About 75 years ago the Works Progress Administration (WPA) developed the Federal Art Project (1935-1943) to employ out-of-work artists as part of Roosevelt’s New Deal program to help the U.S. recover from the Great Depression. The artists created various artwork for public buildings, tourism, health, safety and events. The collection includes several posters with traffic safety topics with messages that are still relevant today.
Safe driving, 1943
(see the stoplight?)
I was surprised to see that they commissioned posters in Spanish, too! The Library of Congress has many of the Work Projects Administration posters digitally archived here.
Royal Society of the Prevention of Accidents in the United Kingdom also has a nice vintage traffic safety series created by artist Roland Davies in the 1960s, covering passing, bicycle and bus safety messages.
In the past year I have learned so much about pedestrian safety. I’ve worked on several safety topics over the last decade (drunk driving, distracted driving, safety belts, speeding), and pedestrian safety is definitely the most challenging. People often discount it as an elementary, look-both-ways “pedestrian” topic that isn’t relevant to their lives. But stats show that pedestrian safety is a critical issue for drivers and pedestrians. From a communication standpoint, there multiple audiences with a myriad of differing messages with no single point of decision, which makes it a wee bit complicated.
This campaign, created for the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ Street Smart program, was designed to capture attention, illustrate the vulnerability of the human body when flesh meets steel, and give specific calls to action. Here are the resulting ads.
Gamification is the use of game design dynamics and mechanics to solve problems and engage people involved in non-game activities. This type of strategy lends itself to communities, and has become more popular in marketing with social networking platforms. For fundraising, the most widespread gamification tactic is the classic donation “thermometer”, a visual representation of the overall goal and illustrates progress the community is making to reach that goal.
The installation incorporates several gamification qualities (appropriate for a video game exhibit, no?):
Entertainment: The display isn’t just a plea for funds, it’s a fun experience that plays off the exhibit itself. The installation is also graphically relevant to the topic as well.
Incentive/Rewards: This installation also plays to instant gratification. If you donate, you see your name on the wall in (almost) real time. It’s simple and on a small scale, but it allows the donor to participate within a group with common interests and actually become a part of the exibit itself. Donors also are entered to win monthly prizes.
Competition/Status: Leaderboards are one way to give the audience a platform to compete with each other. This scrolling “leaderboard,” inspired by the “High Score” screen of video games, showcases the donors’ names. The larger the donation, the bigger the name.
Game theory and gamification tactics fascinate me, and I’ll be looking for other examples in fundraising and social marketing to share. I’ve long preached that the need to understand incentives (and barriers) is critical to promote interactivity within digital media. Always ask yourself (or your team) “why would a user want to take this action?” Gamification answers this question with entertainment, challenges that give a sense of accomplishment, competition within a community, and rewards. I wager that gamification in marketing will continue to grow since it’s rooted in psychology and naturally builds in measureable results.
At any rate, this is fun and relevant fundraising for a video game exhibit!
haikus are so fun
too abstract for ads. PR?
either way, I smile
If you know me personally, you may know that I have a deep-seeded love for both haikus and puns. This effort combines both of these, so I guess I must be their target audience! “Curbside Haiku,” a safety education and public art campaign launched by New York DOT last fall, features street-sign-inspired art with safety-themed haikus. From a public art perspective, I love these. But from a social marketing perspective, I think they may be too indirect to be impactful (pun intended) and behavior-changing.
BUT they are fun to read! ¡Y Español tambien!
I’ve been doing a lot of research on pedestrian and bicycle safety lately, and it’s complicated issue. I would actually venture to say that it’s one of the most challenging traffic safety issues, maybe even beating out distracted driving (though they are related). Buckling up and driving sober are behaviors that ultimately have one major point of decision, whereas pedestrian/bicycle safety incorporates MANY behaviors throughout the person’s journey. AND there are multiple target audiences (drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists), which increases the complexity even more. Low-literacy groups are even-more at risk, so it’s critical to be very clear and direct in advertisements.
On the other hand, this project takes new life as a PR effort. Framed as art installations in collaboration with local writer and artist John Morse, it becomes a quirky news story. The creative effort also has a high factor of sharability online, gaining some traction on social media, the poetic street signs have been featured in BuzzFeed and Huffington Post. It gets people talking about pedestrian safety, which isn’t an easy task.
What I want to know is if I can get one on a t-shirt! Learn more about Curbside Haikus here.
When I think back to September 11th, 2001, it doesn’t seem like it was that long ago. It seems absurd that it happened before the dawn of social media. I think any American over the age of 25 remembers where they were on that morning eleven years ago.
The result of this tragedy was a swell of national unity and patriotism that connected us all, regardless of our differences. In less than a few weeks after that tragic day, GSD&M (Austin hometown agency) created a spot that simply conveyed that unspoken bond between Americans during that time. The spot still makes me be proud to be a part of such a diverse country, and it makes me long for that collective spirit in a time when the country seems so divided by politics.
In September 2001, Texas ad agency GSD&M created a PSA to celebrate the country’s extraordinary diversity and remind Americans that it was the time to unite as a country. And 10 years later, the message continues to resonate. Response to the PSAs in 2001 was unprecedented – the media donated $100 million in time and space in the first year, and Americans around the world voiced their support for such an important and timely message.
– AdCouncil, campaign partner
Earlier this year, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum hired Landor to design a new logo for their organization. The resulting graphic is again simple, but perfect in my opinion. If you’re really interested in typography, there’s a great NYTimes blog detailing the new logo design.
Lastly I want to share a new digital feature that the organization recently launched. Web firm Archetype designed and engineered this interactive timeline of the tragic events of 9/11, which includes audio recordings of the calls placed from hijacked planes, videos from people on the ground, and even images of the hijackers going through airport security. It’s unbelievable documentation and the content will make you shiver.
A couple of months ago I had the privilege to visit the 9/11 memorial in NYC. It is an amazing, solemnly beautiful place. It’s truly an incredible and humbling experience to visit. I also recommend the 9/11 exhibit at the Newseum in Washington, DC.
WARNING: Objects in mirror may be drunker than they appear (or vice versa).
Ogilvy Brazil, the agency that brought us the $73,000 Bar Tab and Drunk Valets has launched a innovative new drunk-driving-prevention effort dubbed the Drunk Mirror. Their previous street-level marketing incorporates candid-camera style escapades that target drinkers in and around bars. Their previous work focused on the costs and consequences of drunk driving, but this stunt dove a little deeper to educate drinkers on the effects of alcohol. “Impaired driving” is the pervading phrase in the traffic safety biz, but the target audience doesn’t use this terminology, and there’s evidence that they have little idea of what impairment really means.
The agency installed a “magic” mirror that used a digital camera to present a delayed reflection of the person looking into it. The experience mimicks the effect alcohol has on a person’s reflexes after drinking. Then the mirror reveals the message “This is how slow your reflexes are after only a few drinks. One advice: Don’t drink and drive.”
This attention-grabbing installation at the very least produced some buzz about buzzed driving, both in the bar and online.