Lifejacket wearing promotion reaches new audiences

Safe Seas Clean Seas Issue 43, April 2013

Over summer we extended our “don’t be a clown – wear a lifejacket” campaign to include advertising in more places boaties were likely to see it and as near as possible to ‘the boating moment’.
Coromandel annual parade
Maritime New Zealand ©2020
A sports shop and some local children in the Coromandel took the clown and lifejacket message to the streets in their annual parade.

Boaties checking the marine weather forecast got to see MNZ’s lifejacket wearing messages on the MetService website, and those looking at buying a boat on TradeMe saw “Don’t be a clown. Buy a lifejacket” as part of their boat buying checklist.

Complementing the clown television commercial, a One News marine forecast spot promoted lifejackets and other key safety messages, and a radio boating safety campaign targeted regional hot-spots and at-risk groups.

Almost 30,000 free safe boating packs were distributed at Z petrol stations throughout the country, catching boaties filling up on their way out or the way home. Several stations commented on how well received the promotion had been, with people picking up extra packs to give to their boatie mates. A sports shop in Matarangi took the lifejacket theme one step further for their Christmas parade, creating a boat float featuring lifejackets, kids dressed as clowns and a cardboard cut-out of the MNZ clown.

The campaign has aimed at creating behaviour change, so boaties wear a lifejacket every time they’re out on the water. We’re seeing the behaviour change reflected in anecdotal evidence of increased lifejacket wearing and changing public attitudes. There’s been increased news reporting of key safety messages, with reporters and bystanders referring to people who don’t wear lifejackets as ‘clowns’.

Even the penguin on the Penguin fish bait bag (see below) is now sporting a lifejacket, alongside our lifejacket safety message.

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Cover of Issue 43
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