Reserve Bank of New Zealand Armistice Day Coin

Product Owner: The Reserve Bank of New Zealand 

Describe the project nominated

The Armistice Day Coin is the second in a two-coin series produced by the Reserve Bank to mark the centenary of the end of World War 1. It commemorates the history, service, and sacrifice made by service personnel and their families to bring peace to New Zealand and the world.
The war affected almost every family in New Zealand and, as a young country, was a significant event in the formation of our national identity. We sent over 100,000 young men and 550 nurses – almost 9% of our population at the time. 58,000 became casualties.
The Armistice Day Coin launched with an innovative public awareness campaign which invited people to ‘SPEND IT. KEEP IT. REMEMBER.’ This was designed to reassure people they could use it like a standard 50 cent coin or hold onto it as a keepsake. The campaign also had a strong educational component. As well as providing details about the coin’s design and significance, there was information about the history of World War 1, the significance of the Armistice, and New Zealand’s role.

The Innovation of the Program, Website or App Design and Features

As the target audience was all New Zealanders, a nationwide public awareness campaign with television, newspaper, radio, digital and public space advertising ran in the lead-up to the launch. This culminated in a concentrated effort on 11/11 – exactly 100 years after the signing of the Armistice. A special effort was made to reach young people with online advertising and a free downloadable app for IOS and Android devices. Once the app was activated you could point your device at an Armistice Day Coin (or an image of one) and it ‘came to life’ using augmented reality (AR) technology.
The Reserve Bank also arranged for the coin to be used for the coin toss at international sporting events including the All Blacks vs England on Armistice Day and the Silver Ferns vs Australia. The coin was also packed in the New Zealand Defence Force’s Christmas parcel to service people deployed overseas.

Historical or Local Content

The campaign needed to inform people about the coin, and educate them about the history of WW1 and New Zealand’s role. So on the day of launch New Zealand’s major newspapers were wrapped in a full cover image of the coin. Inside there was a full-page history of WW1, archive photos of New Zealand interest, and details about the coin’s design and symbolism. Plus advertising across all media had QR codes linking to the app.
A key feature of the app was a specially created video. This was painstakingly researched and edited using historic photos from the National Collection – many of which had never been on public display. At every stage, input was sought from the Royal Returned and Services Association (RSA) as well as experts in WW1 and New Zealand history.
The TV commercial was translated into Te Reo Māori and audio advertisements were made available for blind community.

Unique public education

The app was the first ever, anywhere in the world, focused on an individual coin. It played a pivotal role in the education and launch campaign, bringing the features of the coin and the history of World War 1 to life, encouraging people to delve deeper and learn more. It also contemporised the campaign – made it relevant and now, especially for the younger audience who it was so important to involve.
The app’s central function was an augmented reality experience that brought the coin to life. The app tracked an ‘expanded overlay’ onto the live image of the coin showcasing its construction and explaining the design’s significance. It literally added another dimension to the coin allowing people to explore it in an interactive way. There was also a link to donate to the RSA, a specially created video, and links to the Reserve Bank’s website.

Aesthetic Appeal

The focus of the Armistice Day Coin campaign was on the coin itself with an enormous image dominating the space. Behind this was a slide-out showing the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on the reverse. The headline ‘SPEND IT. KEEP IT. REMEMBER’ made it clear the coin was legal tender and could be spent like a standard 50 cent coin or kept as a keepsake. It also captured the reason for the coin – commemoration and remembrance. An emotive image of real red poppies was chosen to complement and highlight the red poppy at the centre of the coin. The TV and web video used sound to great effect. Opening with pounding artillery the guns fell silent just as they did on 11/11, the smoke cleared and revealed the Armistice Day coin.

Feedback from Stakeholders, Including the General Public

“The RNZRSA was engaged in the development of the Armistice Day coin right from the beginning. Given the significance of Armistice Day in both New Zealand and worldwide, it was considered a very worthwhile and valuable project.”
“The final product enabled many stories to be told and was well received by veterans and their families. It’s a real credit to everyone involved and is a coin that New Zealanders can quite rightly be proud of.”

Jack Steer, Chief Executive, RNZRSA

“We were impressed that the RBNZ proactively sought assistance from the Blind Foundation on the shape, size and colour of the coin so people who are blind or have low vision could experience the coin’s unique design. We were also able to share the story with our community before the coins came into circulation so they knew to expect it in their change.”

Chris Orr, Access & Awareness Advisor, RNZFB

Ease of use or navigation

As the audience was all New Zealanders the Armistice Day Coin campaign had to be simple, clear and easy to understand. Posters had a clean, modern look, the TV and video had a considered pace and a simple but emotional concept. Videos were translated into Te Reo Māori and provided with audio subtitles for vision impaired audiences.
QR codes on all advertising made it a snap to get the app which was optimised for fast download and intuitive ease of use. Both Apple and Android versions were created and the app was programmed to work seamlessly – even on older devices. The augmented reality experience was activated simply by pointing your device’s camera at a coin or an image of one from a poster, magazine or press advertisement. If you couldn’t do this, there was an alternative experience built-in to ensure absolutely everybody could lean more about WW1 and the coin.

Promotes the image of the issuer or organization

The Armistice Day Coin campaign reinforced the Reserve Bank’s reputation for innovation and technical knowhow. The coin itself was created using advanced technology, and the campaign paralleled this with forward-thinking elements such as an augmented reality app. The coin reflected the Bank’s commitment to commemorate significant dates and events that impact on New Zealanders and help form our national identity. The Armistice Day Coin once again showed the Reserve Bank does more than maintain a sound financial system. It is relevant, embedded in the community, and huge part of what makes New Zealand the country it is today.

Awards | Coin Awards 2019


Best Circulating Coin Public Education Program


Finalist | Winner