To change behaviors, nothing has more impact than the experience of danger. We thought: Why does always an accident has to happen first to make people realize the danger? How can we create a huge mass media impact – without a single actual crash impact?
The creative idea of this campaign was born: make people experience the fear of getting hit by a car and transform this individuals’ experience into a raised awareness mass campaign targeting the largest number of people.
Impact – without an impact.
Starting on March 22nd, we held an unprecedented field operation in Paris. A specially designed interactive digital billboard was consecutively displayed near busy pedestrian crossings all over the Paris area. Equipped with a motion detector, speaker, and camera, the smart billboard made the sound of squealing tires whenever a pedestrian attempted to cross the road while the Red Man (no crossing sign) was on. The frightened faces of disobedient pedestrians were projected directly onto the billboard and shown alongside the caption: Don’t risk looking death in the face. Check the lights and cross safely.
QR Codes on the Billboard led to video messages of real crash survivors. Pedestrians could then take a pledge not to cross on red light anymore and contribute their picture to the campaign. We used the pictures of the frightened faces as posters created under real-life conditions and used the film as an online awareness-raising tool.
More than an amazing number of views of the video and a high engagement level, this Virtual Crash Billboard video really started the conversation. In a few days, the topic of pedestrian and drivers co-existence became an n°1 topic in main French news websites, TV channels, and social networks.
Rapidly, the campaign started its “organic” world tour. The figures exploded and the Virtual Crash Billboard largely spread worldwide. More than 15 TV shows, 100 global news digital platforms and thousands of posts on social networks linked to the campaign appeared.
Only 2 weeks after the campaign launch, we counted 6 million organic views, 250.000 interactions, and 18 million total impressions, but six months later, as far as we are aware of, we count:
- 80 MILLION ORGANIC VIEWS
- 3 MILLION INTERACTIONS
- 1.500.000.000 IMPRESSIONS
Last but not least, several foreign Safety Road Departments asked us to duplicate the operation.
The Virtual Crash Billboard is a campaign conceived for the Parisian Road Safety Authority which involves the public in a direct and immediate way. This one starts with a stunt. Taken in an obvious offense of carelessness, pedestrians will experiment the danger of their behavior. In real-time, they will become the actors of the advertising campaign which targets them directly. This real-time outdoor campaign was including a QR Codes leading to messages of crash survivors, a pledge and the option to contribute to the campaign. With just a billboard, we launched a huge conversation about crossing on the red light.
In terms of road safety, French people are particularly disobedient towards road safety rules. This is true for drivers and for pedestrians too. Rather than repeating the rules again, we decided to make people experience the unique moment when one faces an imminent danger. We created the conditions of this special moment. We used the pictures of the frightened faces of these people as posters created under real-life conditions. We used the video recording of the moment as an on-line awareness-raising tool. A QR code on the billboards led to messages from real crash survivors. Pedestrians were then asked to take a pledge not to cross at red lights anymore and to contribute with their picture to the campaign.These were displayed on digital billboards and shared online.