There are already very serious financial penalties for cartel conduct, but from April this year the maximum penalty will be 7 years’ jail.

“From our face to face advocacy work we know there is low awareness about what cartel conduct is and that it’s illegal, so it’s important that people understand that there will soon be prison as a potential penalty. We needed a strong campaign to raise awareness and we are very pleased with the success of this campaign so far,” said Commission Chair Anna Rawlings.

The ‘Scene of a crime’ campaign debuted in late October and November 2020, featuring two videos which depict illegal cartel conduct:

  • two building company owners fix prices by agreeing to manipulate bids for a job
  • two real estate agents engage in market allocation by agreeing to stop competing for listings; one will stay north of ‘Main Road’, and the other will stay south.

The camera then pulls out to reveal CRIME SCENE tape.

The videos played as ‘pre-roll’ ads on multiple websites and were supported by display advertising on the mobile apps of Stuff and the NZ Herald, and on Facebook and Instagram.

“The first ‘flight’ of media activity delivered spectacular results for the Commission, well exceeding what we had hoped to achieve. Our NZ Herald and Stuff ads drove huge spikes of traffic to the cartel criminalisation page on the Commission website, and there was really pleasing level of engagement with our social media advertising,” said Ms Rawlings.

The NZ Herald placement drove more than 8400 clicks to the Commission site, where average performance for the placement is usually about 1,600.

In total the October/November 2020 media activity delivered more than 6.7 million impressions, and the ads were clicked on more than 57,000 times.

“Because the campaign numbers were so strong we decided to expand it for the second ‘flight’ of activity in February/March this year, by adding radio. The radio ads depict price fixing on the golf course and at a summer barbecue, and market allocation on a fishing trip. We feel these scenarios will resonate with an even wider audience than the videos, and help get the message out there,” said Ms Rawlings.

The campaign creative content was devised and produced by Rainger and Rolfe with media strategy from Tilt Digital.