Distracted cooking campaign: Stay off the stove

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The challenge

Fire and Emergency attend an average of 4,159 residential house fires caused by unattended cooking each year. It’s the leading cause of fires we respond to and causes the most injuries.

But there are many more fires happening in New Zealand, and many more injuries, than those we respond to.

Looking across other data sources (from 2013-2017), Fire and Emergency attended 1,716 incidents resulting in injury, while ACC claims from fire related injuries over the same period was 6 times this (10,368 claims).

Overall, there is a high level of understanding of the risk of leaving frying food unattended and cooking while drunk or high among the public. These are the top two perceived risks of house fire.

The issues are established. But there are still some groups that remain unmoved.

The target audience

Our fire safety campaigns are designed based on an audience mindset segmentation model - you could think of these as personas that group people by their attitudes and behaviours towards fire safety.

The ‘Disengaged’ segment make up approximately 20% of the population. They are more likely to be male, young, working and living in big cities in shared rental accommodation. In terms of their attitudes and behaviours, they:

  • Have a relaxed approach to life
  • Actively avoid worry
  • Live in the here and now
  • Tend to be reactive
  • Don’t recognise fire safety as an issue


Our tracking research shows that the ‘Disengaged’ don’t see the behaviour of leaving food frying unattended, or cooking while impaired, as risky and therefore they do it.

This audience is hard to reach with traditional messages and channels. They don’t like being told what to do, they don’t fear fire, and any perceived lack of authenticity is an immediate turn off.

Our approach

‘You’re Cooked’, our new disruptive campaign to influence this segment, was designed to be unmissable and put fire safety on the radar for this segment in a way that feels relevant - it’s not our job to tell them to stop drinking or smoking, but it is our job to stop them from frying afterwards. We know through research they’re going to cook whether impaired or not, so we will encourage them to do so safely by helping them to “stay off the stove”.

The campaign launched on 28 November 2022 with two elements: a suite of recipes and a content from an on-street test kitchen activation.

  • We designed recipes catering specifically for drunk and/or high chefs.  Simple, delicious and requiring absolutely no stovetop frying (or oven use). Our recipes are the backbone of our campaign - living online and in a physical cookbook.
  • We created our own mobile test kitchen and took it for a night out in Auckland and engaged real punters to show them they can forget about the stove for their late-night feed, gathering plenty of content we can use to amplify our campaign – and our message – over time.

The campaign uses advertising on social media channels TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Tinder and YouTube, supported by radio and outdoor advertising. We’ve even popped up in bottle stores, in bar bathrooms and on drinks coasters to ensure our audience can’t miss us, right in that ‘pre-cooked’ moment.

The concept is evidence-based, has been tested with the target audience and our people and is designed to become a long-term platform to deliver our unattended cooking messages.

Success will be measured by:

  • A sustained increase in perceived risk of leaving frying food unattended among young people, flatters & the Disengaged.
  • A sustained decrease in claimed behavior of leaving frying food unattended among young people, flatters & the Disengaged.


The budget for the ‘You’re Cooked’ campaign is approximately $800k. This includes the production and media costs for a cookbook and test kitchen activation videos as well as all other supporting assets including radio, digital, social media and outdoor advertising. The campaign is considered a longer-term creative platform that can be expanded over the coming years.

Frequently asked questions

What does ‘You’re Cooked’ mean?

‘Cooked’ refers to an altered state of being, whether it be chemically enhanced or a result of sleep deprivation and/or sensory overload. Usually occurs in the midst of and/or aftermath of a rowdy social engagement or bender.

Did you use paid actors?

The ‘You’re Cooked’ chefs are regular members of the public, who stopped by our Test Kitchen during a night out to have a laugh and make one of our fire safe recipes. To ensure the safety of both participants and crew, we used the SCAB tool, designed by NZ Police and hospitality stakeholders, to identify level of intoxications and/or impairment in licensed premises across New Zealand. Once we knew what content we wanted to share with the public as part of the campaign, we reached out to all those featured to and gained their written permission and offered a fair wage. The Firefighter featured is one of our Qualified Firefighters, based in Auckland.

Where can I purchase the cookbook?

The ‘You’re Cooked’ cookbook is not currently for sale, but you can view the digital version of the cookbook(external link) online. If you see our people out at community events, they may have a mini version with them to giveaway.