Cannes Lions

SEARCH & RESCUE

DDB NEW ZEALAND, Auckland / COASTGUARD / 2010

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Overview

Description

New Zealand’s coastline is almost as long as the USA’s. We have more recreational boaties in the water 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. Their volunteers are often faced with the futile task of finding a needle in a haystack.We wanted to show the country how tough this can be for the Coastguard and why they need support.So we let them experience it.

Execution

So we let them experience it.We capsized a boat, stranded 4 people in the ocean, and challenged New Zealand to find and save them, in the world’s first live-rescue event.At 18:10, a real time POV TV spot put viewers into the shoes of a Coastguard volunteer in a rescue operation to find the missing boaties. Viewers were then directed online where they found themselves in a search plane simulator racing against the clock in real time. A GPS locator fed the live position of the real capsized boat into the simulator.Throughout the evening, live mission updates played on TV and radio.

Outcome

Thousands of virtual volunteers soon realised they were faced with a hopeless situation.1.8% of those who took part in the mission 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 check that if they had been one of the four missing people they would have had less than a 2% chance of survival. It proved that the Coastguard need all the help and support they can get.A 20% increase in visitors to the Coastguard website led to a staggering 900% increase in online donations.

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