Water Safety NZ and ACC unleash the ‘Swim Reaper’ on Instagram

Young males account for a third of all preventable drownings in New Zealand, so it’s only fitting for Water Safety NZ to target this group with water safety messaging.

However, rather than relaying a series of do’s and don’ts to a group that prefers not to be given orders, the government organisation has, in association with ACC, launched an Instagram campaign that gets the message across with a dark twist.

Conceptualised by FCB, the campaign features a cloaked character dubbed the Swim Reaper, “looking to reap some peeps this summer”.

Over the course of a series of posts, the character actively encourages young people to be irresponsible around the water.

Drinking on the beach, chasing dogs in rips and floating on a pink inflatable flamingo all feature as potential activities that New Zealanders could engage in if they would like to face a watery death.

“The Swim Reaper campaign has been a great success,” says Water Safety chief executive Jonty Mills. “It’s raised awareness among young males that there can be fatal consequences for unsafe behaviour in, on or around water, without Water Safety NZ being the ‘fun police’.”

A release accompanying the work also mentions that there has been a 20 percent year-on-year drop in total drownings, as well as zero drownings in the target demographic over the busy summer period.  

However, given that drowning numbers are impacted by a multitude of issues (not least the weather and ocean conditions), it’s worth noting that the campaign alone cannot be credited for this change.   

Credits List:

Regional Executive Creative Director: James Mok
Executive Creative Director: Tony Clewett
Creative Services Director: Jenni Doubleday
Creative: David Shirley
Creative: Melina Fiolitakis
Head of Craft: Nick Smith
Retoucher: Anton Mason
Head of Media – PR, Activation & Social:  Angela Spain
Senior Account Manager – Social: Laura Holyoake
Head of Hive Content Creation:  Lauren Watling
Content Director: Michael Braid
Content Creator: Cameron Wilson
Editor/s: Michael Braid/Cameron Wilson
Photography: Michael Braid
General Manager Wellington: Sean Keaney
Account Director: Katya Frolova
Account Manager: Emilie Watts
Senior Media Planner: Andrew Coulthard
Digital Planner/Buyer: Desita Anggrani
Senior Digital Designer: Warik Blake
Digital Designer/Developer: Carl Ceres
Social Campaign Manager: Lena Aziz
Production Company: FCB New Zealand Hive

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