M&C Saatchi stays on the guilt-trip tip with powerful fire follow-up

  • Advertising
  • January 18, 2013
  • StopPress Team
M&C Saatchi stays on the guilt-trip tip with powerful fire follow-up

Last year, M&C Saatchi and The New Zealand Fire Service decided to play the guilt card for the first time with an ad depicting the pain a father felt for having allowed his young daughter to be burnt in a house fire because he hadn’t installed smoke alarms. And, in a hard-to-watch continuation of the 'Could you live with yourself?' idea, it's released a new campaign to show that "a house fire can harm you, long after it's out."


The new TVC, Nightmares, was shot by Glendyn Ivin from Exit Films and shows the same character reliving the tragic events of the fire before realising it's his imagination and then breaking down upon seeing his scarred daughter. 

"Last year’s ‘Install’ commercial had a sensational response, not only in terms of feedback from our staff and the public, but also in terms of a massive increase in smoke alarm sales," says NZ Fire Service's Caroline Rosanowski. "We definitely wanted to continue with these characters and continue the story, hopefully achieving even greater success." 

Dave King, M&C Saatchi joint chief executive and executive creative director added: “I’m incredibly proud of the work we have done for Fire. Probably none more so than the ‘Install’ body of work last year. Being able to get a brilliant young team like Wicky [Tafau] and Frances [Cooke] to help take this even further and deliver such an impactful piece of work is really satisfying. I hope it continues to get heaps of Kiwis not only thinking about smoke alarms, but actually installing them. Huge ups to Scott, Caroline and Debbie at Fire for seeing these through, and Glendyn and Susie of Exit for the incredible work they once again delivered.”

When the campaign launched last year, Scott Sargentina, corporate communications manager for the Fire Service, said it hadn't played the guilt card before but it intuitively knew that focusing on the fact that your loved ones could be harmed and left with long-lasting consequences rather than focusing on the fact that a house fire could kill you would be a powerful motivating factor in changing behaviour (according to Research International, the fear of your child having terrible scars as a result of your inaction was the most motivating reason to install or check alarms). 

The reason for this approach was that a large number of Kiwis believed 'fires' happened to other people and death from a fire is improbable. But living with the consequences of fire in the form of scarring was seen as far more probable, more believable and far more compelling. 

There are three more ads in the series due to appear over the next 14 months, with the next launching in early February. 


Client: New Zealand Fire Service

Agency: M&C Saatchi New Zealand

Client Partners: Debbie Gee, Caroline Rosanowski, Scott Sargentina

Creatives: Dave King, Wicky Tafau, Frances Cooke

Account Management: Lou Devine, Christina Mossaidis

Agency Producer: Jodie Hari

Production Company: Exit Films 

Director: Glendyn Ivin

Producer: Susie Cole

DoP: Ari Wegner 

Makeup FX: Andrew Beatie

Offline Editor: Cushla Dillon

Online Editor: Leoni Willis

Music: Stephen Rae, Sydney

Sound Design: Shane Taipari, Franklin Road Audio

Photographer: Stephen Langdon, Reload

Middlemore Burns consultant: Debbie Murray

Media: Julie-Ann Hedges

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  • Advertising
  • February 22, 2019
  • Caitlin Salter
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