NZTA goes undercover to spread safety message

New Zealand Transport Agency’s latest campaign aims to reduce young driver fatalities by getting them into safer cars.

The one minute TVC called ‘The Unsell’, by Clemenger BBDO, opens at a car yard. Parents and children walk around the yard looking at different cars when ‘staff’ begin to chat with each group asking normal questions such as who is to own the car, and discussing colour and airbags.

The chat then takes a serious turn with the ‘staff’ telling the potential customers rather graphically about what will happen to the young drivers in a car crash if one does buy a low star safety rating vehicle or if the car they choose doesn’t have side airbags. The ‘staff’ turn out to be crash experts – Lisa, a paramedic and mum, Jacky, a first responder and uncle, Rob, a panel beater and dad. The TVC ends with the line ‘The safer the car, the safer they are’.

The campaign, directed by Florian Habicht of Curious, is supported by crash experts helping parents across social media, and in places where cars are sold around the country and online.

Habicht says it was an honour to be trusted to make a commercial in an unconventional way in order to get real, super authentic performances.

“I’m proud to have made something that could save young drivers’ lives.”

New Zealand’s young drivers are seven times more likely to be in a fatal crash than any other driver.

According to Rachel Prince, principal advisor of advertising at the NZ Transport Agency, this is a “combination of inexperience and the types of cars they’re driving”.

“Despite significant advancements in crash protection, our least experienced drivers are still being put in the least safe vehicles. And they’re dying because of it. Putting teens in dangers is a long-held tradition. Through research, we know that getting parents to put their teens in better cars – when they’re so vulnerable to wrecking them – will be a tough challenge.”

Clemenger BBDO’s creative director, Emily Beautrais, says the work came from the heart-wrenching observation that the parents who attend crashes know to choose safe cars for their own teens.

“Other parents simply don’t have this insight. We allowed them to share it in an unexpected way, at least for our unsuspecting parents.” 


Client: NZ Transport Agency
Agency: Clemenger BBDO
Production Company: Curious Film
Director: Florian Habicht
Media Agency: OMD

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