NZTA uses awkward intimacy as a tactic to get young drivers’ eyes off their phones and on the road

The New Zealand Transport Agency has launched a new campaign via Clemenger BBDO and OMD dubbed ‘Hello’, which aims to get young drivers to put down their phones and see things from the perspective of their passengers.

Set to Lionel Richie’s hit Hello, the ad sees passengers intercept drivers’ hands as they reach for the phones in a non-verbal request for the driver to put the safety of their passengers first.

Research shows passengers feel uncomfortable when their driver uses a phone, said Clemenger BBDO creative director Emily Beautrais in a release and Clemenger felt ‘Hello’ made the discomfort visible without a heavy, judgmental tone.

Beautrais also said getting young drivers to put their phones down at anytime is a big ask.

“We’re never without our phones; it’s the first thing we look at when we wake up in the morning, and the last thing we look at before we go to sleep. We live in a time where the majority of young people say they ‘can’t function’ without their phones.”

NZTA senior education advisor Adrian Stephenson said because of this, many Kiwis are still using their phones when driving, despite being aware of the risks.

“Research suggests driver distraction is likely to be a factor in 20 to 30 percent of crashes. However, the majority of young people still admit to using their phone for unnecessary tasks when they’re behind the wheel. While lots of overseas campaigns still use shock tactics, we realised we needed to take a different approach with young people if we had any hope of getting their attention.”

The campaign specifically targets drivers in their twenties who constantly use their mobile phones as they have grown up with the technology and most of the time are using it on autopilot.

According to the NZTA, they use it instinctively from when they get up in the morning until they go to sleep at night.

The video content will run on TV, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Vevo, Pandora and Spotify. It will also be supported with radio spots for in-car moments.

The ad is the second NZTA has released in the last month with the aim of changing the behavior of young drivers.

In ‘When you’re not there’, NZTA again avoided the use of shock tactics, instead pleading with parents get tough with their teens and enforce the rules of the restricted licence including not driving with passengers, unless supervised, and only driving between 5am and 10pm.


Executive creative director: Brigid Alkema

Creative director: Emily Beautrais

Creatives: Steve Hansen, Emily Beautrais

Agency producer: Marty Gray, Jen Gasson

Agency sound creative: Mike Gwyther

Group account director: Linda Major

Account director: Bethany Omeri

Account manager: Matt Barnes

Principal scientist (NZTA): Paul Graham

Principal advisor (NZTA): Rachel Prince

Senior education advisor (NZTA): Adrian Stephenson

Managing partner: Matt McNeil (OMD)

Senior account manager: Katy Baker (OMD)

Account manager: Georgia McNaught (OMD)

Director: Ric Cantor

Executive producer: Matt Noonan

Producer: Stu Giles

DOP: Crighton Bone

Editor: Luke Haigh

Sound design: Paul Stent

Music arrangement: Jim Hall, Franklin Rd

Vocals: Age Pryor

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