Friday, January 29, 2010

Wow. Just wow.

UPDATE: The ad has been posted on YouTube.

Maybe it's because I'm at home, nursing a cold, today. But this PSA actually brought tears to my eyes. (Click the text link above to the embedded video in the campaign site, no YouTube yet.)

The UK campaign has already been covered by two industry blogs I follow, Osocio and AdFreak, but I want to share it here with Acart staff, friends and clients because of the considerable road safety work we have done with Transport Canada, CAA, and the Traffic Injury Research Foundation.

When you're "selling" safety, the temptation is to scare people with worst case scenarios and bloody consequences like the interminable brutality of this distracted driving video (also from the U.K.):

But does that really work? It's hard for anyone, especially teens, to really imagine death as an outcome. The Embrace Life ad, on the other hand, aims for a much more influenceable demo/psychographic: responsible husbands and fathers. Me.

We have had many discussions with our clients at TIRF, and their partners in international law enforcement, about how to get people to make smarter decisions about driving based on positive messages rather than scare tactics. Images like this, however, blend both in a perfect symphony of emotion:

It's heart-wrenching and life-affirming at the same time. He has everything to lose, and so do they, over a simple decision that he makes several times a day.

Osocio has this quote from Embrace Life’s Writer and Director, Daniel Cox:

“It was central to the development of the project that we root the concept of wearing a seat belt firmly in the family domain, and create the advert so that it could be viewed by anyone of any age. Children are so important as opinion formers within their family that we felt it imperative to have a child take a pivotal role in relaying our message. One key aspect to the storytelling is that we developed Embrace Life to be non-language specific, so that the message wouldn’t become lost when viewed by visitors to, or residents of, the UK where English might not be their first language.”

I am professionally and emotionally devastated by this PSA. In the good way.


  1. I fully agree with your opinion. The creative solution seems so simple. Everybody who I show this PSA say Wow.

  2. Thanks, Marc!

    I just wish they had posted this on YouTube, instead of hosting it themselves. If you click now, you'll see that their servers are already under tremendous strain. Plus, why not make it more shareable?

  3. @Tom That was the first thing I asked their Communications Manager :-)
    They want all traffic to their own website. I explained that it is more important to reach a bigger audience by using YouTube and other platforms. They will come with a YouTube version, I don't know when. I guess they will change the pay off before putting it elsewhere.

  4. Good afternoon

    I'm the Communications Manager for the Sussex Safer Roads Partnership - YouTube version should be online within the hour!

  5. Looks like somebody beat you to the punch:

    Now you'll get a Brazilian views...

  6. The advert is now officially released worldwide through YouTube!

  7. Great! It'll go a lot further that way.

  8. Wow! That's one of the best ads I've ever seen. On top of everything else, I like the association between wearing a seatbelt and being hugged, when most other messages treat seatbelts as a restraint (=negative).

  9. Hi David
    Glad you like it :) We thought that it was one way of changing the way of looking at the seat belt into something just a little different...