Spotlight On Our Shareholders

This autumn, the Farmlands brand is in the public eye like never before, via our first-ever TV campaign.

For many people around New Zealand, the March launch of these advertisements was the first time they had seen our stores, our Farmlands staff, our shareholders, our services and products. That meant introducing them to our commitment to do better.The Together Stronger™ story reinforces that Farmlands was formed by farmers, for farmers with the aim that everybody should prosper. Just like our co-operative and its journey from town halls to a national footprint of 82 stores, we want to celebrate our leadership in the primary sector in a high-profile fashion.With a business as diverse as ours, how do you explain everything in 30 seconds? You ask the people that know us best.

Just as we put our shareholders’ future success at the centre of everything Farmlands does – our customers and their land are the main feature. No acting experience was necessary for our ads, as we simply asked the people that work with us every day to provide their time (and their faces) for the campaign.

Our talent search went far and wide and it was our people who found the right mix to make these ads. This campaign has allowed us to showcase what we do and who we work with to the maximum number of “eyeballs”. They are nothing too fancy, they are about people. Just like us. Two of the ads are being screened now and two more will be screened in the spring. We went behind the scenes to talk to some of our rising stars about their once-in-a-lifetime experience.


Southern screen time

Jamie McKenzie had not planned on being part of the ad campaign but had helped find shareholders who he thought would be a good fit. However, a random farm visit on a day of filming saw the Southern Sales Manager make his screen debut. “It was interesting to see how the film crew operated, they had flash kit and were all microphoned up. They were impressive with the way they operated,” Jamie says. “There was one funny piece where I was walking with Robbie Watkinson and we were talking and forgot we had the microphones on. Our conversation wasn’t entirely appropriate, so we had a few laughs.” Jamie, who has been with Farmlands since November last year, says he has had good feedback from shareholders and friends. “It is amazing the number of people who have seen the ad,” he says. “I’m certainly not signing any autographs yet.”

Robbie has been a Farmlands shareholder since 2009. The sheep and beef farmer runs 300 hectares over three blocks near Winton. He says he agreed to do the ads because Farmlands has always been good to him. Robbie describes his Technical Field Officer, Jim Beer and Jamie McKenzie as “good men” and says he didn’t mind helping them out. “I really enjoyed it. I love meeting new people and it was interesting to watch a different industry in action. The film crew is very particular and precise and how they go about their job is great. It was amazing to see how long it took to get such a small result, when as a farmer, we are just used to getting stuff done,” Robbie says.

“It’s also very easy to muck up your lines. I don’t think any of us got it right. It was only one line but we all kept getting it wrong. My wife had to say, ‘with the aim that we all prosper’ and she kept saying ‘thrive’, so there were lots of laughs.” The filming included a shot of Robbie’s wife, Kate, opening the gate for their three kids, Ruby, Milly and Jimmy to go through. That was shot at their Ryal Bush home with most of the other footage at their Forrest Hill lease block.

Jess Peter, who won Emerging Technical Field Officer of the Year at the Farmlands National Conference earlier this year, was nominated by her boss for the ad. “I’m one of those people where my face goes red very easily. You only have to say the word ‘red’, and my face literally lights up like a tomato. It’s so annoying,” she says. “So, my boss, Jamie McKenzie, thought it would be hilarious for me to do the ad.” Jess says the job took a while to get just right and it turned out an originally unrehearsed line fitted perfectly with the final flow of the advertisement. “The camera crew were great but there were some high expectations of the stock! They wanted photos of a sheep jumping or running through the race and didn’t always get what they planned.” Jess has been with Farmlands for just over 5 years. She has worked at three different stores, starting with Richmond in Nelson, then Gore and now Invercargill. She has been out on the road in her job for about a year and at Farmlands’ national conference in January was awarded the Emerging Technical Field Officer of the Year award.

For Central Southland dairy farmer, Harley Churstain, being in front of the lens was nothing new. Years ago, Harley was filmed doing shearing demonstrations for tourist promotions. So, while he says he’s not quite Hollywood material, he has had a little experience. Harley and his wife Nicky own Burnlea Dairy Limited and became Farmlands shareholders about 15 years ago. Harley saw being involved with the ad campaign as a change from his “day-to-day dairy cocky world”, where he and his team milk 850 cows. “When I was first asked, I said no. But in the end, I said I’d give it a shot,” he says.

“It was a good experience and bit of fun. Especially when we were hosing Josh Officer down, so it looked like it was raining. He looked like a drowned rat in his wet weather gear, there were a lot of laughs. The ads are good, they have done a good job.” Josh Officer is the Herd Manager for Burnlea Dairy Limited and described being in the ads as a great opportunity to support Farmlands. “It was a good day with good people,” he says. “I’m in two ads – one where I’m out ‘in the rain’ but I am actually being drenched by a high-pressure hose while my boss sits warm and dry in the ute! In the other, I am in a paddock measuring grass with a plate meter. The final product looks good, it’s a good endorsement of Farmlands and farming and everyone involved.”


