fire movies.

You have less than three minutes to escape a house fire, or you die.

And the difference between those two endings is having a working smoke alarm.

But people are complacent about smoke alarms and the speed of house fires, because they’ve only seen Hollywood’s version. 

The movies show characters stepping through neatly flaming doorways, people heroically running back in to save their children and everyone making it out just in time. But that’s not how it goes. Fire gets real, fast. And no one knows that better than the fire fighters who’ve seen the real story. 

“What the movies don’t tell you is that it’s the smoke that incapacitates people in real house fires.” says National Advisor Fire Risk Management, Pete Gallagher. “You don’t have time to talk or plan heroic escapes.”

FCB Executive Creative Directors Peter Vegas and Leisa Wall liked that the “Firefighters Don’t Like Fire Movies” campaign was a new take on the category. “We were instantly taken by this fresh new insight and the team have brought it to life beautifully”.

The 60” TVC was shot by Wade Shotter of Finch: “My main focus was to bring the powerful voiceover to the screen in a senstive way that invited the viewer to feel, rather than telling them to feel”.

The ad features Aaron Jackson, a full-time career firefighter at Ellerslie Station in Auckland (and also an actor who may be familiar from his role in Shortland Street). The spot launches March 7 and a Te Reo version will screen on Maori Television.

The “Firefighters Don’t Like Fire Movies” thought was continued through press execution “Return to Script department” and the campaign will appear in environments where the movie comparison works hardest. FCB Media have partnered with TVNZ to show a Fire and Emergency warning before four Hollywood movies featuring misleading depictions of fires. These films will play on Saturday nights on TVNZ 2 later in March and April. In addition, this campaign includes online video, social, digital, post-trailer cinema ads, and placements in online movie environments: and NEON.

Escape My House

This week sees the launch of Fire & Emergency NZ's ‘Escape Week,’ in partnership with FCB.

From the 8th to the 15th of February, Escape Week encourages New Zealanders to understand the very real risk of house fires and to create a plan for every member of the household to escape safely, in the event of fire.

The campaign focuses on why New Zealanders need an escape plan and how to create an escape plan.  Communications highlighting the fact that a house fire becomes un-survivable in less than 3 minutes, drive people to Fire & Emergency’s Escape Planning Tool. The step by step process points out potential blind spots in helping people to prepare their own life saving escape plan:

“Using our escape my house tool will make you think about important things that you may not have considered,” says National Advisor Fire Risk Management, Peter Gallagher. “Things like a second exit in case your normal exit is blocked, making sure you know where your keys are if doors are deadlocked and having a safe meeting place for everyone in your household.”

To support the campaign, FCB created a three-minute TVC, which uses a unique soundscape to tell the story of a family trying to escape a house fire and extended its use across radio as well. Partnering with TVNZ, FCB also delivered a first of its kind ad-break takeover. Smoke and flames fill what looks like a normal break of 30” spots from TVNZ and other FCB clients until smoke totally eclipses the screen – demonstrating the speed of fire and the importance of an escape plan.

In addition to the three minute ad takeovers, the promotion of Escape Week included:

  • A partnership with NZME, sharing a story of a real family losing a loved one to a housefire, plus a “Faces of Fire” article featuring NZers who have lost loved ones in a housefire and those who have escaped – to encourage NZers to make an escape plan themselves.
  • A partnership with TVNZ featuring book ends during Breakfast with Matty McLean speaking of the importance of escape plans, throughout Escape Week.
  • “720 word story” full page press ad – telling the story of a house fire breaking out in the middle of the night. The average person can read 720 words in three minutes; the amount of time a house fire can kill you.
  • “Escape the Paper” press executions – the story of a house fire which unfolds over several harrowing pages of the newspaper, helping to build the disorientation of being trapped in a house fire.
  • Digital and social elements – with thought-provoking questions such as ‘what if your way was blocked’?
  • 30” radio and Spotify partnership, exploring the speed of fire.

FCB Executive Creative Directors Peter Vegas and Leisa Wall said “We wanted to build on the work we created last year and thanks to the great opportunities our media people created for us we’ve been able to do that. We’re thrilled with the results.”

Switch off before you walk off

Addressing the issue of unattended cooking with Josh Emett

Fire and Emergency New Zealand, together with renowned chef Josh Emett, address the main cause of house fires in New Zealand: unattended cooking. This issue is particularly relevant during NZ’s Level 4 lockdown timeframe, when the campaign was launched.

Volunteer Recruitment