NZTA new campaign shows how drink driving will always end

The New Zealand Transport Agency and Clemenger BBDO have released a new campaign that stresses the same old story; if you drink and drive you will get snapped. 

Called ‘Totally Compos Mentis’, the campaign shows the different narratives of a few different guys, drinking at standard events we can all relate to. It’s is clever in the way that the situations these men are describing are a tale we’ve heard many times; ‘I’ve just had a few, I’ll be fine, I won’t get caught’.

But, as the NZTA are trying to express, you will be caught. 

Rachel Price, NZTA principle advisor of advertising, says 85 percent of drink drivers involved in serious or fatal crashes are male, who often think they will be the exception to a life or death rule. 

“We needed a fresh way to land a hard truth with these bulletproof-feeling lads: wherever you are, whatever you’re drinking, if you get in your car at the end of it, you’re setting yourself up for failure.”

The eight separate narratives are stitched together to form one cohesive story which shows no matter the situation you start in, it will always end at the breath test. 

Clemenger BBDO’s executive creative director Brigid Alkema says this is only the first iteration of the campaign that is meant to evolve over time. 

“On this one, we traded a Word doc for a spreadsheet to craft eight scripts packed full of interchangeable moments. The films are designed to be infinitely reshuffled, reordered and reworked to keep the message compelling, and the consequences uncomfortable.”

The edits can be reshuffled again and again to form many different narratives that all end with the same advice, that if you drink and drive you will be snapped. 

Steve Ayson, director of production company 3&7, says the story built easily, with move to expand and shift with the characters. 

“There was a freedom in letting loose with dialogue with the goal of being able to chop them up different ways. I wanted the viewer to feel the characters’ progression of drunkenness, so the getting stopped crept in quick…like the feeling when you turn a corner and there’s a checkpoint.”


Client: NZTA                                     
Creative Agency: Clemenger BBDO                 
Director: Steve Ayson                                    
Production Company: 3&7
Media Agency: OMD

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