Clemenger BBDO and Steve Ayson encourage young blokes to intervene with a stoner surf comedy, writes LBB’s Laura Swinton
Peer pressure and self-interest. A potent combination. And that’s exactly what Clemenger BBDO Wellington are banking on with their latest New Zealand Transport Authority campaign.
The spot, ‘Dilemmas’, urges men to take responsibility in making sure that their mates don’t drive while under the influence. It’s the latest in the successful ‘Legends’ series of ads and sees a fairly mashed group of blokes ponder what would happen if their very mashed pal dies on the way home. Being altruistic types, they realise that their regular surf trips would be ruined… as none of their other friends are quite so handy when it comes to convincing the surly landowner to let them onto the beach. There’s also a deliberately disjointed stoner comedy vibe that eases the viewer into a slightly spangled state of might.
In this case, the spot targets young men. That’s because, despite the effectiveness of the New Zealand Transport Authority comms and creative from Clemenger, there’s still a lot of progress to be made with that demographic in particular.
Rachel Prince, principal advisor advertising at the NZ Transport Agency says, "Despite significant shifts in drink driving behaviour, there's still work to be done, particularly among young men. We know that getting these guys to intervene-when they likely aren't sober themselves-is a tough challenge."
As Adweek's Doug Zanger points out, the spot might seem to follow some circuitous logic as the pals' decision to protect their friend comes down to their desire for a perfect place to catch waves... but it's rooted in carefully considered insights into the target audience, which as proven a little more resistant to NZTA's efforts than the rest of the Kiwi population.
According to Brigid Alkema, executive creative director, at Clemenger BBDO, the key to the campaign was about shifting the perspective on intervention. Instead of being patronising kill-joys, those that step in are protecting their friendship and making sure that they survive for future adventures and good times. "There's a full mate code in place with these guys. Stopping someone from driving drunk is seen as disrespectful to their manhood. This work aims to re-frame what intervention means from protecting their mate to protecting their unique and irreplaceable mateship."
Indeed, director Steve Ayson was keen to tap into the daft camaraderie that is core to many friendships, undercutting the macho posturing that can go on in male friendship groups. "In real life these guys are constantly trying to out hard-out each other. But at the same time they would do anything for their crew. My approach is an aggressive combination of hard-out idiocy injected with a deep connection between loyal friends."
Dilemmas has launched with TV, cinema and online placements planned.