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NZ anti-mobile phone ad could be the best we’ve seen

By Anna Kantilaftas, 31 Mar 2016 Car Opinions

NZ Transport anti-mobile phone ad could be the best we’ve seen

NZ Transport has taken a break from shock tactics to bring us a perfectly odd road safety campaign.

A road safety campaign by New Zealand Transport Authority has gone viral for its unique approach to preventing drivers using their mobile phones whilst driving. No shock tactics, no judgement, just pure, hilarious awkwardness.

While shocking, heart-wrenching ads have been the mainstay of advertising campaigns for some time, the NZTA has teamed with Clemenger BBDO to create an oddball advertisement that’s already getting people’s attention.

With Lionel Ritchie singing Hello in the background, the ad features a series of drivers and their passengers from a windshield view. As the driver reaches down in response to a mobile phone’s alert, the passenger slides a palm-up hand across to cover the phone. The result is a comedic and uncomfortable hand-holding situation, playing perfectly into the palms of the advertisement’s tagline, “Put me first. Drive phone free.”

In Australia, using a phone while driving has overtaken people not wearing seatbelts as a major cause of fatal car accidents, and is up there with speeding and drink-driving. Simply touching a phone can result in hefty fines and demerit points. So maybe a hand-holding exercise makes more sense.

According to an adviser for NZTA Senior Education, Adrian Stephenson, "Research suggests driver distraction is likely to be a factor in 20-30 percent of crashes. However, the majority of young people still admit to using their phone for unnecessary tasks when they're behind the wheel.

New Zealand Transport Commission commercial

"While lots of overseas campaigns still use shock tactics, we realized we needed to take a different approach with young people if we had any hope of getting their attention."

As you’d expect, it hasn’t come without resistance with some saying the ad plays on subtle cues of homophobia. But controversies aside, the ad sends the message loud and clear – it’s not only your life you’re risking when you choose to text and drive.

What do you think of the ad?