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Product / ServiceSEARCH & RESCUE
CategoryA04. Direct Response Digital Media
Entrant Company:DDB NEW ZEALAND Auckland, NEW ZEALAND
DM/Advertising Agency:DDB NEW ZEALAND Auckland, NEW ZEALAND



Name Company Position
Matt Swinburne DDB Art Director
Brett Colliver DDB Writer
Toby Talbot DDB Group Executive Creative Director
Regan Grafton DDB Deputy Creative Director
Sarah Burilin DDB Account Executive
Libby Weston-Webb DDB Account Director
Tania Jeram DDB Agency Producer
Daniel Wright Tribal/DDB Creative Director
Steven Leong Tribal/DDB Interactive Designer
David Vaughan Tribal/DDB Senior Developer
Rowan Oulton Tribal/DDB Developer
Tim Cullinane Tribal/DDB Senior Account Manager
Steve Gulik DDB Editor
Scott Wallace DDB Managing Partner

The Brief

New Zealand’s coastline is almost as long as the USA’s. We have more recreational boaties than anywhere else in the world. Unfortunately we also have more reckless, irresponsible and intoxicated boaties than anywhere else. With little government funding, the New Zealand Coastguard is forced to patrol this vast area with just 75 boats. So when there’s emergency at sea, their volunteers are often faced with the task of finding a needle in a haystack. We needed to show the country how tough this can be for the Coastguard and why they need support.

Creative Execution

The live rescue event gave the NZ public a first hand insight into what Coastguard volunteers are up against. It gave the country a reality check that put an end to their misguided complacency and made them realize that Coastguard need their help and support.

Describe the creative solution to the brief/objective.

We let the public experience how tough Coastguard’s job is. We capsized a boat, stranded 4 people in the ocean and challenged the nation to find them in a live-rescue event. At 1810, a real time TV spot put viewers into the shoes of a Coastguard volunteer in a rescue operation to find the missing boaties. Direct response TV and radio directed people online where they found themselves in a search plane, racing the clock in real time. A GPS fed the live position of the boat into the simulator. Throughout the evening live updates played on TV and radio.


Thousands of virtual rescuers took part. Only 1.8% were successful. 98.2% were not. The live event captured New Zealand’s imagination and was covered by the country’s leading news networks. It left people with the sobering reality that had they been one of the missing people they would have had less than a 2% chance of survival, proving that the Coastguard need all the help they can get. As a result, visits to the Coastguard website were up by 20%, online donations were an impressive 9 times higher than 2009 and overall donations for the period were up by 41%.