New Zealand tells travellers to stop taking ‘influencer’ photos for Instagram

Helen Coffey
·2-min read
Video attacks the much-replicated ‘summit spreadeagle’ (100% Pure New Zealand)
Video attacks the much-replicated ‘summit spreadeagle’ (100% Pure New Zealand)

New Zealand is encouraging travellers to think outside the “Instagram square” and stop trying to replicate photos popularised by influencers on social media.

In a comic new video released by the tourist board, comedian Tom Sainsbury patrols the country’s most picturesque spots on behalf of the Social Observation Squad (SOS) to reprimand those travelling “under the social influence”.

He calls out all the classic tropes – the “hot tub back shot”, “man sits quietly on the rock contemplating”, “hot dog legs” – and apprehends a couple attempting the classic “summit spreadeagle” shot, standing on top of a mountain with arms outstretched.

“Lower those arms nice and slow,” says Sainsbury. “I’ve seen all this before. We all have.”

He later runs through a lavender field but, alas, is too late – the offender has already left, leaving only a fedora in their wake.

“I’ve just had confirmation that one of the lavender loiterers just shared one of the most replicated scenes in all of social media – the ‘follow me’ fedora combination,” he says mournfully.

The message of the video is that travellers should “share something new”, building on New Zealand’s “Do Something New” campaign, launched last year, which aimed to encourage domestic tourism.

Bjoern Spreitzer, GM of Domestic at Tourism New Zealand, said of the new social media campaign: “Firstly, we want to continue the momentum of our domestic campaign by encouraging Kiwis to do something new in New Zealand – this can mean new tourism experiences, but we also want them to share something new on social media as well.

“We noticed that the same pictures or poses kept coming up, time and time again, no matter the location. There are so many incredible things to do in New Zealand, beyond the social trends.

“At the same time, Kiwis are our best travel advocates, so we want to encourage them to engage with us more on social media by using #DoSomethingNewNZ when sharing photos from their domestic holidays.”

New Zealand’s borders are currently closed to almost all travellers in order to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The country could stay shut to international visitors for most of this year, according to prime minister Jacinda Ardern, who warned that travel could only restart safely when a high enough proportion of the population has been vaccinated against Covid-19, or if authorities have assurances that those vaccinated cannot transmit the virus.

However, Ms Ardern added that New Zealand would continue to pursue travel bubbles with Australia and other Pacific nations, but that the rest of the world “poses too great a risk to our health and economy” right now.

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