DDB New Zealand

"The Rail Ritual"

Client: KiwiRail
Product: Rail Safety Week
Title: The Rail Ritual
Media: Social, Digital, OOH,
Country: New Zealand
Date Of Campaign: 08/08/2022

Background: With train incidents and collisions on the rise, KiwiRail needed to find a new way to get through to people. Following pandemic restrictions, listening to yet another government safety message had little appeal. So, our message had to be radically different to not only get attention, but to get safe behaviours to become routine. The campaign needed to reach all New Zealanders who walk, cycle or drive over train tracks. With an audience so broad, KiwiRail's insight needed an appeal just as broad – so we tapped into something that, surprisingly, 90% of people admit to having: a superstition. Even you may be familiar with not jinxing a piece of work by hoping it'll do well in an award show.Ultimately, our goal was simple – to reduce collisions and incidents by reminding people of the need to always look left and right at level crossings.

Idea: We created a superstition to get PR and prompt behaviour change.Months before the campaign launched in Rail Safety Week, we inserted mentions of the superstition across the internet, placing it everywhere from within existing and new conversations on social networks and forums to blogs and Wikipedia. Once its background was established online, we were ready to start larger conversations about the ritual, working with radio hosts, comedians, micro influencers and sports stars to begin talking about the superstition. Again, the superstition needed to appear like part of their natural conversations, so it was placed within content that was typical of their other work. Finally, the superstition was established and ready for KiwiRail to leverage PR by simply endorsing it in Rail Safety Week as a behaviour that not only gave you good luck, but also prompted you to look both ways before crossing train tracks. Then the creatives crossed their fingers till the winners were announced.

Results: Campaign impressions increased by 157% from the year prior. Reach increased by 330% and clicks on KiwiRail content increased by 49%, spreading the safety message to all kinds of New Zealanders. Even government officials got behind the campaign, appearing on national television demonstrating the superstition, creating huge consumer awareness. Most importantly, there were no serious incidents in the general public for 8 weeks following the campaign. To date, overall general public incidents have decreased by 50%. Judges who didn't read to this point were also given 7 years' bad luck.

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