NZTA launches Belted Survivor Series – Kiwi lads prove near-paralysis, punctured lungs, broken backs and shattered limbs are all worth the pain


1. Belted Survivors - Hero Image (1).jpgLiam woke up from a coma the day before his daughter was born. If he hadn’t been wearing a seatbelt, he wouldn’t have woken up at all.

He’s one of ten young Kiwi lads featured in NZ Transport Agency and Clemenger BBDO Wellington’s Belted Survivor series: a collection of portraits of real crash survivors, that turns the distinctive wounds left behind by seatbelts into badges of honour.

Around 90 people die on New Zealand roads every year because they’re not wearing their seatbelt. Young males make up the majority of these fatalities. To this tough, no-bullshit audience, seatbelts are an unnecessary accessory. Truth is, a seatbelt can be the difference between ending up injured, or ending up dead.

Protection is at arm’s reach. NZ Transport Agency and Clemenger BBDO Wellington needed to prove a seatbelt is a tool worth using.


In partnership with Vice, a national call-out gathered hundreds of real stories from people who survived crashes thanks to their seatbelt. Ten were chosen. Using their post-crash pics, their real-life injuries were recreated by PROFX, fresh from the likes of Thor: Ragnarok and The Hobbit trilogy. They worked closely with Emergency Medicine Specialist Dr. Tash McKay, who provided close medical guidance: “A seatbelt really does leave a mark like this. They will save your life, but they will leave you a mark to show how they’ve done it.”

The survivors were photographed in their own homes around the country, so they could be in a familiar environment and surrounded by family and friends while reliving their past experiences.

The campaign was launched by the survivors themselves over their own social channels. Large-scale outdoor is placed in their hometowns, heroing their own tale of survival in their local communities. Gallery-style outdoor features at events that index highly with this audience. Emotive social vids feature the lads telling their stories in their own words, giving insight into what living on meant to each of them.

Says Rachel Prince, principal advisor advertising, NZ Transport Agency: “We’re selling an undesirable product to these guys. Research told us they think seatbelt messages are for kids, for the elderly, for everyone else. We worked with them to make the undesirable something they wanted to buy.”

Many others have already shared their own story of survival on The campaign will keep evolving as more of these stories are shared and amplified. Highlighting the positive impact seatbelts continue to make.

Clemenger BBDO ECD Brigid Alkema believes the visceral and authentic nature of the imagery will connect with Kiwi lads: “You can’t argue with these stories. They’re real experiences, lived by real people. We hope this truth will move our audience to wear their seatbelt.”

Client: NZ Transport Agency

Creative Agency: Clemenger BBDO Wellington

Media Agency: OMD

Photography: Our Production Team

Make-Up SFX: PROFX New Zealand

Retouching: Becci Manson, The Post Office