This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse this site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Find out more here.

Check me before you turn the key

  •  Thumbnail
  •  Thumbnail


Safekids Aotearoa is the New Zealand’s children’s service, established to prevent unintentional injuries to kids and, in particular, death caused by cars reversing on driveways.

With a population of four million, New Zealand has one of the highest rates of driveway deaths and injuries in the OECD, with seven deaths in 2014. That’s seven young lives unnecessarily lost. Tragedies that were all preventable.

MediaCom’s brief was stark but inspiring – could it save the lives of at least five children by changing driver behaviour?

When the agency started to explore behaviour theory, it discovered that emotion drives behaviour, not rational messaging, and long-term behaviour change can be delivered via the creation of habitual routines.

The challenge was to create powerful protective routines when parents reversed out of their driveways.

MediaCom realised that by the time the car starts moving down the driveway, it’s too late to change event outcomes – if a child is playing on the driveway a tragedy will occur. The opportunity to influence behaviour ended the moment the key entered the ignition.

It needed to get parents to check the drive before they put their key in the car.

The powerful insight was that there was one object that everyone touched before they drove: their keys.


The insight helped develop a strategy designed to save lives.

MediaCom needed to instil in drivers a new safety routine that occurred the moment before they put their key in the ignition.

This was the moment of influence, the moment at which outcomes could still be changed.

The solution was to turn key rings into warning lights and trigger the behaviour change that New Zealand needed.

It would use drivers’ keys as an owned media channel– with a Safekids ‘Check me before you turn the key’ personalised photo key ring.

The secret weapon would be a picture of the driver’s children.

The tone of the message, combined with the photo, would be designed to bring parental responsibility to the forefront. It would be a highly-emotional reminder and allow it to effect behaviour change BEFORE the car moved.

And it wouldn’t just work once; the key rings would remind drivers every time they touched their keys – potentially hundreds of times a week, creating long-term habitual behaviour change.

This insight would only be powerful, however, if it could persuade the target to use them. The key target was parents, living at home with children, and the agency would combine mass reach with frequent calls to action to get their own Safekids key ring.

Mass reach via traditional paid media would be combined with emotive stories from mums who had lost a child. This would be accompanied by multiple easy routes to allow the target to get their own personalised key ring, featuring the kids that mattered to them.

The message would be promoted via PR and paid media, backed up by local events and online opportunities to make ordering a key ring the easiest thing in the world.


The goal of the campaign was to get these personalised key rings into the community - if it couldn’t do that there was no hope of changing behaviour.

MediaCom created a three-pronged message.

First, it looked to drive awareness via PR and mass media and organised a launch event for news journalists, government and community groups in Onehunga - a district where the majority of at-risk children lived. The event was led by New Zealand Government Minister Nikki Kaye and included a passionate testimony from a mother whose son died in a driveway accident - the first time she had shared her story in public. The power of the cause enabled the agency to negotiate smarter rates for TV, radio, print, press and online with all adverts featuring a call to action to get a personalised key ring. It also shared content and key ring registration via social channels, such as Facebook and Twitter, and partnered with community-based website Neighborly for their Neighbors Day. 

Second, the agency created 26 local bespoke events in high-risk areas based on hospital admissions and socio-demographic data, providing photo booths to generate free key ring photos of kids.

Finally, it created online and offline hubs where citizens could get their own key ring. In addition to its own website, the brand also accessed office space in all 20 Department Health Boards regions and Early Childhood Services across the country.


Traditionally effectiveness is measured by ROI. These measures are different - seven kids’ lives have been saved and many more children have avoided serious injury thanks to this campaign.

Since launch, total driveway run-over injury admissions at hospitals have more than halved.

Incidence of driveway-related child deaths and injuries is now at its lowest level for a decade.

The campaign has changed behaviours, changed minds and saved lives by delivering prevention at source rather than preaching with advertising from afar.

In week one, Safekids’ website received 50,000 key ring requests. The total 12-month allocation of 300,000 ran out in just three months – reaching approximately 90% of the core target. The next quarter it sent out a further 100,000 key rings.

Research showed that 85% have understood the message and changed behaviour. Recall is highest among younger parents.

Earned coverage has hit 559 media reports, reaching a cumulative audience of more than nine million and representing $600,000 of free media.

MediaCom successfully negotiated more than $2m in media on a budget of $310,000: representing nearly 600% added value.

This is Safekids Aotearoa’s most successful and effective campaign ever. It has saved lives by changing behaviour, not just for the campaign period but long term.

Even now the key rings are still keeping children alive and stopping injuries.

Have Your Say

Please register to add comments.

SafeKids Aotearoa
Government/Public Sector
New Zealand
November 2015 - March 2016
Media Channel:
Direct Marketing,Events,Online,PR,Print,Radio,TV
  • FMAs shortlisted

Cream Shuffle

Stuck for ideas? Use our automated inspiration tool.

ShuffleClick to shuffle
  • British Columbia Dairy Foundation
  • Canada
Read more

Cream Subscribers

Other C Squared Products

logo 2013 small

© C Squared Networks Ltd.

115 Southwark Bridge Rd,
London, SE1 0AX.

Registered Number: 8391925
VAT REG NO: GB158 9727 52

Umbraco development
by Vizioz