‘Get it on or it’s no good’ – new lifejacket wearing campaign launched

Safe Seas Clean Seas Issue 45, December 2013

MNZ launched its new lifejacket-wearing campaign in December, using black humour and a touch of 80s TV nostalgia.
80s Lifejacket campaign
Maritime New Zealand ©2020
Maritime New Zealand’s new campaign ‘Get it on or it’s no good’ was launched in December.

Education and Communications Manager Pania Shingleton says too many men don’t realise this simple fact, despite men representing more than 90% of boating fatalities.

“Being close to your lifejacket is like being close to your bulletproof vest – it’s just not close enough. If they have an accident, people think they’ll have time to put their lifejacket on, but history tells a different story,” says Pania.

The TV advertisement features Brandon and Joe Bro, two American buddy cops – complete with mullets and other 80s fashion statements – in a skirmish with mobsters on the docks. Brandon and Joe Bro have seen a lot of action together and, like many partners, have each other’s backs.

There’s something a bit weird about Brandon though. Joe Bro is wearing his bulletproof vest, but Brandon just carries his vest in one hand while they leap off a boat, take out a baddie, bust through a door and jump through a window.

The closing scene sees Brandon shot by one of the mobsters and he attempts, too late, to put on his vest. Joe Bro is left holding his best mate as he breathes his last.

“It’s a clever metaphor to show that, to save your life, lifejackets must be worn not carried,” says Pania. “It’s also designed to appeal to men who think they’re bulletproof and raise their awareness about the risks they face when they don’t wear their lifejacket.”

Research shows that boaties who wear lifejackets are more likely to survive if something goes wrong. Around two thirds of boaties who die in recreational boating accidents each year could have been saved had they been wearing a lifejacket. And men aged 40 plus are over-represented in boating fatality statistics.

MNZ’s research by Ipsos into the impact of the “Don’t be a clown – wear a lifejacket” campaign showed that 75% of boaties said they took some action after seeing the ad, and 29% said they now wear their lifejacket on a regular basis. “This new advertisement is aimed at encouraging older, die-hard boaties to wear a lifejacket, and will also appeal to a younger generation,” says Pania.

Joe Bro, who survives the shoot-out in his bulletproof vest, will continue to act as MNZ’s summer safety ambassador in print, online and mobile advertisements. He’ll also appear on MetService’s new marine weather mobile app and on Marine Mate’s safety and boating app.

When he’s not at work hunting down criminals, Joe Bro is out on the water trying to land big fish. He has plenty of tips – not about fashion (although some say crotch straps are the new black) but on staying safe on the water. He’s also a staunch supporter of keeping cell phones waterproof in case of emergency. “When the ship hits the fan, you better be bagged,” says Joe Bro.

If you’re fuelling up at Z stations around the country, ask at the counter for a Free Safe Boating Pack. You’ll get all the tips and tools to ensure you’re as smart and suave as Joe Bro, who’s got it sussed when it comes to staying safe on the water.

And if you’re heading out on the water this summer, remember to zip up before you go.

Watch ‘Get it on or it’s no good’

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