Filming a Bay dream

The Farmlands ad was Pete Hammond’s first claim to fame. Pete works on Whakamarumaru Station, near Crownthorpe, Hastings, where he has been the Stock Manager of the sheep and beef property for 10 years. The farm itself has had a Farmlands shareholding for more than 20 years. It was pressure from local Technical Field Officer Chelsea Woon that eventually convinced Pete to do the ad. “The film crew got hold of me, we met, I took them around the farm and they liked what they saw – it’s pretty nice country,” Pete explains. “Turned out it was a whole lot of fun – the film crew were great. It was a whole day of filming … and much to my surprise it all went pretty smoothly. I had lines to say and it took about 12 shots to get it right, which was not too bad. It’s my first time on television. One guy’s wife won $100 as she had bet her husband it was me on TV and he bet it wasn’t!” Pete says the camera crew were well informed and stayed in touch and the campaign also gave him a chance to meet other Farmlands people who were involved.

“I have no acting aspirations, usually I’m quite shy and try and stay out of the limelight but the Farmlands people obviously thought I could do what they wanted,” he says. “I think the ads are well done, they’re pretty cool and I think they’ve got a lot of people looking and listening.” When he’s not in front of the camera, Pete is a keen horse trekker and organises fundraising horse treks in Hawke’s Bay. He is involved with the Great New Zealand Horse Trek, which caters for 300 people and raises thousands of dollars for charity. This year’s week-long trek started at Tapanui and finished North of Bluff at Slope Point.

Lydia and Sean Baty have been Farmlands shareholders for 7 years. They established their goat farming business, Tukituki Dairy Goats, in Havelock North in Hawke’s Bay around 4 years ago. They have been milking 1,000 goats and have the capacity to double that.Lydia says it was just meant to be her and Sean in the ad but on the day of filming her Dad and mother-in-law Dianne were there, so it turned into a family affair. “Dianne ended up with a role where she was in a pen with kid goats jumping over her, she was covered in bruises, I don’t think she really enjoyed it,” Lydia says. “In our scene, we had to walk through the goats and there was activity everywhere. It was hard to concentrate and I ended up having to do the take about 50 times because I kept using my ‘presenter’ voice instead of my normal voice. It was a really random but enjoyable experience. I think a highlight was the film crew telling us how amazing our farm was. We’ve put a lot of hard work in and it was great to have that recognised.”

Jonty Moffett and his business partner Jeff Flanders put the buzz into the television campaign. They own the beekeeping business Flanders and Moffett, which is into its second season with 1,200 hives and is based at Korokipo Road in Napier, Hawke’s Bay. Jonty is also involved in his family business Moffett Orchards, which produces fresh crops for the New Zealand market. The orchard was established by Jonty’s Irish immigrant father around 60 years ago and the family has had a Farmlands shareholding for more than 40 years. The filming took place at Whakamarumaru Station in Hawke’s Bay, with Jonty saying it was interesting to see the work that goes into producing the ads.

“I was given lessons from an Aucklander on how to open and shut gates but the gate was just a prop in the middle of a paddock, there wasn’t even a post holding it up,” Jonty says. “I had a few lines and it took a while to get those right, I lost count of the number of takes. I was also told I wasn’t dirty enough, so I had to roll around in the dirt in my brand-new bee suit to dirty it up a bit! There were plenty of laughs and also lots of people taking the mickey out of me once the ad screened.”The ad campaign turned into a family affair as the film crew were also looking to get some footage involving chickens. “We have a menagerie at home with just about every breed of chicken, so my 12 year old daughter Annie had half a day off school and she and the chickens also feature.”

The Mulinder family in Hawke’s Bay has a long and strong connection with Farmlands. Tracy Mulinder says her husband Gerald’s family were very early Farmlands shareholders – starting in 1970 with the East Coast Trading Society. “It’s great for us to have been able to carry on that Farmlands tradition, our shareholder number is in the 800s and we are proud to still have that connection,” Tracy says. The ad features Tracy saddling a horse while saying “or horse feed” and husband Gerald saying “or something stylish to wear” as he slips on a pair of Red Band gumboots. “We really enjoyed it, it was great and something we had never done before,” Tracy says. “When we were first approached, I said, ‘gosh I’m not doing that’. Then our Farmlands Technical Field Officer, Gavin Clements said, ‘come on Trace, you’ve got to do something every day that scares you’,” she explains. “So, I said, ‘ok’ and here we are.”