Waka Kotahi introduces Mixed Driving to Aotearoa via Clemenger BBDO and The Glue Society

Three-quarters of New Zealand drivers who die in drug-related crashes don’t have just one substance in their system. They have a combination. Often prescription medication is one of them.

These drivers are Mixed Driving: a state of impairment the New Zealand public is being introduced to. 

“Drink Driving; Drug Driving – most New Zealanders are familiar with these different types of impairment in isolation,” says Nicola Gates, Waka Kotahi Senior Marketing Advisor.

“Mixed Driving sets out to make known the potential harm of combining substances and driving, too. Establishing the dangers of Mixed Driving supports the Government’s Road to Zero strategy, with the goal to reach zero road-related deaths by 2050.” 

Waka Kotahi Director of Land Transport, Kane Patena, adds: “Research shows there is a significant increase in crash risk for drivers taking a combination of substances. Combining substances can multiply their effects and reduce coordination, blur vision, cause nausea, and impede reaction times – all of which significantly reduces your ability to drive safely.” 

Mixed Driving kicks off with an unsettling line of Mixed Medications: a range of mixed substances representative of the mixes that have caused fatalities on Aotearoa roads. To help unpack the dangers and effects of these mixes on drivers, Waka Kotahi have engaged New Zealand’s medical community to become the unique voice of the campaign. Medical experts and Emergency Responders are first to unveil the Mixed Meds, unboxing them live on camera; medical influencers will be sharing their insights over social; and, crucially, the campaign is designed to spark more conversations between healthcare professionals and patients. 

Brigid Alkema, CCO of Clemenger BBDO, says there’s no proof more powerful than the voice of this trusted industry.

“The medical profession is uniquely positioned to become the voice of Mixed Driving. They already have knowledge of the harm it can cause. We’re giving them license to share their personal insight with the public, to help protect them on the road.” 

The Mixed Meds were designed in collaboration with directing collective The Glue Society and props makers Human Dynamo.

On creating the twisted range, Director & Product Designer Pete Baker says: “It was a deliberate decision to design the products to feel like they could legitimately exist in the real world – but by bringing together familiar yet sinister combinations it creates a sense of unease. Each product has its own design theory – from a ‘car crash’ of fused pills to a pill container-inspired bong – which helps to provoke a conversation around what it means to drive on Mixed Meds.” 

Mixed Driving will hit people in the moments most relevant. Outside pharmacies. Inside doctors’ waiting rooms. Shared by medical influencers. On their feeds, people are led to the @MixedDriving cabinet on Instagram, where they can explore each mix in-depth, and unpack why they can cause harm while driving. 

The campaign comes as the Government has unveiled the 25 most common drugs Police will be roadside testing for from 2023 – including many common prescription medications. 

Experts have already become advocates for the issue. From Dr. Helen Poulsen, a Toxicologist featured in the campaign: “I’ve been reading crash reports for many years now, and it’s quite scary what people are using before they get in a car and drive. Mixed Driving is not something most people would be aware of, and it needs to be talked about more.” 

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