Public Sector 2021

Through a humorous yet serious campaign, the Department of Internal Affairs managed to spark the conversation between parents and children about the varieties of online harm and how to address them. 

A brave move

The challenge

The world wide web is a wild place for young people. Home to porn stars, overage groomers, bullies and an ever-expanding universe of inappropriate content, the digital world is just one click away from being a parent’s first nightmare. 

During lockdown in March 2020, there was an estimated 40 percent surge in the amount of time young people spent online, mostly unsupervised. This heightened the exposure to potential digital harm – without the safety net of school filters. Alongside the drastic change in daily life, this ‘new norm’ had the potential to exacerbate feelings of vulnerability, isolation, depression and anxiety.

One of the Department of Internal Affairs’ business goals is to ensure iwi, hapu and communities are safe, resilient and thriving. It has a responsibility to keep Kiwis, especially children, safe online. 

The Response

In June 2020, the Department launched on its first nationwide above-the-line campaign to tackle online safety issues. This multi-stage public awareness campaign aimed to raise awareness of online risks for young people and ultimately prevent harm. 

The Department sought to start a conversation about these risks and provide adequate resources to navigate them. Their Keep It Real Online campaign started the conversation with parents and the Eggplant started the conversation with young people.

With two very different audiences (parents and teenagers), this two-staged initiative gave the Department the best chance of delivering its message in a way that would resonate, and therefore create real behavioural change. 

To create change, the Department needed to cut through the ‘noise’ and capture attention. They favoured a bold creative approach, with humour a key tool in making online safety both approachable and memorable.

The Department knew the creative would be powerful, however extra care needed to be taken to ensure that the severity and seriousness of the issues were still given respect.

The result 

The Department was never going to solve the issues of the online world through one campaign. However, Keep it Real Online grabbed headlines nationally and internationally, featuring in over 150 articles (and counting),whilst racking up over 35 million views across its campaign videos and being retold in several different languages. 

The campaign was the catalyst of a global conversation to bring these issues to the mainstream.  

Category: Public Sector

Company: Department of Internal Affairs

Marketing Initiative: Keep It Real Online

Marketing Partners: Motion Sickness

Judges’ Comments: “Innovative way of addressing a pervasive problem that’s challenging for parents and children alike to discuss. Skilful use of blending insights from subject matter experts and a teen audience. They adopted a clever segmented market approach to drive meaningful results and draw attention in a cluttered market with a brave and engaging creative approach.”

Finalists: Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Ma–ori, Greater Wellington Regional Council, Ministry for Primary Industries

This article was first published in the 2021 December/January issue of NZ Marketing magazine. You can subscribe to the magazine, here. Or read the other winner stories, here.

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