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How Motion Sickness Figured Out 'What to Cook When You're Cooked’


LBB’s Delmar Terblanche speaks to the minds behind the provocative safety campaign that aims to stop us sizzling when we're sozzled

How Motion Sickness Figured Out 'What to Cook When You're Cooked’

One of the most 'oh-my-God-I-can't-believe-they-did-that' campaigns to emerge from ANZ in 2022 came from Motion Sickness, and cautioned against the dangers of cooking while, ahem, cooked.

The work, for Fire and Emergency NZ, was intended to tackle a very serious problem. One in four housefires start in the kitchen, and 50% of all fatal house fires involve alcohol or drugs. 

It went about this in a wonderfully unserious manner.

“You’re Cooked” is a campaign centred around a recipe book of safe-to-prepare meals designed for when we’re, well, not at our best. The food was developed in tandem with Chef Jamie Johnston of Everybody Eats, and the above spot shows some prime candidates testing the recipes out. 

“Other fire safety campaigns have focused more on unpacking the safety messages, in a logical, yet emotionally connective way,” explained Motion Sickness ECD Sam Stuchbury. “However, this campaign was intended to reach an audience disengaged with these kinds of fire safety or prevention messages. It’s a group who feel a house fire isn’t going to happen to them, and they’d rather not stress about it. The recipe book was the launch pad for entertaining content that builds relevance, provides a solution, and engages in a non-threatening way.”

To find out more about the simple brilliance behind this campaign, we spoke to Motion Sickness creative director Jordan Stent, and senior creative Will Macdonald, about what it means to develop cooked creativity.

LBB> Tell us about the history of the ‘Don’t drink and fry’ platform, and how you expanded on it.

Will> ‘Don’t drink and fry’ aired long before I had my first sip of alcohol but it was instantly etched into my innocent teenage brain as an iconic piece of local advertising.

Jordan> Something we wanted to retain from the original platform was using real drunk spokespeople for the campaign. Authenticity was important. There’s nothing worse than someone acting drunk or high — you need the real deal. Fortunately, they’re easy to find on a Friday night downtown.

Will> Getting drunk people to tell other drunk people to stay off the stove is still valid (and funny), but we wanted to take it a step further. So we invited them to test their cooking ability (or lack thereof).

LBB> What was the initial client brief from Fire & Emergency New Zealand?

Will> Unattended cooking is the leading cause of house fires in New Zealand, which is unfortunately all too easy if you’re drunk or high. Fire & Emergency New Zealand wanted to change this. You’re Cooked was a risky, ambitious approach but FENZ understood a safe option wouldn’t do the brief justice — especially considering the audience and subject matter.

LBB> How did you reach out to Jamie Johnston? And how were the recipes developed?

Jordan> I had met Jamie many years ago (in a former life outside of the advertising world), and have been a keen stalker of his journey as Head Chef for ‘Everybody Eats’ ever since.

Everybody Eats is a community-focused charity, with the mission of reducing food waste, food poverty and social isolation in Aotearoa. They operate a pay-as-you-feel restaurant, taking perfectly good food that’s destined for landfill, and produce beaut three-course meals that in turn help combat climate change, poverty, and social fragmentation.

We’ve always been big supporters of their mahi, and while leading the charge in the kitchen, Jamie has become well seasoned in developing resourceful cooking methods, utilising leftover food, and creating unique meals out of limited ingredients on hand. It’s a vision we shared for the ‘You’re Cooked’ campaign, so when Jamie he said he was keen to get his hands dirty and collaborate with us, we knew the resulting recipes would be on the money!

Will> We ended up with a devil’s mix of crowd-sourced and lived experiences, the dishes almost an embodiment of our own warped reality and cravings when under the influence. Big focus on carbs, sugar, and uninhibited indulgence when it came to assembling the final cookbook.

LBB> What was behind the decision to shoot on a kitchen set in the middle of an outdoor space?

Will> We needed the ads to be as relevant as possible to the drunken chef — so before they got back to the kitchen, we brought the kitchen to them. Having it placed in the beer belly of Auckland’s nightlife precinct made it feel real and raw. It certainly raised the stakes, but was an important detail.

LBB> What was it like working with truly ‘cooked’ talent?

Jordan> It was chaotic in the best way possible. We really wanted to lean into the high-low contrast between the polished set of a Martha Stewart-esque cooking show and a clumsy, sloppy, drunken chef. 

Will> Going in almost entirely unscripted is a daunting prospect, but drunk people are funny and some of the talent we worked with were naturals in front of the camera.

Jordan> Some recipes were more successful than others, which only emphasised why you should stay off the stove when you’re in that kind of state.

LBB> You mention that the campaign had to “live and breathe” in the world of cooked Kiwis - how did you go about achieving that?

Will> The food you want to eat when you’re sober and the food you want to eat when you’re off your nut are two different things. We had to find the sweet spot between delicious and disgusting — from the recipes to the photography style.

We were aware that anything too refined or composed would be dismissed. Prop selection and art direction — we've affectionately named grubby chic — created a window into the world of the inebriated gourmand. Each scene had to feel like it was ‘lived-in’ and somewhat familiar.

LBB> What sort of impact are you hoping to achieve?

Jordan> Ultimately, we want people to make safer choices. If anyone dons the apron and tries to replicate the recipes that’s a bonus — but if all they take away from the campaign is that using the stove is a bad idea when you’re drunk or high then that’s our job done.

Will> Fewer fires caused by people trying to cook bacon in their toasters.

LBB>What was your favourite part of working on the project?

Will> Love is pain and pain is creating a book. Would do it again though.


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Genres: Storytelling

Motion Sickness, Tue, 10 Jan 2023 05:55:53 GMT