If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Brilliant, again

Last February, I posted a safety video from Sussex Safer Roads Partnership. The message was just the usual 'wear your selt-belt', but the concept was highly creative and its execution was excellent, and the ad won many awards. Briefly, a man sits in a chair in his living room, pretending to drive a car. He sees an (imaginary) accident developing, and his wife and daughter rush to clasp him into his chair just before the impact. If you haven't seen it before, go and do so now. It's stunning, and I can't watch it even now without getting something in my eye.

The Partnership have now come up with one for bikers, called 'Stay A Hero'. It was made by the same company, Alexander Commercials, and has a similar creative slant. I can see this winning awards too.

These two have a much greater impact on me than almost any other safety 'commercial' I have seen. I think it's because they don't set out to frighten, or threaten, or induce guilt. They work on love rather then fear, on positive emotions rather than negative, and they work superbly.


  1. I wonder why the burghers of Sussex stumped up for those adverts?

    They're good-enough to have been given a national audience; and centrally funded.

    [Maybe it it was the speedsters in Sussex whose fines financed them?]

  2. The bike one brings back many fond memories.

  3. Excellent Video. I also bloged it!

  4. If only all the hectoring, nagging safety adverts were produced by this firm...

  5. Joe, I guess the money has to come from somewhere. If all the fines revenue went into producing things of this quality, I don't think people would mind half as much. After all, the message itself is totally uncontroversial.

    Roger: good man, spread the word!

    Julia: absolutely right.

  6. Not a dry eye in the house.

    As you say, safety ads that work, because they work with us rather than nagging us.

  7. Great ad. Thanks for posting.

  8. @Joe - Speedsters in Sussex? I resemble that remark...touch wood, have only ever paid the one fine for it though.

    I'm not averse to the local approach to bikes and bikers, in all honesty. They do make a reasonable effort to promote awareness of two-wheelers and they don't take any particular interest in making our lives especially difficult.

    There's plenty that does get my back up: an over-zealous desire for ridiculous traffic-calming measures, for one, or the obsessional interest in posting arbitrary, sub-NSL speed limits all over the shop. They're not anti-bike, though: just annoying for everybody.

    In their defence, I'd probably have to admit that we must have more than our fair share of the worst drivers in Britain, largely crammed into the extensive and badly congested urban areas. It's generally quite an affluent part of the world, so there are an awful lot of vehicles with a disproportionate bias towards big, shiny, expensive cars driven by overprivileged yoofs, myopic coffin dodgers, school-run mums and brain-dead commuters. In my experience, none of these demographics go out of their way to improve their driving abilities, or do enough milage to develop a bit of road sense. That does also carry over into the two-wheeled arena: if you ever need a nearly-new, ultra-low-mileage sportsbike that's yet to see a raindrop, Sussex is a good place to start looking...

    The attrition rate for bikes*, we are told, is therefore allegedly quite high - although I don't recall ever seeing a decent "league table" by county to compare it with anywhere else. A few years back there was a steep 50% percentage rise in accidents - it's tailed off again since, but it did kick off this steady drip-feed of bike-awareness (and biker compulsory-reeducational) measures. Probably worth the effort, all in all, and I bet this (surprisingly tasteful) advert cost less to make than buying just one of the unmarked BMWs, Audis and Mercs** that the local traffic plod tend to use.

    * And, I suspect, for other vehicles, too. Particularly in the minor collision bracket.

    ** Well, you gotta blend in with the locals, to be fair.


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