A powerful radio campaign in Belgium, by non-profit Parents of Road Victims, is using real-time data to play an ad every time someone is actually killed in a road accident in the country.
Agency Happiness Brussels conceived the project, which was inspired by the fact that, despite a 13% decrease in road traffic deaths compared to 2016, the country still has a high accident rate for its population of 11.5 million, with 640 people killed on the roads last year. Parents of Road Victims wanted to highlight that every death is one too many, and every person is someone's child.
The campaign, which began in February this year and will run until December, is triggered by real-time national police data, so that every time someone was reported killed in traffic, a pre-recorded radio spot with an updated number of victims airs instantly across five different radio channels simultaneously. Each spot was recorded by real-life parents of road victims.
The agency itself also experienced a chilling moment, as Geoffrey Hantson, chief creative officer of Happiness, explains: "The copywriter of this campaign lost a friend in a road accident. It was only afterwards that he realized that when he heard the radio ad announcing victim number 121 the previous afternoon, it was actually announcing that his friend passed away. It's an extremely sad example of what the campaign does: making everybody understand that behind the numbers and the statistics, it's real people dying."