NZ Transport Agency ad goes viral; pulls over 52m views

Lindsay Bennett
By Lindsay Bennett | 12 April 2016

Last month, NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) launched an ad urging younger drivers to drive phone free. Now, two weeks later, the ad has been viewed more than 52 million times collectively (see breakdown below). 

By Clemenger BBDO, the content piece is set to Lionel Richie’s hit 'Hello' and shows passengers intercepting their driver’s hand as it reaches for the phone.

The ad has had an overwhelmingly positive response, being shared almost a million times from Poland to Hawaii, which Clemenger BBDO executive creative director Brigid Alkema attributes to its honesty.

hello collective views

“Most passengers feel uncomfortable about their drivers using their phones, but they aren’t speaking up,” she says.

“We’ve given them a way to get it across without being judgemental; a tool they can actually use, that’s effective but just the right amount of silly.”

Alkema says thousands, including Kris Jenner, who shared the clip to her nearly five million followers, have tagged drivers saying “I’m going to do this to you”, showing the campaign could have a lasting effect.


The 45-second ad isn’t your typical anti-texting advertisement, moving away from scare tactics and taking a more tongue-in-cheek approach.

Alkema says rather than showing the horrific effects of texting and driving, Clemenger BBDO wanted to tap into the “universal truth of mateship” and educate people that being flippant about their passenger’s safety is uncool.

NZTA has also taken this approach with its recent ad ‘Thoughts’, which showed a stoned driver finding it hard to focus on the road instead concentrating on other topics such as free range chips.

Also unique to the road safety message category, the ‘Hello’ spot didn’t touch TV, instead it ran digital platforms and radio, including Pandora and Spotify. It is the first time NZTA used audio visual content on a campaign.

Alkema says Pandora is a “perfect fit” for the 18-29-years-old audience and the music video style content Clemenger BBDO produces. By watching the ad, users are able to listen to an hour of distraction-free music.

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