Nova revives Nova Boy for massive marketing push

Former Editor & Content Director

The Nova Network’s iconic ‘Nova Boy’ character is back, fronting a multimedia campaign from Sunday.

Nova Boy was central to the station’s launch 20 years ago, but hasn’t been used since 2015, when he appeared in some outdoor advertising for the network.

Nova’s Sydney station turned 20 this month, however chief programming and marketing officer, Paul Jackson, told Radio Today the milestone and the character’s revival were simply a coincidence.

Instead, he said, the motivation  of bringing him back to life was around capitalising on Nova’s point of difference in the market.

“So, the discussions in the last 12 months about our marketing going forward – I’m sure it’s like this in many companies in radio and way beyond – is there’s a lot of similar messaging out there, there’s a lot of similar advertising out there…. We just felt like ‘What’s the twist we can put on it? How can we get more of a reaction from people? How do you just cut through the clutter effectively? And what else can we do that’s different?,'” Jackson said.

Simply bringing him back in his previous form, however, wasn’t sufficient.

“We’ve talked extensively and looked at and tried different things with how we would present Nova Boy, and just bringing him back the way he was previously didn’t feel like it was special enough or clever enough.

“So we had the idea of ‘What would it be like animated?’ So we went down that road. It’s a long journey, lots of evolution to get the look and the feel of the character absolutely right. There’s so many working parts to that, and then making the actual commercial itself.

“So, it was something we wanted to do for a while, and this is the point where we were ready to launch it and to do it.”

Nova anticipates it will get a “huge, emotive reaction from the audience”, with Jackson noting the immense brand love and loyalty associated with the character.

“We did some research on him and there was zero negative sentiment about him at all. People either loved him or liked him,” Jackson explained.

Even for those newer or younger listeners, who may not recall (or have even been alive) during Nova Boy’s seminal years, Jackson believes there will be affection and talkability around the character.

“We’ve always got to ask ourselves ‘What do we want our listeners to think, to feel, and to want when they hear the name ‘Nova’, when the see the Nova Boy character?’… In a perfect world you just want to have that chemical reaction in someone’s brain, when they see Nova Boy – sparks go off, it makes them feel good, effectively, it kind of lifts the spirit, you get a buzz from it as well. It’s warm, it’s friendly, it’s engaging. And we’ve worked hard over the years for Nova to be very trusted and authentic and a real brand, and… Nova’s all about good times and making your day brighter,” he says of his hopes for audience responses to the campaign.

The Sydney TVC (post continues below video) 

“The concept [is] that everyone’s got a Nova Boy following them around all day making them feel better. That’s why we came in with ‘Turn up the feel good’… brand positioning message around Christmas time. We ran it through the first part of this year, just to bed that in coming into this ad now.”

The campaign kicks off from Sunday across TV, BVOD (broadcast video on demand), online video, cinema and out-of-home, with different executions for each market and program.

This rollout, however, is just the beginning of Nova Boy’s revival, Jackson said.

“It’s just fantastic for us to actually be able to leverage this character, and because he’s 3D and animated, there’s so much we can do with it,” he told Radio Today. 

“This is just the beginning, launching this ad with him and this outdoor marketing. There’s so many places and things we can do with him, with integration with clients and across our radio stations as well. So, the very first thought we had was just getting to this point today and where we can then evolve with it going forward.”

The campaign was created by NOVA Entertainment and Red Engine, with Carat acting as the media agency. It is backed by Joel Corry’s smash hit ‘Head & Heart’.

The Melbourne TVC

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Recent comments (28)
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Mason Tucker
16 Apr 2021 - 9:16 am

So cute Brilliant execution Nova!
That TVC is incredible.

16 Apr 2021 - 9:42 am

Well done to Troy Pearce & the team!

16 Apr 2021 - 10:05 am
16 Apr 2021 - 10:17 am

In the Sydney ad, Tim mumbles something we can’t hear and Kate cracks up laughing.

Some program directors think lots of giggling about nothing is good content.

Mick C
16 Apr 2021 - 12:10 pm

I doubt it will work rehashing something old.

The house of the “M’s” tried it years ago with their Dr Dan theme and with Slash on the guitar.

16 Apr 2021 - 12:11 pm

This is the third radio station globally that uses Turn up the feel good slogan. Check the UK and NZ markets for the previous two. Not sure how this is a pony not difference when it’s simply copying other stations strategies. But the UK seems to be the incubator for Idea’s at Nova.

Also it feels like it’s targeted to teens. Nova grew up for a while there. Now it’s back to the unreliable teen market.

16 Apr 2021 - 12:14 pm

Does anyone know what Tim says in the Sydney ad that is supposed to be so hilarious?

