At Te Tari Taiwhenua Department of Internal Affairs, we have a role in helping keep people, especially children and young people, safe online. Research tells us that:
- 40% of young Kiwis have online interactions with people they’ve never met in real life
- One in 5 Kiwis are bullied online every year
- Many young people are learning about sex from pornography
- Kids can go from watching appropriate online content to inappropriate content at the click of a button
This can lead to feelings of vulnerability, isolation, depression and anxiety and, in some cases, can lead to physical harm offline.
What is Keep It Real Online?
Keep It Real Online is a New Zealand Government public awareness campaign to support our tamariki and rangatahi to be safe online. It is led by the Department of Internal Affairs.
A public awareness campaign like this is needed as the nature and type of online harms are dynamic and evolving quickly.
It’s also needed because the internet is out of our jurisdiction, so we can’t rely on our legal frameworks to stop online harm. Instead we need to inform New Zealanders of the harms and provide them with support to be safe. That sounds easy, but it is not. We needed to be a little creative and out of the box to get everyone’s attention.
We are working with Auckland-based creative agency Motion Sickness on the campaign.
There are currently three parts to it: one aimed at parents and caregivers, another at young people (school aged teens) and a third at primary school children.
Keep It Real Online for parents and caregivers
In July 2020, we launched a series of ads showing parents and caregivers how to help their children and young people manage online bullying, inappropriate content, pornography and grooming.
Where you may have seen the campaign
- TV, radio, newspapers, on social media and on billboards and posters.
We also reached people overseas: there have been over 40 million views of the videos on social media and it’s been profiled by news media all over the world. Some of the ads have also been used in South Korea and in a documentary in Spain.
Where you can see it now (as it's finished running)
Here’s what it cost (excluding GST)
- Budget: $1.5 million.
- Production costs: $550,000
- Advertising: $890,336
- Website development and hosting: $55,000
- Total cost: $1,495,336
The Eggplant is a drama-crime-comedy-online-web-series to help young Kiwis safely navigate the internet. It launched in December 2020. The humour and issues are aimed squarely at people aged 12-18 years – if you don’t know the double meaning of an eggplant emoji, then this probably isn’t aimed at you.
Online harms addressed in The Eggplant include bullying, using pornography to learn about sex, grooming by people young people don’t know and sending and receiving nudes.
It stars some very talented young people, Kiwi icons Karen O'Leary (Wellington Paranormal) and Tammy Davis (Outrageous Fortune) and a few other familiar faces.
The Eggplant was made for young people with young people. We’d like to thank everyone involved especially the youth advisory group reps who provided advice on The Eggplant.
Internationally, The Eggplant is being used by a non-government organisation in the UK and has been translated into Finish and is available in Finland.
Where you may have seen the campaign advertised
- TVNZ OnDemand, YouTube, social media, footpath stickers outside schools and on billboards and posters.
Where you can watch it
Here’s what the campaign cost (excluding GST)
- Budget: $2.1 million (including The Inter-Yeti – see below)
- Production costs: $914,100 (this includes the cost of both eggplant props, which was $11,600 in total)
- Advertising: $225,000
- Initial promotion of The Eggplant (launch): $7,968
- Total cost: $1,147,068
To put this in context, commercial campaigns like beer ads can cost between $400,000 and $900,000 to produce a 60 or 90 second ad. For the same money, we made 77 minutes of TV.
The campaign also employed over 200 people and 60 local businesses.
Fun fact about the Eggplant
Did you know… two eggplants were made for the mini-series, one for filming and the other to be smashed by Principal Morris in episode five. No environment was harmed in the destruction of the eggplant. Its parts were responsibly recycled.
The remaining eggplant prop was driven around Auckland on a trailer to promote the series until it literally fell apart. RIP giant papier mache eggplant.
The Eggplant returns!
In September 2021, we launched a special report special episode of The Eggplant about misinformation.
Many young people find it challenging to tell fact from fiction online or don’t know how to check the accuracy of information. This can have consequences in the real world and can lead to young people making decisions that aren’t based on reliable information.
Making the episode and promoting it cost $309,600 (excluding GST).
You can watch the episode on YouTube(external link).
The Inter-Yeti is a digital storybook which has been created as a safe, positive and fun space for children to learn about staying safe online. It covers topics such as online bullying, inappropriate and upsetting content, online grooming and sharing private and personal information.
Being a parent or caregiver in the digital age can be challenging. The internet is a great place to connect with family and friends, learn, play games and watch videos and TV programmes. But it can also have downsides for our tamariki, rangatahi and young people.
The Inter-Yeti is free to use and suitable for children aged 5-11 years old. You can check it out here: The Inter-Yeti - Lost on a Wild Webventure.(external link)
The Inter-Yeti is narrated by New Zealand singer and actor Stan Walker.
Where you may have see The Inter-Yeti advertised
- Social media and on billboards and posters.
Where you can read it
Here’s what the campaign cost (excluding GST)
- Budget: $2.1 million (including The Eggplant – see above).
- Production costs: $480,300
- Advertising: $176,500
- Total cost: $656,800
Here is what we achieved
What we wanted to achieve
What we achieved
Who else is involved in the campaign?
The campaign is led by the Department of Internal Affairs and was developed in consultation with our partner agencies.