Jamie Morton is the NZ Herald's science reporter.

'Ghost chips' star heads back to school

The billboard and message Darcey-Ray Flavell-Hudson has taken back to his old school. Photo / supplied
The billboard and message Darcey-Ray Flavell-Hudson has taken back to his old school. Photo / supplied

The young star of the hugely popular "ghost chips" anti drink-driving commercials has returned to his old high school to promote a new billboard on the campaign.

And Darcey-Ray Flavell-Hudson says he would be keen to star in more of the adverts, which has had close to 2 million views on YouTube since it began screening in November.

The 18-year-old said "heaps of people" recognised in the street for the adverts by fans, who often repeated its famous lines: "You know I can't grab your ghost chips" and "I've been internalising a really complicated situation in my head."

"Young and old come up to me and say, you're that fulla off the ghost chips ads, and I say, 'yes, yes, that's me, that's me'.... I enjoy it, it's cool."

This morning at Rotorua's Western Heights High School, where he graduated last year, he posed for photographs alongside Associate Transport Minister Simon Bridges and local MP Todd McClay as one of the large billboards, prominently displayed on one if the school buildings, was formally unveiled.

"It's good to see my face up there... I was here for five years so this just makes it all better," Darcey-Ray said.

He admitted he found his lines in the commercial slightly odd when he first read them.

"I thought it was over the top, but nah, nah, it was good, it was just right... especially that 'internalising' bit... that was good."

When told the advert was now New Zealand's most popular educational video of all time, hew said: "That's cool, that's mean... it's good to know people are taking heed of what the ad was trying to say."

"It's had a very big impact and I'm proud to know that I helped make this as successful as it is."

Darcey-Ray, who arrived dressed in baggy grey trackpants and a polar-fleece bush shirt, said he would like to see the billboards go up at other schools around the country and would be happy to star in more ads.

"Whatever they throw at me, I'll do it."

The school's health head of department Wendy Hague conceived the idea and was able to obtain the large weather-proof billboard with help from Mr McClay.

She said Darcey-Ray was looked up to by her students.

"Those who don't remember him from the ads recognise him from the movie Boy anyway - he's got all this pressure on him now as the kids will all be watching him to see what he's up to."

School student and Students Against Drink Driving leader Alana Duncan
said: "I reckon it's pretty cool because it's something everyone can relate to - rather than having someone official telling us, it's good coming from a peer."

He has just finished his latest production - the Kiwi movie Mt Zion, where he stars alongside Stan Walker - and after the launch is supporting his younger sister audition for New Zealand's Got Talent.

Mr Bridges said the "ghost chips" commercial needed to be powerful.
"The age group the advert is aimed at are much more likely to die on our roads than other groups."

- NZ Herald

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