A round up of some of the most impressive campaigns that use innovation to save lives
Ad agencies have long been involved in road safety, communicating important messages around drink driving, speeding, seatbelts and crossing the road. But as the role of the agency has evolved and creative tech and innovation have become more prominent, creative agencies have also found themselves going far beyond communications. They’re devising tools, techniques and products that have the potential to actually make our roads safer.
Addison Capper rounds up some of the his favourite examples of the past few years.
1. Thai Health’s Road Safety Project - Helpmet
According to the WHO, Thai roads are the second most lethal roads in the world – only Libya has more road-related fatalities. Crashes on one of the country’s rural roads, where 80% of biking fatalities happen, are especially risky because there’s the chance that a rider won’t be discovered for hours, possibly days. To tackle this, BBDO Bangkok created in cooperation with Thai Health’s Road Safety Project the Helpmet, a helmet that detects head impacts and automatically calls for help.
2. HP Lubricants - Roads That Honk
The Jammu-Srinagar Highway in North India is renowned for its hairpin bends, making it one of the most dangerous roads in the whole world. ‘Roads That Honk, developed by Leo Burnett India, uses poles fitted with radar technology at key intersections along the highway to alert speeding drivers and avoid collisions.
3. Parisian Road Safety Authority - Virtual Crash Billboard
Wandering down the street with heads fixed firmly downwards, engrossed in smartphones, pedestrians these days can’t be relied upon to pay attention to their surroundings. This can be particularly dangerous when it comes to crossing roads. To tackle the issue for the Parisian Road Safety Authority, Serviceplan France created the Virtual Crash Billboard. When a person crossed a pedestrian crossing on a red light, the billboard made the sound of a car braking in an emergency, then automatically took a photograph of the shocked pedestrian and displayed it on a large screen next to the crossing with the message, ‘Don’t take the risk of facing death’.
4. Transport Accident Commission - Meet Graham
One of the big winners at this year’s Cannes Lions, Graham is far from a pretty sight - but he is an important one. Artist Patricia Piccinini, trauma surgeon Christian Kenfield and crash investigator David Logan created him as the central part of a Clemenger BBDO campaign for the Transport Accident Commission, and his purpose is to portray what humans might look like if we were designed to survive high speed impacts. It’s a wholly new of discussing road safety and deserves every one of its plaudits. Read more about it here.
5. Brake - Living Memories
Road safety campaigns have a tendency to focus on drivers instead of the effects of accidents on their victims. This amazing project by Y&R New Zealand and Weta Digital for road safety charity Brake turns that on its head by creating individual portraits of what five children who were tragically killed in a road accident would look like now. Read more about how the project came to life here.
6. Volvo - LifePaint
LifePaint is an amazing creation that when sprayed on clothing is completely invisible by day but will light up by night, thus making cyclists safer after dark. The campaign was created by Grey London and won two Grand Prix at Cannes Lions in 2015.
7. Samsung - Safety Truck
Argentina’s road system is largely made up of two-lane highways, thus making it particularly dangerous when overtaking, especially when the overtake involves a big, slow-moving lorry. To tackle the issue, and showcase some world class tech at the same time, Samsung and its agency Leo Burnett Argentina launched the Safety Truck. The vehicle has a wireless camera attached to the front of the truck, which is connected to a video wall made out of four monitors on the back of the tracks, meaning that drivers behind the truck can see what’s going on up ahead.
8. Samsung - Smart Windshield
Another Samsung-Leo Burnett effort here, this time from Italy, where 25% of accidents among young motorists are caused by smartphone usage while driving. Smart Windshield works aims to make motorcyclists safer by connecting riders’ smartphones to the windshield display, where it will display GPS navigator, text messages, emails and voice calls. They can choose to stop and answer or send an automated “I’m driving” reply.
9. 98FM - Safety Bike Radio
Safety Bike Radio is a portable radio transmitter that interferes with the frequency of a radio station up to 30 metres away, sending alert messages to drivers such as “there are cyclists around, keep a safe distance.” Created by Isobar Brasil and BSB Fab Lab for 98FM radio station, the project involves prerecorded messages, but cyclists are also able to record customised messages for drivers and communicate in real time.