Campaign Spotlight

Campaign Spotlight: A New Zealand sea shanty moves the world in Spark’s new campaign via Colenso BBDO

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND — Entertainers often use their art as a way to start conversations, shape perspectives, or inspire change – from shifting cultural norms, defying genres, or building a deeper understanding between people or about something. Recognising the importance of entertainment, Spark gives New Zealanders unrivalled access to some of the best shows, music, films, and games from around the world.

Directed by Sanjay De Silva, the 60 second campaign called ‘ShantyTok’ tells the story through the perspective of Willa – a teenage girl who discovers a passion for the ocean after coming across a rendition of the sea shanty ‘Soon May The Wellerman Come’ on TikTok, which quickly expands to other entertainment platforms such as Spotify, Twitter, Twitch and YouTube.


The original song was said to be written by a New Zealand sailor in 1860 to help lift the spirits of crewmen working in challenging conditions. Fast forward to 2020, the shanty was reignited and became a global viral hit during the COVID-19 lockdowns and once again provided some much-needed cheer and camaraderie during a time when many were grappling with feelings of isolation and uncertainty.

Through the power of entertainment, the sea shanty incited broader conversations that encourage Willa – as it did many in real life – to be curious and delve deeper into the history of sea shanties and sea conservation. This fuels Willa’s newfound journey of discovery and passion for all-things-sea, and motivates her to recommend more entertainment.

Spark’s Brand Partner, Ingrid Bennie says, “ShantyTok perfectly demonstrates our platform of Little Can Be Huge – how a seemingly frivolous piece of entertainment could be so much more than just a tool to amuse or distract. Entertainment has the power to build connections, start conversations and ultimately build a deeper understanding of the world around us.”

Group Business Director, Renata Gordon from Colenso BBDO says, “We’re super excited and proud to have this campaign live. We believe it’s a progressive reflection of the changing way we interact with entertainment today. With Spark’s unique network of entertainment – from TV to sport to gaming to music – you don’t just get to explore and discover a whole universe of entertainment, you can explore and discover who you are. Or can be.”

Spark’s latest campaign launched on 12th September with a 60” film, and rolls out across Cinema, OOH, and online, where the public can find recommendations for the things they’re passionate about.



Agency: Colenso BBDO
Media: PHD
Production Company: DIVISION
Director: Sanjay De Silva
MD / Executive Producer: Genevieve Triquet
Producer: Yolande Dewey
DOP: Ginny Loane
Post Production: The Editors & Fin Design
Editor: Leila Gaabi
Colourist: Fergus Rotherham
VFX: Mikey Brown
Music & Sound: Franklin Rd

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