Rhys Darby's "giant logo" ad for 2degrees became a Kiwi classic.

That effort helped found the telco, more than 10 years ago, when it only offered mobile service.

Now 2degrees has called on Darby's services one more - this time to drive home the message that it now offers broadband, too.

The telco entered the landline market when it bought Snap Internet for $28 million in 2015.


But apparently middle NZ missed that development. 2degrees brand chief Ben Wheeler cites a survey saying two out of three Kiwis don't know his company offers broadband.

The new TVC features Darby trying to make sense of that figure - or at least "scents" of it, with a scented candle.

In real life, 2degrees has gained momentum in broadband recently, but still has lots of room for market share improvement.

Accounts filed by its American parent, Toronto-listed Trilogy International Partners, show that after a slow start 2degrees' fixed-line business has pepped up over the past three years.

The telco had 32,000 fixed customers in 2018, 87,000 in 2019 and 115,000 as of the first quarter of 2020 (the company's calendar and financial years coincide).

That puts 2degrees neck-and-neck with Trustpower for fifth-place in fixed broadband in NZ, behind Orcon and Slingshot owner Vocus (225,000), Vodafone (just over 400,000) and Spark (just under 700,000).

Delayed screening

Darby was tempted back to New Zealand for the shoot, which took place in February, Wheeler says.

The ad was originally due to screen in March. But just days before it was due to go live, the country went into level 4 lockdown.


2degrees and its peer closed their retail stores. The sole focus switched to various measures, such as unlimited data for all and suspending terminations, to keep people connected.

Darby has been in a string of Hollywood films since he last fronted for 2degrees, including the recent Jumanji: The Next Level, presumably pushing up his price. Wheeler wouldn't comment on that front.

Wheeler - who worked with incumbent agency TBWA on the campaign - said the "scents" theme was developed first, then Darby was seen as the natural to pitch it.