Vodafone NZ enlists drift driver to prove the reliability of its coverage

Telco Vodafone New Zealand has joined its Australian brethren in launching a high risk stunt designed to prove the reliability of its network, co-opting drift car driver ‘Mad Mike’ to risk injury in a blacked out car relying on the network for his navigation.

The lap saw Mike Whiddett, along with Vodafone New Zealand director of 4G Network, Tony Baird, do a high-speed lap with the windows completely blacked-out, the only vision coming via four tablets fixed to the inside of the windscreen.

Whiddett described the experience, saying: “It was a little risky that’s for sure, and this was without a doubt the biggest challenge I’ve ever had behind the wheel.”

“The whole experience was amazing, and like being in a different world, because switching quickly between those screens actually made me feel a little bit car sick for the first time in my life,” he said.

The stunt comes at the same time that Vodafone Australia is partnering with media companies Nova and Seven to showcase the telco’s reliability by using it to broadcast programming.

Vodafone New Zealand’s head of brand and insights Lou Kuegler said the new ad demonstrated the reliability of the Vodafone 4G network in an innovative, dramatic and authentic way.

“This is what modern marketing is all about,” said Kuegler. “It’s one thing to say we have a reliable network, it’s another to demonstrate it, and that’s what we set out to do.”

The idea for the campaign came from FCB and has been in planning since December 2014.

“The 4G Redline idea is a dream fit for Vodafone’s innovation strategy,” said Kuegler. “The actual shoot was a high stakes game because unless Mad Mike actually nailed this stunt, we didn’t have a story.

“A blown tyre, a broken clutch and broken axel certainly raised the stakes – but it worked – and the 4G network delivered the vision Mad Mike needed to manoeuvre the car around the course with confidence.”

  • Client: Vodafone
  • Consumer Director: Matt Williams
  • Head of Brand and Insights: Lou Kuegler
  • Manager Brand and Communications: Nileema Allerston
  • Brand and Communications Specialist: Michelle Lumsden
  • Head of PR: Andrea Brady
  • External Comms Manager: Elissa Downey
  • Creative Agency: FCB New Zealand
  • Regional Executive Creative Director: James Mok
  • Managing Director: Fleur Head
  • Senior Art Directors: Freddie Coltart and Leisa Wall
  • Senior Copywriters: Matt Williams and Peter Vegas
  • Creative Services Director: Jenni Doubleday
  • Senior Designer: Nick McFarlane
  • Senior Finished Artist: Anton Mason 
  • Head of Content: Pip Mayne 
  • Senior Content Producer: Sonali de Silva
  • Group Account Director: Karla Fisher
  • Account Director: Dave Munn
  • Senior Account Manager: Annabelle Reynolds
  • GM – Business Innovation & Strategy: Murray Streets
  • Senior Strategist: Hilary Dobson
  • Lead Editor: Andy Deere
  • Assistant Editor: Blair Walker
  • Editor ‘Behind The Scenes’: Corban Koschak
  • Photography / ‘Behind The Scenes’: Michael Braid
  • Head of PR / Activation / Social: Angela Spain 
  • PR Senior Account Director:  Joanna James
  • Brand Engagement Director: Ele Quigan
  • Social Media Campaign Manager: Lena Aziz
  • Media Agency: Y & R Media
  • Group Business Director: Kelly Badland
  • Senior Digital Planner: Lisa Clapperton
  • Production Company: Curious Films
  • Production Company Exec Producer: Matt Noonan
  • Production Company Director: Daniel Max
  • Production Company Shoot Producer: Briar Pacey 
  • DOP: Andy Deere
  • Stunt Co-ordinator: Stu Thorp
  • Safety: Willy Heatley
  • Lead Colourist: Peter Richie
  • Colourist ‘Behind The Scenes’ Blair Walker
  • Sound Studio: The Coopers
  • Studio Producer: Penny Cooper
  • Sound Engineer: Jon Cooper

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