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Safe vehicles are a high priority for the New Zealand Government. This is because some of the biggest gains in road safety can be achieved by improving the safety of the vehicles that people currently drive. Safe vehicles not only help drivers avoid crashes, but also protect occupants and other road users when crashes do happen.

Safety ratings indicate the likely performance of your vehicle in a crash, from 1 to 5 stars. The New Zealand light vehicle fleet currently has a high proportion of 1 and 2-star safety-rated vehicles (41%) that provide little protection to occupants in the event of a crash.

People are more than twice as likely to die or be seriously injured in a crash in a 1-star than in a 5-star vehicle.

Video advertising

The challenge

Most people think that having a current Warrant of Fitness (WoF) or safety features like airbags are a proxy for a ‘safe car’.

A WoF provides a snapshot in time of a vehicle’s roadworthiness at the point of inspection, and individual safety features contribute to a vehicle’s safety performance but don’t indicate overall crash performance. A safe vehicle is both roadworthy and crashworthy, which means it’s safe to be driven on the road and performs well in a crash situation – indicated by a current WoF and a high safety rating.

The target audience and our approach

The Safe Vehicles programme launched in February 2020, including an advertising campaign directed at car buyers, a refreshed Rightcar website with safety ratings for around 95% of vehicles and training of motor vehicle dealers to upskill them on vehicle safety ratings.

The 1-star Reality advertising campaign ran alongside our young drivers campaign, which encourages the parents of young drivers to put their teen in the safest car available to them. It targets all people who own a car with a particular focus on those people who are in the market to buy a new or used car.  Approximately 800,000 vehicles change hands each year. We have been working on convincing this audience that safety is important, and they should buy a car with a high safety rating (preferably 4 or 5 stars).

The campaign encourages people to prioritise safety in any vehicle purchasing decision they make and directs them to the Rightcar website for more information on star safety ratings. Rightcar was designed to help vehicle buyers choose safer, cleaner and more economical cars, and has recently had a refresh.

Rightcar website(external link)

The campaign

The campaign features the ‘Decepta’, a fictional 1-star car and introduced the tagline ‘the more stars, the safer the car’. Launching on Sunday 16 February 2020, the campaign comprises television, radio, print and online advertising. Advertising is also displayed in relevant point of sale locations. In addition to this, an interactive animated safety simulator has been developed to visually depict the occupant protection zone and show the risk that lower safety-rated vehicles pose for occupants; users can scroll through the star-ratings from a 5 to 1-star car and see how the occupants protection in a crashed car varies depending on its star-safety rating.

Online advertising

Safety simulator

These simulators allow users to scroll through the star-ratings from a 1 through to a 5-star car and see how the occupant protection in a crashed vehicle varies depending on its star-safety rating.

Four-star vs two-star safety simulator

Five-star vs one-star safety simulator

Five-star vs three-star safety simulator


Mythbuster: How safe is it in a crash?

Mythbuster: Full service history and WoF

Mythbuster: Does new mean safe?

Mythbuster: Put your family’s safety first

Mythbuster: A safe choice isn’t always costly

Mythbuster: Does top dollar mean top safety?

Radio advertising

1-star reality – Cupholders radio ad [MP3, 588 KB]

1-star reality – Stereo radio ad [MP3, 588 KB]

1-star reality – Seat covers radio ad [MP3, 588 KB]

Print advertising

1-star reality print ad [PDF, 165 KB]

Point of sale advertising

1-star reality point of sale ad [PDF, 175 KB]


If you'd like to download or use any of these files email: