How do you ask a nation to make their homes safer?

How do you ask a nation to make their homes safer?

CHE Proximity chief creative officer Ant White and IAG group brand strategy director Caroline Hugall on changing behaviours with NRMA Insurance’s ‘First Saturday’ campaign.


During the recent catastrophic bushfires in Australia we watched in horror as firefighters raced towards rampaging flames that destroyed more than 18 million hectares of land. Weeks turned into months as the firefighters—or “firies” as they are affectionately known—fought tirelessly to save people, homes and wildlife across a drought-parched nation that had transformed into a tinderbox.

The apocalyptic scenes broadcast into our living rooms night after night were shocking and frightening, but the darkness of the recent bushfires dubbed ‘Black Summer’, was tempered with a deep sense of gratitude and respect for the brave men and women putting their lives on the line to fight the fires. Their unwavering dedication in the face of such terrifying adversity is hard to truly comprehend. Even more so when we’re reminded that the majority of them are volunteers, fighting for the survival of their communities and the natural world surrounding them.

In July 2020, as COVID-19 restrictions were being lifted in Australia, The Lab Strategy Group conducted a segmentation survey to understand changes in consumer mindsets. The research showed a shift in society towards appreciating community and connection, as people engaged in the outside world and felt more optimistic and secure. A focus on self-betterment and individualism was being replaced with a renewed appreciation for the importance of others. 65% of the sample agreed that “Going forward, close friends/relationships are the only ones that matter”, while only 23% thought that “Right now it is every person for themselves.”

The powerful dual forces of the bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic have caused significant shifts in culture and the collective mindset of Australians. Community, benevolence, selflessness all wrapped up in a newfound national pride inspired our latest preparedness campaign for NRMA Insurance, First Saturday – a purpose-driven movement that calls on all Australians to help protect first responders being called to danger by doing one small safety task around their homes on the first Saturday of every month.

How do you ask a nation to make their homes safer?

True behaviour change happens when you combine authenticity with commitment. Patagonia, REI and UNICEF are all classic case studies in how a brand can successfully deliver real behaviour change by truly living their purpose in the service of the greater good.

NRMA Insurance is Australia’s leading insurance provider and our purpose is to make your world a safer place. With more people at home than ever before, we saw an opportunity to encourage people to do a small task around the house to reduce the risk of danger. According to Community Preparedness for Emergencies, most house fires can be prevented with a fire blanket, but over 85% of homes don’t own one. Furthermore 85% of homes lost by bushfires are caused by embers igniting garden debris, (CFA 2010). Simple tasks like clearing gutters, trimming back gardens, testing smoke alarms and purchasing fire blankets could have enormous benefits.

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