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Can These Safety Earworms Persuade Cyclists to Ditch the Headphones?

24/12/2018
Publication
London, UK
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Bike for Brussels hopes that by lodging catchy classics in cyclists’ heads, they won’t need to use headphones to listen to music while the bike, writes LBB’s Laura Swinton
As everyone who has done a cycling safety course knows, headphones are not a good idea when you’re riding around on two wheels. Your favourite tunes and podcasts may help pass the time but they also block out ambient noise – meaning you might not hear that fast-approaching bus.

That’s why creative agency mortierbrigade has teamed up with Bike for Brussels to launch ‘Safety Earworms’, a clever campaign designed to persuade cyclists to leave their headphones in their panniers. The campaign works by lodging so-called ‘earworms’ – impossibly catchy tunes that can bounce around your head for hours – in the minds of cyclists. No need for headphones when you’ve got Eiffel 65 ‘classic’ Blue rattling round and round and round… da ba dee, da ba daa…

The focal point of the campaign is a new radio programme, launched in collaboration with local Belgian radio station Bruzz. The show is called The Earworm of the Day and it will be amplified via various media channels.  The agency hopes that this will remind Brussels’ cyclists that the sound environment plays an important role in road safety and to offer a safe alternative to riding with headphones on by putting music in their head.

Camille Thiry, Spokesperson for Brussels Mobility said, “We are constantly looking for ways to raise awareness among people in Brussels about good behaviour when on the road. With this campaign, we have taken a very annoying phenomenon and turned it into a genuine opportunity. In this way, we are delivering an important message without moralising or making people feel guilty, but in a positive and creative manner.”

“Safety Earworms” is will be driving Brussels’ commuters demented over a ten day period. Different media lead listeners to this radio show while putting the earworms in cyclists’ heads at the same time with: cult song lyrics on posters, karaoke tv commercials, special Spotify playlists and even some of Brussels’ famous street musicians were hired to play the earworm of the day.
Ultimately, Brussels Mobility hope that the campaign will trigger positive behaviour change among the city’s cyclists and will encourage them to be more cautious and responsible.

“Travelling on the road requires attention not just to visual signs, but also to sounds”, explains Camille Thiry. “Audio clues, such as the sound of an engine, a car horn or a bicycle bell, help them to anticipate the behaviour of other users and avoid potential accidents.”

If you’re a glutton for punishment, you can listen to the earworms on Spotify
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