UPDATE: A creative idea is great. An effective creative idea is brilliant. These results for Colenso’s Kupu app that helps New Zealanders to learn the native Maori language has achieved brilliant results…
In the first two weeks of launch:
- 120,000+ downloads/users
- 2,000,000 translations
- 2,500,000 audio plays
- 6,400,000 earned media reach
- #1 trending app on The App Store and Google Play in the first five days of launch
Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori, or Māori Language Week, is a government-sponsored initiative that encourages New Zealanders to use the Māori language, which is an official language of the country, beside English and New Zealand Sign Language. It’s respectful and practical for people who share a country to be able to communicate in one another’s native tongue. Māori Language Week also helps to preserve the language, which is part of Maori culture, by keeping it in use.
Of course, you can’t use a language you don’t know. So Colenso BBDO and NZ telco, Spark, are helping everyday Kiwis to learn the language in easy bite-sized chunks with an interactive app.
Lisa Paraku, spark business manager – Māori, explained, “Spark wants to get more people engaged and using Te Reo Māori every day. We’d love every New Zealander to have a tool in their pocket to help them learn Te Reo Māori.
“We see the Māori language and culture as special and unique to New Zealand, so we want to play a small role in helping Te Reo Māori to prosper through the use of digital platforms.”
The app, called Kupu, which is powered by Google, shows its users the te reo Māori translations for pictures they take on their phone. Not only does it serve up the most likely translation for the item photographed, it also gives the te reo Māori words for whatever else it detects in the image. And it lets the user input words, meaning the app is constantly learning and iterating.
“Bite-sized language learning that fits our daily habits is the benefit,” notes, Mike Davison, creative director at ColensoBBDO. “But the long-term collaboration with the best technology, Māori language and digital platform experts our country has is what has made this project humbling and memorable.”
Kupu uses Google Cloud Vision and Google Translate API’s, supported by Te Aka Māori Dictionary data.
Dr Dean Mahuta, senior lecturer at AUT and Māori language researcher at Te Ipukarea the National Māori Language Institute was a key advisor on the Kupu project. “There are some amazing resources for learning te reo Māori, including books, websites, apps. However, this is the first learning tool to translate pictures in real-time. It’s an evolution of the resources that are out there.”
“We aim to inspire New Zealanders to explore Te Reo Māori and encourage them to add more Māori words to their everyday vocabularies,” added Tara McKenty, creative director at Google.
Agency: Colenso BBDO
Partners: Te Aka Māori Dictionary Research Team of Te Ipukarea of National Māori Language Institute, and Google
Development: Rush Digital
Sound: Franklin Rd