Land Transport New Zealand: Live online texting to warn distracted drivers


Land Transport New Zealand
2nd July 2008

Driver distraction is a growing problem in New Zealand. Each year a staggering number of serious crashes are caused by drivers using their mobile phones behind the wheel. Land Transport New Zealand asked Clemenger BBDO Wellington to develop a campaign to demonstrate to the target audience how a simple thing like texting can have fatal consequences while driving. The challenge however was to not only show people just how dangerous the activity is, but to let them actually experience it for themselves.

The Clemenger BBDO idea was Distracted Drivers an online demonstration allowing viewers of an online ad to text a driver in real time. The banner ad shows a “live webcam” of our driver and encourages the user to send him a text.

Text_Driver_1 The idea was to demonstrate to the target audience how a simple thing like texting can have fatal consequences while driving. The demonstration begins when a user, scrolling through a web page, comes across what looks like a live webcam of a driver.
Text_Driver_2 The headline claims the user can send the driver a text message in real time using a simple code. As this had never been done before we needed to over come technical problems and actually create a way to do it. For this same reason, everyone wanted to try it just to see if it would actually work!
Text_Driver_3 It did. The instant the message is sent, the driver’s phone beeps and lights up. The driver then reaches over and picks up the phone to check the message. Amazingly, the user’s message appears on the screen. We didn’t care what the message was, as only the would see it.
Text_Driver_4 The user is so distracted by seeing their text message appear live on a web page, they don’t realise the driver is drifting across the road. There is a sudden screech of tyres, a horn blares, and an oncoming car smashes into the driver, causing the screen to flash and cut out.
Text_Driver_5 Our ‘Distracted Drivers are Dangerous’ message appears, along with the option to watch the sequence again – where the user can plainly see how obvious the oncoming car is when they’re not distracted by their text message.
Text_Driver_6 Finally, the user receives a text message reminding them how dangerous the phone (now in their hand again) can be if they’re behind the wheel. Both the online ad and follow-up text message encourage the user to share the ‘live text’ experience with a friend.

The first day the campaign received over 170 text messages. Since then thousands more have been sent and the dangers of texting while driving have become a national news issue, surpassing all our expectations. The New Zealand Government has since proposed to ban the use of handheld cell phones while driving, and many companies have forbidden staff to use their cell phones while driving company cars.


Clemenger BBDO Wellington: Distracted Drivers: Show reel


Distracted Drivers



Land Transport New Zealand

Client Contact Name:

Victoria Slade, Andy Knackstead, Paul Graham, Rachel Prince

Agency, City:

Clemenger BBDO, Wellington, New Zealand

Media Agency:

OMD – Alexandra McElroy, Istvan Kiss, Annabelle Gazley

Agency Team:

Lisa Scott, Sarah Jackson, Tammy Keegan, Marc Broad, Jason Martin, Scott Sinclair, Paul Nagy, Linda Reuvecamp, Sean Keaney, Marty Gray

Mobile Technology Partner:

Run the Red, Wellington – David Ritchie, Lorelena Kulatea, Jono Tucker

One thought on “Land Transport New Zealand: Live online texting to warn distracted drivers

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