Driving over the speed limit is one of the most common reasons for traffic-related deaths globally. Nevertheless, Belgians consider speeding a socially acceptable act. The Belgian Institute for Road Safety (BIVV/IBSR) wanted to increase awareness of the consequences of speeding and engage people in public debate on the topic.
Peers and loved ones have much more impact on target audiences than traffic security organisations. By illustrating the emotional state of close friends and family upon one of the consequences of speeding accidents, death, we made the target group take responsibility for their actions. “Went too fast. Gone too soon.” made real people with a history of speeding face a setup of their own funeral.
We prepared the funeral stunt event, documented by hidden cameras. The funeral was hosted by friends and family of speeders, while they were sitting in the audience, touched with emotion from their loved ones’ speeches.
To reach a broad audience with a limited budget, we used the film from the event and promoted it with a combination of PR and Online promotion. PR was crucial in the initial launch, as well as to spark engagement. A press conference, press release and follow-up boosted the online film.
As of day 1, the debate was on: media featured news reports, editorials, opinions, interviews and surveys. The online campaign film immediately went viral: 1.6 million views in 48 hours. The campaign went beyond objectives, becoming the most successful road safety campaign in terms of visibility, debate and appreciation in Belgium.
To reduce the social acceptance of speeding, we needed to increase awareness about the consequences of speeding. For this, we needed to generate visibility in Belgian media and reach 150.000 campaign impressions.
Identified from client’s research, the most likely to drive beyond the speed limit were men aged 25 to 40, therefore this was our primary target group. More widely, we targeted all Belgian drivers.
Analysing the client’s previous campaigns, we concluded that to reach our goals, we could use family and close peers to deliver the message for us, as they are the ones our target would listen to.
With €0 media spending we earned €8.8 million Belgian media value in just 48 hours, and press coverage reached 81% of the target audience. In 2 days, the video got 1.6 million views Youtube and 93% like-rate. Today, we estimate at least 15 million views on multiple international online media. The campaign went viral in 187 countries, with people generating their own translations.
The press called it “the most talked about, confronting campaign ever” (Het Nieuwsblad, 08/04/2014), AdvertisingAge mentioned it as “#8 most viral ad worldwide”.
As for our objectives, awareness of the risks of speeding rose to 70% and the awareness rate of drivers’ control over how fast they drive to 80%. We observed a decrease in the social acceptance of speeding and increased intention to drive slower. As a result of these changes in behaviour, we expect a decrease in the number of accidents and victims on Belgian roads.
The stunt event involved speeders, who we asked to join an event, not realizing that event was a funeral. As the commemoration started, they saw their family and friends giving a speech, recognizing the funeral was their own. The only people we briefed about the stunt were the ones giving the speeches.
The PR execution started with a press conference with the Belgian Deputy Prime Minister, the Secretary of State for Traffic Security, the Head of the Federal Police and Belgian Institute for Road Safety. They showed and commented on a teaser of the film. A press release sent to all media contained the link to the online film.
In parallel, the film was launched through online channels: The Belgian Institute for Road Safety’s campaign website and social media, the YouTube channel. Our PR team contacted most relevant and influential journalists and bloggers.
In Belgium, more then 300 people die every year in car accidents related to excessive speed. This makes speeding the main reason for traffic-related deaths. Nevertheless, speeding is still considered a socially acceptable act: more than 61% of Belgians feel it is OK to drive beyond speed limit.
The Belgian Institute for Road Safety (BIVV/IBSR) aims to promote traffic safety, sustainably reducing the number of traffic victims. “Go For Zero” is the name of their long-term campaign.
Since peers and loved ones have much more impact on target audiences than traffic security organisations, we used this insight to shock real speeders and portray them as personas our target could identify with. Attending their own funeral meant the speeders heard speeches from their loved ones and saw them cry with the thought “Went too fast. Gone too soon.”
The hidden cameras documented this outburst of emotions and we thereafter used this footage to produce a short film, with the intention to reach a maximum of 5.3 million Belgian drivers and their closest peers. With virtually no media budget, we used a combination of PR and Online to reach our goals.