Saturday, December 22, 2018

Kiwi Kath’s summer

The video above is an online ad for Kiwibank, the New Zealand government-owned bank, the biggest bank operating here that’s not owned by Australians. This ad is also the very opposite of Australian, packing in as many Kiwi clichés and imagery as possible. And there are quite a few.

The character of Kiwi Kath, “the unofficial most Kiwiest Kiwi in New Zealand”, is played by Karen O’Leary, an actress best known to New Zealand for her role in the NZ comedy TV series, Wellington Paranormal, which is a spinoff of the awesome NZ comedy film, What We Do in the Shadows. In that film she plays Officer O’Leary, a role she reprises in the TV series, which has been confirmed for a second series.

I’m keenly aware that this video will have a lot of slang that non-New Zealanders won’t understand, and much of the imagery will go right past them. But Kiwis will get it, and if anyone who perseveres and gets to understand the video will be an honourary Kiwi. It’s Christmas—we’re feeling generous.

In the new year, Kiwibank’s parent, NZ Post, will be announcing some branch closures/restructuring. So, promoting a summer break is a good idea. And the ad definitely Kiwi as.

Related: A portrait of Karen O’Leary in connection with Wellington Paranormal, which was published on Stuff.

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