Mistakes on NZ Roads Pause For Thought

New Zealand Transport Agency is challenging speeding New Zealand drivers to take seriously the likelihood that others on the road will make mistakes. A commercial, “Mistakes”, features a conversation between two drivers in the moment between a fatal mistake and a fatal collision. “No one should pay for a mistake with their life. When we drive, we share the road with others, so the speed we choose to travel at needs to leave room for any potential error.”

New Zealand Transport Agency Mistakes ad

“Mistakes” presents us with two drivers experiencing an extended moment of pause at that split second before they collide into one another. As the two men exit their cars, their conversation personalizes the grim repercussions about to take place, with one man pleading for the safety of his son in the backseat. Unable to alter the outcome, the drivers return behind the wheel and we see a speedometer reading over 100/km per hour before everything changes dramatically. Real-time suddenly returns as the violent moment of impact occurs, and the heartbreaking realization that we’re powerless to change a simple mistake made in a second’s time is driven home.

New Zealand Transport Agency explains that previous campaigns have shown that the faster you go the less time you have to react, the longer it takes to stop and the bigger the mess when you do stop. But people still deny this truth or think it doesn’t apply to them. Their speed may be over the limit but it is minimal, e.g. 107 km/h in a 100 km/h area. In their minds they’re not ‘speeding’, but driving comfortably, and they feel in control. This campaign aims to reframe the way that people look at their speed when they’re driving. A person may be a good driver but they can’t deny that people do make mistakes – after all, to err is only human. And in life, mistakes are made often. We usually get to learn from our mistakes; but not when driving – the road is an exception. Even the smallest of mistakes on the road can cost us our life, or someone else’s.

New Zealand Transport Agency Mistakes ad
New Zealand Transport Agency Mistakes ad


The Mistakes campaign was developed at Clemenger BBDO, Wellington, by executive creative director/art director Philip Andrew, creative director Brigid Alkema, copywriter/art director Emily Beautrais, agency producer Marty Gray, group account director Linda Major, account manager Bethany Omeri, director of digital innovation Thomas Scovell, media business director Annabelle Wilkinson, media account director Emily Goulden working with NZTA principal scientist Paul Graham and advertising manager Rachel Prince.

Filming was shot by director Derin Seale via Finch with executive producer Rob Galluzzo, producer Karen Bryson, production manager Annelise Yarrell, director of photography Stefan Duscio, production designer Rob Key.

Visual effects were produced at Fin Design & Effects, VFX supervisor Stuart White, Flame artist Justin Bromley. Colourist was Ben Eagleton. Offline work was done at Toybox. Editor was Drew Thompson at Method Studios. Audio post production was done at Nylon Studios by sound designer and mixer Simon Lister.