To Encourage Safer Driving, Roadside Reminders Trump TV Ads

Initiative Takes Message to the Streets, and Car Fatalities Drop

Published on .

Brand: Fondo De Prevencion Vial
Brand Owner: Fondo De Prevencion Vial
Category: Financial
Region: Colombia
Date: July 2003 to December 2003
Media Agency: Initiative
Other Agency: Francisco Moreno (Freelance)
Media Owner: N/A

Colombia's roads are dangerous places. International statistics show that the country is the fifth most risky place in which to get behind a steering wheel. More than 20 people are killed per 100,000 each year. The insurance business has tried to encourage better driving through the Fondo De Prevencion Vial, a private fund that aims to reduce accidents.


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Media agency Initiative had reviewed the group's communications policy and found it wanting. First, graphic TV ads had been bought around the holiday season when accident rates were at their highest. Though this seemed logical, few people were actually at home to see the messages. Those who saw the ads did so while in the comfort of their living rooms. Initiative and the fund worked with the police and city authorities to reach drivers in their cars, not in their homes.

The agency appropriated a rural Colombian tradition of marking the site of road accidents with a black cross. Adapted emblems were taken into the cities. In fact, they were taken to the most appropriate places -- the accident sites. Everywhere someone had died in their cars, Initiative painted a black star on the road.

This ambient activity was backed with mainstream media. Although previous graphic TV ads had delivered a 5% reduction in accidents, the crosses produced a more impressive result. Research in 2004 showed that between July and December 2003, the death toll from car accidents dropped 34% year-over-year -- a testament to a better understanding of psychology and a far less hectoring approach.

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Cream is a U.K.-based magazine owned by C Squared Communications aimed at highlighting the best in creative media worldwide. All media ideas are part of C Squared's Creative Media Database. www.csquared.cc

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