MANITOWOC, Wis. (WFRV) – John Oliver buys Manitowoc billboard for the New Zealand Bird of the Century contest, saying in his latest episode he needs help from small towns too in order to promote his campaign for the Puteketeke.
The Visit Manitowoc Facebook account made a post highlighting the billboard on the corner of Washington Street and 10th Street.
“We knew Manitowoc was special, but being the only city in America to get one of John Oliver’s “Bird of the Century” billboards is a new one,” read the post. “He’s put ads to raise votes for the bird in metropolises such as Mumbai, Paris, and Tokyo, and “because not everyone lives in big cities,” he put one in Manitowoc.
“We are partial to our gulls here, but we are willing to swing this one towards the Pūteketeke,” continued the post.
During the November 5th episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver on HBO, Oliver announced he would be the campaign manager of the Puteketeke bird, also known as the Australian-crested grebe.
“I don’t just want the Puteketeke to win I want it to win in the biggest landslide in the history of this magnificent competition,” said John Oliver during his show.
Oliver then announced his purchase of the billboard in Manitowoc. The billboard is located on the side of the Golden Ring Music & Folklore shop.
“And finally, just to push us over the top, we also put up this billboard in Manitowoc, Wis. Because hey, not everyone lives in big cities, and if you live in Manitowoc, we need your support, too,” Oliver said.
Courtney Hansen with Visit Manitowoc told Local 5’s Samantha Petters nobody was told the billboard was being put up. Hansen said she got news of the billboard and saw it for the first time Monday morning.
“Yesterday we got into the office and got word that there was a billboard just a few blocks away on Washington Street in Manitowoc, for puteketeke and the Bird of the Century competition,” said Hansen. “It’s fun that Manitowoc is just that beautiful idyllic lakeshore city, that so many imagine when picturing a small town and we also just find our way into pop-culture moments from time to time which I think is just great.”
There are billboards in India, Paris, Tokyo, and other major cities. Hansen said after they posted the photo of the billboard on their social media page, she started noticing comments from New Zealanders and people from all over the world.
“We have people from around the area getting excited but I woke up this morning to comments from New Zealanders taking a stance on what bird they think should win the Bird of the Century competition and it’s been really really fun to have outreach from across the country and across the world,” said Hansen. “And it’s the only billboard that we’ve been able to locate per his marketing strategy for this campaign in all of North America.”