Badly thought through. Terribly executed. A shambles of misguided intent that misses the point by miles and, more than likely, further fuels apathy to drinking and driving.
Advertising a social responsibility message such as driving drunk is a fairly tricky thing. In this instance you're asking for more than a behaviour change, you're asking people to change their entire outlook on life, the universe, and everything else, based purely on the premise that you offer a better alternative. Consider this: it may only take a few seconds to roll on a condom but it takes far longer to get across the idea of using the condom in the first place. One look at the number of billboards on K-Road reminding homosexual males to use condoms is a clear example (which begs another question: why are those condom billboards only targeting the gay population of Auckland? Seems heterophobic). When advertising social responsibility you need to create understanding of why the proposed new way of thinking is far better than the current status quo, and you need to explain it to a majority of people set in their ways. This is where NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) have absolutely failed.
The premise of NZTA's newest "Legend" television commercial is simple: make the responsible decision and don't drink and drive. NZTA's rationale of the ad is that their target market (rural based males, aged 20 - 29) feel complacent to the dangers of driving drunk and are wiling to chance it because the odds of something untoward happening are incredibly remote. The NZTA says that these rural boys drink a lot because it's "commonplace, habitual and acceptable". Since there's no Uber in the middle of the rural wonderland they live in, they need their cars to get around. "Ultimately we want these young guys to stop getting behind the wheel drunk, where they can harm themselves and others."
Sounds great but it's at this point where the NZTA's newest execution implodes.
Everything that the NZTA's new "Legend" does in the advertisement is a complete mockery of safety and responsibility. The lifestyle that he is seen reflecting on during the advertisement is grossly self-serving, fuelled by a callous disregard for self-preservation, and packed full of a terrible type of loneliness and boredom that can only be broken using excessive effort. Add to this ample lashings of immense barbarity, temptation, and lust, and you've got a classic caricature of someone who doesn't give a damn. It's also a clearly logical conclusion, based on the NZTA's rationale, that everything we see their "Legend" reminiscing on was done while under the influence of alcohol. There are even scenes in the advert where alcohol is clearly featured. Which leads me to this conclusion: the NZTA only cares about alcohol when related to driving but not when it's related to the other rural activities their "Legend" partakes in.
Based on his behaviour, their "Legend" is highly unlikely to stop drinking and driving. His entire life is a stereotypical middle finger to common sense. Would rural males in NZTA's demographic be positively influenced by this commercial, or would they merely increase their alcohol consumption in a unified f^^k you to the establishment? This commercial goes too far in asking its viewers to suspend their disbelief and it can only be counted as badly executed and a very costly waste of money.
The NZTA's new "Legend" will be unable to change the booze-fueled status quo that is running rampant among rural males, aged 20 - 29.
To the rest of us not living in the wilds of Eketahuna, the NZTA have created nothing but a loathsome, hideous brute. If you don't believe me, please take a look at the synopsis below.