A fine drop: NZTA and Clemenger BBDO want Kiwi blokes to know when to go

Back when I was a young lad, I went to the supermarket with a couple of my older cousins. They kept throwing jars at me. And I, of course, kept catching them. When I tried to retaliate and threw a jar back at them they, of course, moved aside and left it to smash on the ground, leaving me to deal with an angry manager. So you can imagine the painful memories that came flooding back after seeing NZTA and Clemenger BBDO’s latest anti-drink driving ads, which show a good—although slightly wasteful—way for responsible chaps to say no to another beersie from their mates. 

The agency’s work for NZTA has captured plenty of attention in recent years, first with ‘Ghost Chips’ and more recently with its anti drug-driving work ‘Shopkeepers’ and ‘Blazed’. All three executions use humour to communicate a serious message. And instead of pretending drinking and weed smoking don’t happen, it’s acknowledging that it does and then tries to modify that behaviour. It’s followed a similar formula for ‘Know when to go’, a series of eight ten second ads that are aimed at young, provincial men. 

As it says on the NZTA website: “​As a rule we encourage people not to drive after drinking. But the reality is that people often have one or two drinks after work, at a BBQ or after a sports game. Most people accept that you shouldn’t drive after more than a drink or two, and this campaign shows them how easy it is to make the call to leave before they’ve had too much—and influence others to make the same call.”

Here’s the full explanation: 

New Zealand’s Safer Journeys strategy encourages a safe system approach to road safety and aims to make the road transport system more accommodating of people´s mistakes. A safe system also spreads the responsibility of sober driving beyond the drivers themselves. Like our current drink-driving campaigns Legend [Ghost Chips] and Donna Time, this campaign shows that influencing a situation can have a positive effect on others. Legend focused on mates and Donna Time focused on family. This campaign focuses on a person´s wider community of friends, colleagues and regular contacts, all of who are in a position to influence a drinking driver, whether it be in an overt or subtle way.

Our approach

The campaign targets provincial men aged between 20 and 40 years who live, work and socialise together.

Drinks after work or sport are about downtime, unwinding and chilling out. It’s also about catching up with mates. These guys already know that they should only have one or two drinks if they’re driving. But when they’ve had a couple, it’s too easy to go with the flow. If someone gets up to grab another round, they´ll accept a beer without question. No one wants to be the only one in the group not doing something.

But while guys will question a mate if they’re out and out drunk or clearly getting there, they don’t think it’s their place to comment if they’ve only had one or two. This is just a regular night, it’s not meant to be a big one, and consequently no-one questions who’s driving even though a few more beers could put them over the limit. No one wants to be the one to interrupt the natural flow of the night.

For under-20s of course the blood alcohol limit is zero. For everyone else this campaign acknowledges the reality that people often do have one or two drinks after work, or after a sports match. Most people accept that you shouldn’t drive after more than a drink or two, and this campaign shows them how easy it is to make the call to leave, and how easy it is to influence others to make the same call.

Ultimately the campaign aims to get these guys to recognise that a drink or two can easily turn into something more complicated and to know when to go if they’re driving or riding. By influencing others in the group, even subtly, they can be a legend and change the flow of the night.

(Three ads will air in one commercial break. And this campaign follows up from recent work around treating fellow drivers with a bit more respect and not driving distracted.

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