NZTA and Clems take the humorous, manly approach to reach young male drivers

It brings a new meaning to the phrase ‘manning up’. And “staying in mantrol” is the new message to try and stop young male drivers from killing themselves and others on New Zealand roads.

The new Clemenger BBDO campaign for the New Zealand Transport Authority and New Zealand Police plays with the idea of “mandom”, a realm where men master manly activities such as gutting a fish, nailing a kick flip or karate chopping through brick. Despite male competence in such areas, the ads point out that car driving is an activity men still need to master because young men (16 – 29 years) account for 59 percent of all speeding drivers in fatal or serious injury crashes. In fact, they were at fault in 79 percent of speed–related crashes last year. It’s not aimed at boy racers who are driving recklessly deliberately, however. It’s aimed at those who have grown comfortable with speed and don’t see any issue with going a little faster than others.

The colourful ads break with the tradition of gruesome road safety images and instead use humour to broach a serious issue, showing  blokes engaged in their favourite manly activities—mattress wrestling, sword fighting, and slot car racing, for example—in separate adjoining rooms in what appears to be a giant manly manhouse.
However, in the darkened basement is a car wreck, demonstrating there’s one manskill men haven’t quite mastered.

New Zealand Transport Authority media manager Andy Knackstedt says unlike the more shocking road safety ads, the “mandom” campaign “draws people in for repeat viewing” because of all the fun and colourful detail. And this is important, he says, because young men are a “tough demographic to reach”.

Knackstedt says to overcome this challenge NZTA and NZ Police decided to use a humour to get people talking.

“A lot of people are talking about it,” says Knackstedt. “Blog posts have popped up and there was column about it in the Dominion Post today.”

He says NZTA is tracking the success of the campaign and it’s “so far so good”.

NZTA advertising manager Rachel Prince says a big part of mastering any skill is knowing your own limits.

“This campaign stresses that part of being a great driver is knowing when to pull back to account for the things you can’t control—the road, the weather and other drivers.”

The TVC, which was directed by Nick Ball from @radical.media, began with two teaser ads on 7 November and were followed by the centrepiece last week. There are also radio, print, billboard and online executions.

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