8 Drunken Stories All End the Same Way in New Zealand's New PSAs

Clemenger BBDO puts men on notice

Is your idea of a good time getting stopped by the cops and hauled off for driving under the influence? 

If so, you might find Clemenger BBDO's latest PSAs for NZ Transport Agency a real hoot—for all the wrong reasons. Otherwise, they'll serve as ironic cautionary tales about drinking and driving. 

The client-agency team previously collaborated on road-safety campaigns including this year's takes on distracted driving and seat belts, and classics such as "Mistakes" from 2014. Now, the pair employ a deceptively light touch to tackle a serious subject, targeting men, who account for 85 percent of serious and fatal drunk-driving crashes in New Zealand. 

"We needed a fresh way to land a hard truth with these lads: wherever you are, whatever you're drinking, if you get in your car at the end of it, you're setting yourself up for failure," says NZ Transport principal advertising advisor Rachel Prince. 

We meet eight such "lads" in the minute-long film below. Each believes he's "Totally Compos Mentis," which is the campaign's overarching theme. Since they've been imbibing under various circumstances, these doofuses clearly aren't "totally" in control of their faculties. 

There are lots of quick cuts, and the guys speak snippets of dialogue that fuse into a single narrative. They all end up the same way…

…failing sobriety tests and heading off to jail.

Each delinquent dude takes a solo turn in the spotlight in these :15s.

Over time, Clemenger plans to re-edit bits from the :15s to create new :60s that tell entirely different stories (with the same ending, of course). 

"We wanted to tap into the deception guys all over New Zealand were telling themselves—other people might get busted, but they won't," says Clemenger executive creative director Brigid Alkema. "No one likes spinning a yarn to their mates more than a guy with a beer in his hand, so we tapped into the idea of multiple guys spinning multiple versions of the same yarn, and stitching these together into one narrative, told over and over." 

She adds: "Our audience are the guys you see onscreen in the spots: New Zealand males who love a good time, love drinking with their mates, and more often than not end up hopping in their car afterwards and heading home. They're not the guys at the super-messy end of the [drinking] spectrum, but rather the calculated risk-takers. They know they're over the limit, but think they'll be fine taking their chances and driving home." 
 
3&7's Steve Ayson, who has directed quirky efforts for Old Spice, Duracell and Samsung, turns in a fine effort here, maintaining a snappy pace and goofy tone … until John Law clamps down at the end. "I wanted the viewer to feel the characters' progression of drunkenness, so the getting stopped crept in quick, like the feeling when you turn a corner and there's a checkpoint," he says.

Alkema recalls the creative process as "pretty fluid" in terms of refining concepts and fine-tuning the scenarios. "With eight scripts full of laddy banter that were going to be chopped up and messed with, the whole team got the chance to inject plenty of inside jokes and real-life stories into the scripts, even while we were shooting," she says. "The urinal-cake nugget is based on a real-life story from one of our creatives. I won't say who."

CREDITS

Client: NZ Transport Agency
Principal Advisor: Rachel Prince 
Principal Scientist: Paul Graham 
NZ Police Senior Communications Advisor: Penelope Forrest

Agency: Clemenger BBDO
ECD: Brigid Alkema
Senior Art Director: Frances Cooke
Senior Copywriter: JP Twaalfhoven
Intermediate Copywriter: Kiah Nicholas
Intermediate Art Director: Kat Tadaki
Head of Content: Christina Hazard
Sound Design: Paul Stent 
Managing Partner: Linda Major
Strategy Director: Bethany Omeri
Strategist: Charlotte Greally
Business Lead: Mia Tracey
Project Director: Joel Walden

Media Agency: OMD
Media Strategy Director: Jake Firman
Trading Director: Hilary Yiasoumi

Production company: 3&7
Director: Steve Ayson
Producer: Larisa Tiffin
DOP: Marty Williams
Production Designer: Guy Treadgold
Editor: Jo Scott @ARC Edit  
Grade: Trish Cahill
Music and Sound Production: Cam Ballantyne @ Beatworms
Post Production: Blockhead

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David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio is senior editor at Clio Awards.