GLASWEGIAN-born Darren McMullen, an Australian TV star, is the surprising choice to front a new online advertising campaign by Positively Wellington Tourism.
The 32-year-old host of The Voice admits even he was surprised to get the call. "When it first came through, it was like 'hold on, you want a Scottish guy to do tourism in New Zealand, for Australians?'"
The Wellington tourism bureau says they couldn't have picked a better candidate to front the tongue-in-cheek social media campaign aimed at upwardly mobile younger Australians.
For starters, they had to dispel simple misconceptions Aussies have about our capital city, including how long the flight is.
"It is so quick ... three hours. Can't even bust out a Lord of the Rings movie in that time,'' McMullen jokes on the YouTube video.
The campaign, called "Wellington Has Things", films McMullen amusingly traipsing around the capital plugging the city as a major metropolis within close flying distance.
Positively Wellington Tourism chief executive David Perk says the film was designed to highlight the proximity to major cities in Australia.
"Wellington prides itself on doing things a little differently and we wanted to buck the trend of traditional tourism films by adding a touch of fun," Perk said.
"Darren's sense of humour was a perfect fit - he really got what Wellington is about and we're thrilled with the end result."
Australian TV personality Paul Mercurio is an added bonus. He makes a guest cameo role and a rep for Positively Wellington says it was pure luck getting the two together.
"The Australian High Commissioner alerted us to the fact Paul was in town looking at craft beers for his food show and we thought, how can we incorporate him too?
"Holy Pasodoble, it's Paul Mercurio," McMullen says on the film. "What are you doing here? Shooting another dance movie? ... Strictly Balding?"
he tourism movie, which is expected to be a viral hit, has already won over its supporting star attraction - McMullen.
The 32-year-old, who is dating American actress Crystal Reed, says despite being paid for the job, he has fallen in love with the city and wants to share it with his girlfriend.
"We're going to go back hopefully when she comes over," Darren told Sydney's Daily Telegraph yesterday.
"We are really foodie and coffee snobs, Crystal and I, and Wellington is amazing for that ... when we get a long weekend we'll pop over."