NZTA tackles speed by thanking drivers who take it slow

New Zealand transport agency and Clemenger BBDO Wellington have kicked off the year with another thought provoking campaign around speed, with the focus this time being on ‘Less Speed, Less Harm’.

Until now, speed messages have focused on the negative impacts of speed, but the new 60-second video has mixed that up by instead highlighting the benefits of a driver’s speed.

Directed by Noah Marshall of The Sweet Shop, it follows the rehabilitation of a driver injured in a crash, while being narrated by the driver of the other car.

The audience learns the injured driver wore the brunt of the impact and had it not have been for both drivers going the speed limit, things would have turned out much worse.

Marsh believes the script will make a difference in a very tough area to change people’s minds. “No one wants to have any part in a fatal car crash, whether it’s your fault or not.”

Clemenger BDDO’s head of social marketing, Linda Major, seconds that, saying while the effectiveness of previous speed campaigns that focus on every kilometre added to your speed can make to the impact of a crash is “inarguable”, this one focuses on the reverse effect.

“Every kilometre less means less impact, less injury, more life, more families kept together,” she says.

“It’s an empowering, positive direction with exciting creative potential. ‘Less Speed, Less Harm’ paves the way to talk about what less harm means, and celebrate more life.”

Principal Advisor at NZTA Rachel Prince adds that research shows most New Zealanders don’t drive over the limit, and support speed enforcement, but unfortunately they’re a quiet majority.

“This strategy offers something of value to that position, something new to add to the conversation when loud and dominant voices are defending ‘their right to speed’,” she says.

And the conversation is as relevant as ever, following the Christmas/New Year road toll of 19, from 15 fatal crashes. The toll in the same period in 2015/2016 saw 12 deaths from 11 fatal crashes.

While previous campaigns, like ‘Numbers’ (also by Clemenger), have targeted speeding drivers to slow down, in 2014 NZTA received praise for its ‘Mistakes’ campaign, by pointing out that anyone can make a mistake (and that speed normally makes those mistakes worse).

Not only was the love for it shared on Twitter, it was honoured by TED by being included in its top 10 ads worth spreading alongside ads from P&G, Adobe, Google, Guinness, IBM, Dove, Virgin America, Honda and Let’s Save Africa.

Despite NZTA and Clemenger pushing different messages around speed, all efforts follow a similarly serious tone, which contrasts the humor used in the past year to tackle other driving issues, such as driving while high and using cell phones.

Last year, executive creative director Brigid Alkema told StopPress: “Humour really helps and tells a relatable story that people will engage with. Humour disarms people and when you laugh along with something you kind of agree and you’re taking in the message. Humour allows us to go through the heart to get to the head and it’s worked for us with all of the drug-driving campaigns.”


Agency: Clemenger BBDO/Proximity 
Media comapny: OMD
Client: New Zealand Transport Agency
Principal Advisor: Rachel Prince
Principal Scientist: Paul Graham
Production Co: The Sweet Shop
Director: Noah Marshall
Executive Producer: Fiona King
Producer: Tony Whyman
DP: Marty Williams
Editor: Tim Mauger
​Colour Grade: Pete Ritchie, Blockhead
Music composition: Liquid Studios
Composer: Peter van der Fluit
Audio Post: Flare

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