Bronze Spike
Product / ServiceROAD SAFETY
CategoryA08. Charities, Public Health & Safety, Public Awareness Messages


Name Company Position
Steve Hansen Clemenger BBDO / Proximity Art Director
Jen Gasson Clemenger BBDO / Proximity Producer
Mike Gwyther Clemenger BBDO / Proximity Copywriter
Matt Barnes Clemenger BBDO / Proximity Account Manager
Adrian Stephenson NZ Transport Agency Senior Education Advisor
Matt McNeil OMD Managing Partner
Katy Baker OMD Senior Account Manager
Georgia McNaught OMD Account Manager
Ric Cantor Curious Films Director
Matt Noonan Curious Films Executive Producer
Stu Giles Curious Films Producer
Crighton Bone Curious Films Director Of Photography
Luke Haigh Curious Films Editor
Jim Hall Franklin Rd Music Arrangement
Jonathan Hughes Franklin Rd Music Licensing
Emily Beautrais Clemenger BBDO / Proximity Copywriter
Brigid Alkema Clemenger BBDO / Proximity Executive Creative Director
Marty Gray Clemenger BBDO / Proximity Producer
Bethany Omeri Clemenger BBDO / Proximity Account Director
Paul Stent Clemenger BBDO / Proximity Audio Engineer
Linda Major Clemenger BBDO / Proximity Group Account Director
Paul Graham NZ Transport Agency Principal Scientist
Rachel Prince NZ Transport Agency Principal Advisor
Emily Beautrais Clemenger BBDO / Proximity Creative Director

The Campaign

Our research told us most passengers felt uncomfortable when their driver reached for their phone. But they still weren’t speaking up. We gave them a lighthearted way to make their discomfort visible to their driver. Something they could bring into their own vernacular and own, and use in real cars in real life, to remind their driver to put their safety before the need to check their phone. A ‘Phone Palm’. The action was to literally put themselves before the phone – offering their own social reinforcement just as the driver was reaching for that from the phone, and reminding the driver of the relationship that was most important in that moment. Humour was integral to making the passengers feel confident in doing it, and we needed to introduce the action in a way that had mass appeal. We acknowledged the feelings involved by setting it to the cheesiest possible soundtrack.

Creative Execution

We seeded the film with two key influencers and handed complete ownership of the posts over to them. We used a channel (Facebook) that enabled easy sharing and tagging, making public the support of the message, and in a large proportion of comments, making public the intention to Phone Palm their friends if they needed to. Because the intention was to create a film that resonated with our audience, we expected them to share it in their own platforms and circles. We kept an eye on the reach, ready to re-seed if needed, but with over 52,000,000 views and 1,000,000 shares in the first week, further activity hasn’t yet been implemented.


The idea struck a chord with our audience. In just the first week, the video had over 52,000,000 views, putting driver distraction in the public’s eye. Media outlets around the world published it and got people commenting on the issue. Within the first week, 5 other countries had asked to run the work on air locally. Most importantly, in the first week 1,000,000 people SHARED the film, and the idea, with their friends. Countless people in every post tagged their friends in the comments (“I’m going to do this to you” “This is me next time”) including key influencers like the Kardashians. Social pressure was built even before our audience got in their cars. For the first time, we managed to get inside cars with our message. By using the passengers as a channel, and giving them ‘Phone Palming’ as a tool, we were – literally – getting between drivers and their phones.

Our research told us most passengers felt uncomfortable when their driver reached for their phone. But they still weren’t speaking up. We gave them a lighthearted way to make their discomfort visible to their driver, a way to deliver our message for us, direct to our audience, in a way we could monitor. Not only that, Phone Palming was something they could deliver to our target audience in the moment of truth, where we otherwise couldn’t.

Previously, distractions messaging had come from the top down; from police, and government. Creating social stigma requires a cultural shift, which can only happen from the bottom up. If we wanted this message to affect our audience, they needed to own it. Because the audience agreed that phone use was dangerous and did it anyway, we needed an approach that didn’t lecture or repeat the possible consequences. They’d already heard all the arguments, and for most it wasn’t enough to deter them. Social desires were the primary reason for reaching for their phones, so worked with this need rather than against it. By resonating with the demographic, we delivered our call to action through their passengers’ voices, not our own.


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