16 Apr 2021 - 12:41 pm

I’m no marketing expert but don’t you need a point of difference to market yourselves as having a point of difference? What’s changed other than the strap line and bringing back an old part of the logo. At least at launch Nova was actually different. Now it sounds like one of a hundred other radio stations.

Also can someone translate some of the marketing quotes in this article?

Jason G
16 Apr 2021 - 12:43 pm

They should bring back the marketing team

16 Apr 2021 - 1:51 pm

Paul Jackson seems pretty chuffed he just discovered 3D Animation.

I think someone feed the nova boy after midnight, the little bastard multiplied throughout this spot…

16 Apr 2021 - 3:03 pm

I still miss the OG Nova boy. The original and the best.

16 Apr 2021 - 3:49 pm

“Turn up the feel good” doesn’t sound like a hit music station, which I thought Nova was. Reminds me of the old Mix stations. Heart in the UK, which uses this exact line, is an AC station. Is Nova repositioning itself slightly older, away from Kiis?

Roger Ebert
16 Apr 2021 - 3:50 pm

What a contrived piece of tosh.
Complete with stereotype listener dancing badly in an office. (No masks.)
Another slogan that means nothing.
Poorly executed.
Off brand and Vom worthy attempt at marketing.

16 Apr 2021 - 4:27 pm

“I rate it amongst the best radio ads we have ever done.”

Who says that?

Craig Bruce
16 Apr 2021 - 4:35 pm


@Gillian. Good pick up. Where’s the originality. Using a previous logo and copying a well used line and concept.

1. Heart 2018

2. Magic 2019

Negative Neil
16 Apr 2021 - 7:08 pm

@casanova….love the 11 year old clip by Nikki Webster you posted, not much has really changed….feel good line is being used everywhere at the moment….unfortunately I am a pessimistic person who loves feeling ordinary

Feel gooder
16 Apr 2021 - 9:15 pm

We want to stand out in the market … so smoothfm is “feel good”… and Nova is “turn up the feel good”. Both NE – Why so similar?

Great to see Novaboy back. He should’ve never left. Best TVC since the rebrand.

Now bring back never more than 2 ads in a row and back to back blink182!

16 Apr 2021 - 10:00 pm

Just don’t understand why Nova can’t pay a couple of local announcers in Brisbane and Adelaide to present local shifts other than breakfast!?!? The “it’s great out there people” isn’t real when it’s a pre recorded piece when other SCA stations have their B team announcers live even on weekends. Why?

17 Apr 2021 - 7:54 am


Why do we have to gender them?


17 Apr 2021 - 8:22 pm

Classic Jackson…. sorry Parks.
Looks like a heart ad circa 1998.
Tum up the cheese…

Younger Aussie Media Buyer
19 Apr 2021 - 10:03 am

Cash comps, copied strap lines, repetitive cheesy pop music, bad jingles, more ads than content, cliched meaningless interview messaging.

No style or substance remains. It’s what happens when over 50’s from overseas who’ve been in the industry forever think they know what younger Australians want.

It should be an ad for Spotify

19 Apr 2021 - 10:26 am

Where’s the marketing strategy in this?Who’s running the show in there?
If radio and nova want to remain relevant they’re going to need to do something that delivers a reason for people to listen versus new on demand audio options.
Even the presenters look embarrassed.

Time for change
19 Apr 2021 - 1:14 pm


The smartest comment made. A little rehashed character isn’t going to do anything when there is such a major competitive threat from on demand audio. Look at the FTA tv industry versus the streamers.

And anyone that says radio is in great shape, hasn’t looked at the TSL numbers. Ouch

If this is what Nova think is going to move the dial then they need a seriously smart and experienced marketing head that knows what they’re doing to develop a strategy against the new threat. Not against the obvious radio competitors.

An old, out of touch programmer is out of his league

19 Apr 2021 - 1:18 pm

Dancing in an ad for a radio station doesn’t appear to be network specific…

Oh, and for those wondering what Tim says in response to Kate saying “he doesn’t have any pants on”, he asks “is that a thing?” and Joel says (at the same time) “we don’t either”. Cue *laughter*

PR Queen
19 Apr 2021 - 3:57 pm

Nova needs a different spokesperson.

19 Apr 2021 - 8:11 pm

Is bringing back Nova Boy the point of difference that Paul is talking about? Or is the ongoing use of brand campaigns originally created for his chums at Global UK the point of difference?

Where is that ‘sounds different’ originality that Nova was known for? Sadly, long gone.

Jim, Sydney
20 Apr 2021 - 10:52 pm

Turn Up the Feel Good Nova or you can just listen to Smooth Your Feel Good Station or Get That Feeling with 2Day FM.

They’ve gone back to their twenty year old mascot, stolen 2Days tagline and their campaign features a song that was released in July last year and they’ve been flogging to death for ten months. Nothing is fresh about Nova any more.

21 Apr 2021 - 7:40 pm

A rip off of Heart uk.


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