a few of the comments were about the Honda City, but I don’t blame them for that, it’s one of a kind.

All in all, a super fun campaign to be a part of and yet another testament to New Zealand’s knack for innovation and originality.

Almost famous around the world, but world famous in New Zealand.

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©2020 Troy Goodall. All rights reserved.

More About Troy Goodall

Troy GoodallTroy has the unique and advantageous ability to find the photo in everything. Sure, he can shoot the perfect studio shot, or create the impossible from different elements. That’s not unique. But, you can throw Troy into eight foot surf with a floating rig that doesn’t float and shadowy sub-aquatic shapes that may or may not be sharks, and he’ll get the shot. Send him into an equally treacherous on-set environment working around a prima-donna director and he’ll get the shot. You’ll know you’re asking the ridiculous, and the conditions seem impossible, and the lighting is wrong, but he still comes back with the shots.

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