AKA Australia and show producer Louise Withers approached Stuff with an exciting proposition: to utilise our digital and print channels to sell Matilda The Musical tickets to a broad audience.


The Challenge

In October 2016, show producer Louise Withers and AKA Australia approached Stuff with an exciting proposition: to sell Matilda The Musical tickets, an iconic yet assumed child-favoured show, to an adult audience.

The Stuff team identified that the campaign needed to resound with old and new fans alike — much like the musical’s fresh take — and content had to be family-friendly, appealing to all age groups. The team knew the content had to be fresh, fun and relevant to cut through the clutter and attract keen audiences. But it wasn’t just about sales. One of the client’s key objectives was to engage the audience with campaign content — so Stuff, along with the producer, AKA Australia and TVNZ, designed and delivered a bespoke, out-of-the-box campaign.


The Strategy

As the producer and AKA Australia’s print and digital partner, Stuff plotted a large-scale strategy across many of its advertising platforms, involving high-impact ad placements, editorial, and bespoke competition elements developed in collaboration and partnership with Stuff’s social media team and TVNZ. The idea was to nostalgically leverage Roald Dahl and the book’s massive fan bases, and tie Matilda’s themes into broader community issues that connected with newcomers. With good-looking and interesting creative tying everything together, the core of the campaign strategy involved looking for ways people could connect with Matilda and share their own stories.


The Campaign

AKA Australia and Louise Withers worked closely with Stuff’s Content Studio to roll out a seven-month campaign between April to October, including quizzes, video, photography, newspaper wraps, homepage takeovers and social competitions.

The full advertising schedule had 58 newspaper ad placements, three entertainment page takeovers, two Stuff homepage takeovers, one Sunday Star-Times newspaper wrap, as well as digital, mobile and social media advertising — bolstering the campaign’s content strategy, increasing awareness and ultimately driving ticket sales.

As well as a range of editorial stories, content highlights included:

  • The Favourite Teacher Awards – Singing the importance of good teachers, we invited Kiwis of all ages to remember and celebrate their special teachers, awarding one nominated duo a special VIP experience at Matilda The Musical! The entries provided content leads for over 50 stories that ran across Stuff and our print publications.
  • Little Geniuses (four-part video series) – The Content Studio team created a video series featuring children discussing newsworthy topics and answering questions, shared alongside a link to buy tickets. Across Stuff and Facebook, the videos clocked up nearly 40,000 views.
  • Sunday Magazine feature with Tim Minchin – A double-page interview feature with Tim Minchin, Matilda The Musical composer, was featured on the cover of Sunday Magazine.
  • Roald Dahl-themed Stuff quiz – Stuff readers are crazy about quizzes, so we ran a themed one with a prompt to buy tickets and promoted it on Facebook.

Stuff Facebook giveaway – We also gave away tickets to the final show via the Stuff Facebook page and received a massive 10,000+ entries.


The Results

The Stuff-supported campaign did not just reach millions of Kiwis, it had a strong element of engagement with more than 10,000 social entries received, 330+ nominations for the Favourite Teacher Awards, and a wealth of paid and earned media coverage achieved.

The campaign was also selected as a finalist in the 2018 News Media Awards for Best Community or Social-Purpose Initiative for the Favourite Teacher Awards, and received three 2018 Beacon Award nods for Best Launch, Best Collaboration and Best Use of Video.


Above all else, Matilda The Musical became the highest-selling musical in New Zealand in the last five years and the highest-selling piece of theatre in New Zealand in 2017.