Police question the morals of passers-by with viral recruitment campaign

The New Zealand Police have launched a new recruitment campaign in the hopes of attracting empathetic people to the force. Using a social experiment, police and Ogilvy & Mather asked Kiwis if they would walk past someone in need or stop and help. However, it’s not just questions of morality being raised, some viewers were also wary of the campaign’s tactics.

A series of five videos featuring real-life scenarios have been captured, each exploring issues police officers deal with on a daily basis including alcohol-related incidents, mental health, at risk youth and safety on our roads.

So far two videos have sparked debate on social media including a young boy posing as homeless by feeding out of bins, and a man collapsing on a sidewalk. Both scenarios were filmed on main roads in Auckland and demonstrate dozens of pedestrians walking past without stopping to offer help.

Hungry boy – Do you Care Enough to be a Cop?

What would you do?#icareenough

Posted by NZ Police Recruitment on Sunday, March 20, 2016

Collapsed man – “Do you care enough to be a cop?”

What would you do?#icareenough

Posted by NZ Police Recruitment on Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Those who do stop to help are the type of people the New Zealand Police hope to recruit, according to a release.

New Zealand Police deputy chief executive public affairs Karen Jones said the approach links strongly to the police value of empathy.

“It helps us tell a compelling story about the special type of person who chooses to be a police officer. And at the same time reach out to like-minded people in the community to join us.”

Hungry boy – heroes

35 mins of filming, around 500 people had a chance to see the hungry boy and only a few people helped. In the original video we focused on one incredible group who cared. Now it’s time to acknowledge a few others who did the same. #icareenough

Posted by NZ Police Recruitment on Tuesday, March 22, 2016

To create the story, executive creative director Regan Grafton was inspired by an incident that occurred 10 years ago.

“An elderly man was beaten and left lying unconscious on the pavement in an inner city carpark however, this wasn’t the disturbing part of the story. The disturbing part was that it took three days before someone cared enough to check to see if he was okay. That story upset me because I couldn’t believe this could happen in our country.”

With this in mind, he said the campaign was designed to do two things: attract the right kind of people to the New Zealand Police and, hopefully, remind everyone of the importance of a sense of community and caring for each other.

Since its launch on 21 March, the campaign has reached more than three million Facebook feeds, received more than 800,000 views, more than 30,000 likes, shares and comments in New Zealand and as far afield as Spain, China, USA, UK and Ireland.

Throughout the comments, the New Zealand Police were asked how the experiment was conducted, with people concerned that the boy was in fact homeless and made to eat food from the rubbish.

Lots of people have been asking questions about the video we released yesterday. Here’s some quick facts…1 = The boy…

Posted by NZ Police Recruitment on Monday, March 21, 2016

And despite the majority of comments expressing heartbreak, disgust and anger toward those who did not stop, some opted instead to question whether or not the use of a Caucasian boy placed on the main road in Newmarket is an accurate representation of poverty in New Zealand.

The police hope to attract 400 new recruits and the campaign is aimed at 18 to 29-year-olds, in particular Maori, Pasifika, Chinese, Indian, Latin American, African and Middle Eastern people to better represent the diversity of Kiwi communities, according to a release. Attracting more female recruits was also an objective.


Executive creative director: Regan Grafton

Creative group head: Darran Wong Kam

Senior writer: Paul Hankinson

Junior creatives: Kieran Beck, Matthew Knight

Planning director: Ben Fielding

General manager: Christina Mossaidis

Account manager: Joel Walden

Media director: Denelle Joyce

Social strategist: Mike Adly

Senior designer: Danny Carlsen

Chief digital officer: Paul Pritchard

Digital producer: Janine Johnston

Creative technologist: Ajay Murthy

Studio: Dave Preece

BTS filming and retouching: Jamie Wright

TV producer: Kate Rhodes

Film production company: [email protected] and Made

Director: Oliver Maisey

Producer: Phil Liefting

DOP: Simon Temple

Editor: Gonzalo Deza, Gary Sims

Post supervision: Martin Spencer

Colour grader: Ben Marshall

Music composition: Liquid Studios 

Ethnic consultants: Michael Jones and Jade Te Uri Karaka​

Client: NZ Police 

Product: NZ Police Recruitment

Deputy chief executive public affairs: Karen Jones

Head of brand and engagement: James Whitaker

Senior marketing advisor: Chandrika Kumaran

Senior digital producer: Linda Krug

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