Ad Nut has had many encounters with zombies. So have most of you. That’s because zombies only live on screens, and in Ad Nut’s case, in ads. So everyone generally lives to tell the tales. How much one enjoys these tales varies greatly though.

Ad Nut has enjoyed zombies in ads that go after your funny bone (like this one) and once wrote that “turning zombies into sympathetic characters who are concerned with having more fun—rather than more brains—is a great concept.” 

Now, Ad Nut would say that the good people at Special New Zealand have stumbled (slightly unfair word choice but we’re talking zombies) on an even greater concept for those who are brought back from the dead: Give them a final performance in an ad.

Even better, make that acting encore highly relevant to the plot, the character, the advertising client and its product. 

You see, New Zealand life insurance provider, Partners Life, needed a way to wake up its audience to the notion that death can strike at any time in a market that’s one of the most under-insured in the world. 

So they teamed up with one of New Zealand’s most popular whodunnit murder mystery drama series, ‘The Brokenwood Mysteries’ to drive this home. In each episode, a character gets whacked.  But during the end credits, the audience gets a surprise as the character on the autopsy table comes back to life for a final performance.  

For example, after the first episode, Janis, the first murder victim of the series, comes back to live to lament the unexpected nature of death in an encor by Kiwi actress Meryl Main. Looking to the camera, she says, “Well this is unexpected…what are my boys going to do without their mummy now, sorry lads there’s no life insurance policy”.

You get the picture. And so did the agency—because they worked with the same director and crew from the drama series to ensure it came across authentically to the audience, which Ad Nut appreciates. 

Each ad spot ends with a pitch to ‘plan ahead and get life right’ with Partners Life. Other similar tongue-in-cheek ads from the insurer aired throughout the six-part series.

Ad Nut is well aware of those who will not appreciate this campaign. Namely, all the people in the drama’s rolling credits, of course, whose names no one will pay attention to. Those same people might be doubly annoyed that Ad Nut will now roll the production credits below for those who stole attention away from their production credits. 


Client: Partners Life

CEO: Naomi Ballantyne 

Chief Commercial Officer: Tony Arthur 

Chief Marketing Officer: Kris Ballantyne 

General Manager, Marketing: Tina Morgan 

Sponsorships Manager: Mika Ballantyne  

Marketing Specialist: Gerhard van Graan  

Brand Co-ordinator: Sophie Broom  

Agency: Special

Creative Agency: Special Group New Zealand

Chief Creative Officer: Tony Bradbourne

Executive Creative Director: Lisa Fedyszyn

Executive Creative Director: Jonathan McMahon

Copywriter Jack Gravatt

Art Director: Till Dittmers

Executive Producer: Sally Lankshear

Senior Producer: Casey King

Group Business Director: Hugo Parcell

Business Director: Hannah Ross

Chief Strategy Officer: Rory Gallery

Group Strategy Director: Nick Salter

Media Director: Briar Rowsell

Head of PR & Influence: Kelly Grindle

Production Company: South Pacific Pictures

Director: Mike Smith

Post Production: Images & Sound

Music & Sound House: Images & Sound





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