Brake and Y&R engineer some emotional reunions to draw attention to the impact of dangerous driving

The ageing process is an area of fascination for many (as evidenced by a recent Getty Images campaign showing the ravages of time on four celebrities). And Y&R found some success with its last reunion campaign for Land Rover. So in a powerful illustration of the fact that that crashes don’t just cost lives, they can take futures, road safety charity Brake, Y&R NZ and Weta Digital brought some joy to five grieving families by showing what young crash victims would look like if they hadn’t been taken early. 

National Road Safety Week ran from May 4-10 and, in a cruel twist, it concluded with ten road deaths over the final weekend. Added to that, there have been a number of instances of children being hit by cars recently, so the impact of dangerous driving has been clear to see in the media. But to drum home the long-term emotional affects of those deaths, the Living Memories project saw five families volunteer to work with a forensic age progression specialist and the digital artists at Weta Digital to help create an individual portrait.  

Starting with a collection of childhood and family photographs, forensic specialist Kevin Darch created an artistic impression. This image was then supplied to Weta Digital, which digitally sculpted a 3D portrait model of each person, including the fine detail like eyelashes, eyebrows, skin tone and texture. Each portrait was touched by at least eight different artists in various departments at Weta Digital to create the final images.

New Zealand’s highest rating current affairs show, Sunday, also screened a story on the project and it immediately stirred up a reaction on TVNZ Sunday’s Facebook page. It was then picked up by TV One Breakfast, NZ Herald, Stuff.co.nz, NZ Women’s Weekly and more (60 Minutes ran a piece last night on the danger of driveways). 

The project also extended into print, social, online and outdoor media, amplifying the reach and impact of the portraits across the country.

As it says in a release: “On average each week in New Zealand, five families are told the devastating news that someone they love is someone they will never see again. Their families don’t just lose a loved one. They lose everything that person could have become.” And this campaign managed to show that very clearly. 


Client: Brake

Development Director:                                    Caroline Perry

Agency: Y&R NZ

CCO / CEO:                                                Josh Moore

Creative Director:                              Scott Henderson, Seymour Pope

Senior Art Director:                           Lisa Dupre

Head Producer:                                                      Christina Hazard

Account Director:                               Claire Dooney

Account Manager:                              Chelsea Dowling

Senior Media Planner:                    Kylee Davidson-Corrin

Designers:                                               James Wendelborn, Kate Whitley

Executive Digital Producer:         Bruce Murray

Digital Producer:                                 Pat Co

Head of Motion Graphics:             Michael Frogley

National Ideas Director:                                  Jason Wells

General Manager:                              Grant Maxwell

Managing Director – Wgtn            Tim Ellis


Digital production company:      Weta Digital

Editor:                                                         James (Squid) Kelly, Pat O’Sullivan

DOP:                                                             Will Moore


Forensic specialist:                           Kevin Darch

TVNZ:                                                           Joanne Mitchell, Briar McCormack

Researcher:                                            Alison Horwood

Freelance reporter:                          Amanda Miller  

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