Bernie, the somewhat disturbingly dubbed mascot of the National Rural Fire Authority, has been reworked into a 2D character for a pair of TVCs that encourage Kiwis to ‘check it’s alright before you light.’
The new catchphrase refers to the ubiquitous meters that let campers, farmers, beachgoers and vacationers know when the conditions make it too dangerous to light a fire.
In the first of the two 30-second spots, the new-look Bernie commends a group of young campers for using an enclosed fire and then goes on to explain what each of the levels on the fire-danger scale mean.
The second spot shifts focus from recreational fires to those made for work purposes. Rather than chastising a wrongdoer, Bernie once again applauds what seems to be a farmer for ensuring that the conditions were safe enough to make fire.
The rotund fire safety mascot has been encouraging Kiwis to ‘keep it green’ for over 16 years, and The National Rural Fire Authority felt it was time for a makeover. And to do this, the authority commissioned the expertise of Running with Scissors.
“It’s not often we get the opportunity to refresh a national icon,” comments Andy Mitchell, Running with Scissors’ managing director. “We loved the challenge to creatively evolving Bernie without losing the existing appeal of his character.”
Rural Fire service officer Muray Dudfield is optimistic that the new version of Bernie will be able to match the longevity of his predecessor.
“Like the Bernie before, the new Bernie will be around for another generation of Kiwi youth, reminding them each summer to be aware of fire risks and to display the appropriate behavior,” he says.
In addition to the two new TVCs, the new campaign will also feature on outdoor billboards and online banners.
Running with Scissors
Creative planner: Lisa Divett
Creative: Guy Denniston
Account director: Emma Wilkinson
Agency producer: Lisa Walker
Production: Flying Start Pictures
Director: Miles Murphy
Producer: Sam McCauley
Post production: Toybox
Soundpost: Ben Sinclair
Rural Fire Service
National Rural Fire Officer: Murray Dudfield
Campaign director: Tony Neilson