NZTA encourages drivers to come down before getting behind the wheel

The New Zealand Transport Agency is taking on stoned drivers in a bold new campaign via Clemenger BBDO.

Featuring photographs, by Steven Boniface, of cars that appear to have been dropped from the sky before crashing on the ground, the campaign warns those who are high to “come down before you drive”. The photographs will appear in outdoor posters, targeted print and online.

It’s hoped the campaign will raise attention to the dangers of drug-driving, which research shows New Zealander’s aren’t worried about.

In fact, they see drink driving, speeding and road conditions as much higher concerns. And because drug-driving crashes are rarely reported, there’s a perception that they rarely happen. If they do happen, they’re seen as fender benders.

However, a five-year study in New Zealand found one in four drivers who had crashed and died had cannabis in their system when they crashed.

Principal advisor of the NZ Transport Agency Rachel Prince says cannabis smokers who drive admit they’re sometimes a bit slow to react on the road but it’s just “small harmless stuff”.

“They don’t believe what they’re doing is risky. We needed them to see drug-driving is far more dangerous than they think, and give drivers a clear message of what to do.”

ECD of Clemenger BBDO Wellington Brigid Alkema says this has been achieved by giving the images a surreal feeling.

“Just as in real life, these scenes are perfectly ordinary moments, interrupted by crashes. The slight twist from reality gives the scenes a surreal feeling. Steve’s intriguing and distinctive treatment will see the messages standing out and really drawing viewers in.”

It’s a change of pace from the previous campaign that injected some humour into an otherwise serious message about drug-driving. It showed two friends driving around, apparently after stopping to get some food to satisfy the munchies, and while the driver initially appeared to be in control, he took his eyes off the road for a second and crashed.

Adding the humour was the addition of comedians voicing the thoughts of the stoned driver and his friends.

At the time, Alkema told StopPress [Stoned drivers] know their minds are affected and that’s why when they hop on the road they’re not completely frazzled, so they feel kind of fine to drive.

“But they are affected and they compensate by driving slower and trying hard to be focused. But research told us that before they know it they are thinking about what is in the fridge at home or other things … their mind has wandered.”


Campaign title: High Crashes
Execution titles: City street, Neighbourhood, Countryside
Client: NZ Transport Agency
Agency: Clemenger BBDO Wellington
Photography: Steven Boniface, Match Photographers
Media: OMD

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