M&C Saatchi gets personal with a double-dose of emergency services campaigns

If you’re called Paul, Nicola or Marama then congratulations, M&C Saatchi has selected your name for use in its latest campaign for the NZ Fire Service. You might feel justifiably chuffed at your selection, but actually, the randomly selected names are all part of clever personal print campaign created to drive home a serious message about the random nature of fires.

Reading almost like personalised letters, the ads engage with readers through a series of questions and statistical odds, rounded off with a nudge towards taking smoke alarm-installing action.

The ads are both interactive and blunt in their approach:

Nicola: That’s just spooky. Your name coming up like that…What are the odds?…Truth is Nicola, no-one ever expects their name to come up. Just like no one expects their number to come up. That’s why people die in house fires…”

And, as in the case of the Paul advert, nothing quite drives the point home like a bit of death-speak:

“Paul…what are the odds of dying in a fire tonight? You never leave the stove on…You probably think the chances of burning to death tonight are reasonably low. But then what were the odds that out of all the names in all the world, we would end up choosing yours?…”

Commenting on the campaign, which will be disseminated via adshel, newspaper and magazine media, M&C Saatchi say:

“Fire strikes randomly. No-one ever expects it. So we designed our ads to do the same. Each one ‘struck’ a single person. Paul. Or Nicola. Or Marama. Then we explained the chances of a fire occurring tonight were higher than the chances of their name coming up on the ad. So if one happened, and the chance of the other happening is more likely, they’d better install a smoke alarm. Pronto.”




















But while the Fire Service campaign is in full swing in New Zealand, M&C Saatchi has been fielding interest from further abroad for another campaign it recently completed — this time to help drive  New Zealand police recruitment.

The campaign features street art by artist Otis Frizzell, who has taken spray paint to stencil to capture moments from real-life New Zealand police stories. Urban walls in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch have all received the stencil treatment.

The Christchurch site pays particular homage to the February earthquake and is located within a kilometer of the collapsed CTV building site. The stencil utilises existing concrete drip-marks to illustrate the tears of Constable Nao Yoshimizu who laid flowers on behalf of the families and stayed with them as they came to terms with their grief.







Wellington’s stencil treatment exists just outside of Cuba Mall. It depicts Detective Kylie Schaare standing protectively over a small child. At night, a menacing shadow hovers over the scene.








On the corner of K’ Road and Day streets in Auckland, a chase scene was created. This depicted the story of two female police officers, Constable Julia Vahry and Constable Madeline Roberts. The police officers are executing a perfect pincer move as the perpetrator runs into their well-laid trap.








Not everyone took to the stencil art too kindly however. Within a week of being unveiled in July, both faces of the officers in the Auckland stencil were tagged over with orange paint depicting the letters ACAB.

But that hasn’t stopped the campaign receiving interest from abroad. M&C Saatchi chief executive Darryn Melrose says leading German news website Spiegel Online has requested imagery of the campaign and a Swedish journalist has also showed interest.


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