Boy-racers responding to a sales advert for a bargain car heard how the supposed "owner" crashed and killed a child, as part of an anti-street racing campaign.
Advertising agency Ogilvy ran the campaign for Waitakere City Council over two weeks last month, putting notices for a bargain $8000 Subaru WRX Impreza online.
Almost 1000 callers rang the contact number supplied and were greeted by the "seller" Jake - in reality an actor with a shocking message. "It's, uh, pretty quick. So f****** quick; I didn't even see her. By the time I did she was under the f****** car."
70 per cent left blank messages, while some were left silent for 20 seconds before hanging up.
5 per cent of callers said sorry or offered condolences then asked if Jake could call them back.
5 per cent had someone who either didn't believe the message or who suspected something.
20 per cent had someone offering to buy the car without even mentioning the crash or Jake's situation.
Outgoing Waitakere Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse said the campaign was a pre-emptive strike.
"If it makes one person think twice about speeding past a school, if it makes one person think twice about speeding past when the police pull them over or one person from drinking and driving and saves a life, then it's a good thing."
Ogilvy's Matt Williams helped to develop the campaign, which he said engaged directly with people who would buy a WRX.
"We hope the underlying message got through to these listeners, many of whom would probably be involved in street racing. A certain kind of person buys a car like Jake's.
"If it at least gets them thinking about what the effect of their driving could be, not only on their own lives but also others in the community, we've made a difference."
He said he was dumbfounded by some of the responses. One wanted to buy the car and offered to make a donation to the girl's family, but many others were not concerned in the slightest. That showed there was still more work to do to get the safer-driving message through, he said.
Hey, this is Jake. Sorry I can't be there. If you're calling about the car, yeah it's for sale. $8000 or near offer. If you're keen, just leave me a message and I'll get back to you when I can. It's an'04 WRX Sti manual, and it's done around 50,000km. I've had it probably six months. It's got an aftermarket turbo, intercooler, big bore, fully adjustable suspension. It's, uh, pretty quick. So f****** quick, I didn't even see her. By the time I did she was under the f****** car. She was 6 years old, for f**** sake. And the look on her mother's face. Look, um, if you want to just make me an offer and take it away. I can't stand looking at the f****** thing anymore. Whatever you do, don't drive it like I did.
Hey g'day Jake it's ... here again. I'm probably sounding like a bit of a hassler, um, just ringing up re the car. What I want to do is offer you what you're wanting for the car and something extra that you can donate to the family of the child that you ran over. If you're able to get in touch with me to work something out that would be awesome.