Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Slow down, eh?

Yesterday, the Winnipeg Police Service launched its "Just Slow Down" campaign to reduce traffic injuries and deaths by trying to convince drivers to reduce their speed.

The feature of the site is a "Webisode" featuring a short melodrama about a group of teens on their way home from playing basketball, and an impatient businessman tearing up the road. Of course it ends in graphic tragedy.

The video, and the PSAs, can be viewed at this link. Unfortuntaley, the Winnipeg Five-0 have decided not to make the videos shareable through YouTube or other social media. While there is some user-generated content, the site itself is pretty rigid.

According to the site:

"While there are a variety of factors that may cause a collision, speed is deadly. Faster speeds exponentially increase vehicle damage and the seriousness of injuries in a collision. In fact, 1 out of 5 collisions result in serious injury or fatality."

Just Slow Down seems to focus on vehicle vs. vehicle collisions, particularly at intersections. A few years ago, I was doing work with Transport Canada of vehicle vs. pedestrian collisions. They gave me even more eye-opening stats similar to these ones at their Safe Kids Canada site:

"Children are more likely to be struck by a car in areas with higher speed limits. In fact, there is a direct correlation between an increase in vehicle speeds and the increase of the risk of injury. A pedestrian struck by a car traveling at 50 km/hr is eight times more likely to be killed than a pedestrian struck at 30 km/hr. and even small reductions in speed can be significant. For each 1.6 km/hr reduction in average speed, collision frequency is reduced by five per cent. Reducing vehicle speed has been proven to be effective in preventing crashes and reducing the severity of injuries. At a speed of 30km/hr, vehicles and pedestrians are able to co-exist with relative safety, which means that drivers have sufficient time to stop for pedestrians, and pedestrians can make better crossing decisions."

A 1997 study by another client, the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF), found that approximately 5.4 million Canadians admitted to excessive speeding.

Speed kills. People need to be reminded of that. So this is an important initiative for Winnipeg. The video may not be the most compelling bit of social marketing I've seen this week, but I hope at least next time Winnipeg Police Service will take notice of Embrace Life's decision to produce an elegantly simple PSA and share it with the world.


  1. Their intentions were there ... but this has been done before (see your own links). The Welsh version trumped the 'success' of this similar campaign by far. Although the acting and direction shouldn't matter too much, in this case it does. It's awful.

    The message and the intention are right-on, but why are we simply trying to imitate, when we could have been so much more creative? Let's not try to outdo others - let's be original.

  2. Yeah, unfortunately, i have to agree about the acting… but the message is definitely there.

    You've probably seen this award-winning ad, but I think it shares a certain elegance with the 'Embrace Life' campaign:

  3. This is a great one too.


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  5. @O Cullen: "Their intentions were there ... but this has been done before".
    Simple recall might actually be a good thing in this case. Afterall, it seems like this type of ad is less about immediate behavioral change than it is about restructuring cognitive structures related to speeding.
    Ps: needed to edit, sorry for the double post.