Auckland Transport offers ‘happy ending vouchers’ to sober drivers

In a bid to get 25- to 39-year-olds to stay in the zero drinks zone when driving, Auckland Transport has launched a quirky campaign that comes with the promise of a happy ending (and we’re not referring to the Disney interpretation of events here). 

Featuring a special “happy endings voucher”, the campaign is designed to encourage couples to reward each other if they stay drink-free when driving. 

The voucher uses saliva alcohol screening litmus technology that is activated when licked. 

The idea is that the voucher can only be redeemed if the litmus reading doesn’t indicate alcohol.

“The purpose of this campaign is to communicate the key message that sober driving means having zero drinks,” says Auckland Transport spokesperson Mark Hannan.  

“For this campaign we’ve specifically targeted males of around 29 years. We know from our research that 82 percent of this audience are in a relationship and that their partners are the most influential people in their lives.”

Hannan admits that the campaign might provoke ire in some.  

“We are aware that some people may potentially find the ‘happy ending’ tagline offensive because of its double meaning. We are creating a currency for couples to support each other in sober driving and leaving happy ending open to interpretation, as it is what you want it to be.”

If the promotional video is anything to go by, then it’s pretty clear that this ‘currency for couples to support each other’ is most likely to involve sexual rewards.


Featuring scenes like keys entering keyholes, suggestive windscreen squirting and sensual steering wheel tapping, the ad provides a somewhat humorous reinterpretation on what would otherwise just be a casual drive home (this spot has pretty much ruined window-wiping for the team at StopPress).     

The release says the spot “feels more like an alluring and sensual ad for perfume or designer fashion, than the usual shock tactics of anti-drink-driving”.

This change in approach does appear to be something of a trend in moderate drinking ads. A recent example would be FCB’s ‘Not Beersies’ campaign, which shows a Kiwi bloke reaping the rewards of opting for water instead of beer.  

Go the distance with #NotBeersies

Posted by Not Beersies on Saturday, 9 January 2016

Also, earlier today, Heineken released a new global campaign that similarly offers a reward to those who chose to moderate their drinking.

And while Auckland Transport’s spot is different in the sense that it promotes a zero drink policy, it is interesting to see sober living ads veer away from the ‘car smashes into a tree’ approach (it would, however, be nice to see a form of reward that doesn’t involve a human woman).   



JWT Auckland

Cleve Cameron – ECD
Simon Lendrum – Managing Director
Jacqueline Smart – Head of Planning
Peeyoosh Chandra  – Head of Interactive & Social
Tom Davidson – General manager of Media
Sam Dickson – Creative
Mariona Wesselo-Comas – Creative
Lisa Rixon – Group Account Director
Aafreen Mamaji – Business Director and Head of Trading
Darryn Warhaft  – Creative Service Director
Tim Long – Studio Manager
Imogen Cahill – Jnr Creative
Leilani Misikea – Jnr Creative
Tona Torres – Jnr Creative
Siobhan Kelly – Account Manager
Violetta Savage – Account Executive
Nancy Song – Finance and Chinese Translator
Adam Sprachman – Social Media


David Benge – Content and Social Partner

Dobie Blaze

Iain Gordon – Composer

Reload and Smoke

Stephen Langdon – Director

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