Thursday, April 26, 2012

A really, really depressing bicycle safety campaign

The concept works, I think, in conveying the idea of "distance". But at first I wasn't sure who it was talking to, cyclists (keep your distance from cars) or car drivers (keep your distance from cyclists). I was also unsure whether the 1.5 m was supposed to give me a mental image of a car tailgating a bike, or vice versa, or whether it was how much clearance drivers need to give a bike while driving past one. But at least it got me thinking about the issue, I guess.

What the campaign succeeds at is conveying the emotions of sadness and regret. It is quite honestly the most depressing ad campaign I have seen in quite some time.

And that too can be a problem. Many ad consumers simply can't cope with negative emotions. They protect themselves and their consciences by mentally separating themselves from the ad. ("That's not me!") This is called defensive processing, and it is the sworn enemy of hard-hitting social marketing.

That said, I was still moved by this campaign. When I am behind the wheel, I try to be as respectful and cautious as possible of both cyclists and pedestrians. 

And as a cyclist? Let's just say that this campaign just confirms my fears about riding a bike in traffic.

Campaign by Y&R South Africa
Spotted on Ads of The World

1 comment:

  1. I do a multi-modal commute every day, so I get both sides of it too. I live a long way from work, so I drive the first part of my route, but I keep a foldable bicycle in my car, so I can ride the last few miles. It took me a while to get used to riding in traffic, and I do drive through the worst sections. I think it's important for drivers to notice cyclists though - I don't know how much that has to do with it, but sometimes I feel like they're just not looking for not cars.