In 2000 Auckland Savings Bank launched its way into the imagination of New Zealand with the misadventures of Ira Goldstein, an American banker on an espionage mission. Five years later he’s still going. The story began in 2000 with the introduction of Ira Goldstein, (played by Paul Mellor) a diffident researcher for an American bank. He tells his boss that all banks in the world are the same, with the exception of one in New Zealand, ASB. “Goldstein, go to New Zealand and find out what makes that bank different.” Here begins the love affair between Goldstein, ASB and the land of New Zealand. Ira samples the scenery and outdoor recreation of his new environment and decides to buy a house and start a business, all with the help of ASB.
There was some initial flack from the New Zealand Jewish community who were not sure they wanted to be associated with bumbling behaviour of this American Jew. However it became clear that New Zealanders forgave much for the sake of humour and a familiar TV character.
Ira Goldstein Online
ASB have a page dedicated to the ads: Ira Goldstein – as seen on TV. There are six very short vignettes presented as swf files.
Communication Agencies Association New Zealand (CAANZ) have a range of the Ira Goldstein ads in their awards section: Herd of Chickens, Rotorua: New Zealanders love a challenge
The campaign won an Effie for sustained success in 2003.
Whybin TWA, New Zealand, have a page dedicated to the 2003 drive to attract investors in the wake of the hugely successful home mortgage campaign. Take a look at ASB in the Case Studies section of the flash-based Whybin TBWA site. Scott Whybin, principal with the advertising agency, took a personal interest in launching and sustaining the campaigns.
The ASB Ira Goldstein campaign was developed at Whybin TBWA New Zealand by creatives Scott Whybin, Matt Kemsley, Nick Goldwater, Craig Love, Todd McCracken, Bruce Baldwin, Michael Syme, Craig Farndale, Bob Kerrigan, Scott Kelly, Paul Taylor and Chris Swift, account service personnel David Walden, Kruno Ivancic and Sonya Berrigan, and agency producers Margot Ger, Simon Burt and Fiona Champtaloup.
See the Ira Goldstein entry at Wikipedia