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BCITO – Stakeout (2020)

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This ad from BCITO deploys humour to persuade young New Zealanders to consider a career in construction. It focuses on a dad whose son has started a construction apprenticeship, rather than follow in the family tradition of studying for a degree. Unwilling to let go of the image of his son in a ‘long flowing gown’ at graduation, our determined dad launches a farcical stakeout.


The topline idea is strong: a dad hell-bent on proving his son has made the wrong decision, and willing to go to ludicrous lengths to prove it. It’s almost a sitcom. We love the fast pace, and the mix of visual and verbal gags. The character is believable and consistent — Dad’s disdain for everything about the apprenticeship is clear, from despairing that it’s just ‘making stuff out of wood,’ to being appalled by the age of the site boss — and the scene changes are quick, which gives the ad energy and helps pack a load of gags into a short runtime. The dry, cringe-comedy style of lines like ‘Don’t you like money?’ reminds us of shows like Flight of the Conchords (or maybe that’s just the NZ accent…). 

As for the message, it’s all there within the comedic scenes. Each humorous situation holds a little nugget of information about the realities of doing an apprenticeship — the qualification, time off, fun and friendships, learning a trade…it’s all there, and it’s all intentionally very attractive. Present your audience with a well-crafted joke, and your not-so-hidden message will sink in that much easier.

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