Advertising Safety – A Message for All this Festive Season

At this time of the year, we hear lots of messages on the TV and the radio extolling people to be safe, drive carefully and drink responsibly.  I have particularly noticed two advertisements on the TV that have attempted to push this safety message; each attempting to push the emotional buttons to get people to heed this important message.

The first is an advertisement from the Victorian Transport Accident Commission with local Police officers stating that they will be out in force over the festive season to catch people if they drink too much.  The advertisement shows images of police officers going up to the front door of a house to tell the occupant the terrible news that their loved one has been killed in a car crash.  The emotional pull here is of the woman in the house wailing when she hears the news.  Other ads from this agency in the past have shown the result of car crashes, of victims with head injuries and other disabilities, of what happens when people fool around while driving.

The second safety-oriented advertisement is from the Victorian Worksafe organisation, stressing how important it is to be safe at work.  This advertisement shows a typical family scene – at home with the kids fighting over the remote control and  Mum having to referee.  The TV then shows a brief news clip of the aftermath of an explosion at a work site with the family then questioning whether that was where the father was working that day.  You see the tension with the Mum trying to shield the daughter from her own concern which is alleviated when Dad walks in the door saying did you hear about the explosion and the daughter coming up and giving him a big hug for being home safe.

Each of these advertisements is trying to get across the message of the importance of safety, not just for you, but for your family as well.  The second worksafe advertisement breaks me up whenever I see it while the first one fails to provide that emotional connection for me.  Each has 30 seconds get the message across, one worked, the other not as well.  The reasons why the worksafe one works for me is that I have a similarly aged daughter and I can connect with the scene of coming home, that it builds suspense throughout the ad, that it tells a story from the family’s point of view rather than that of others such as the police, even though you do not know if anyone has been hurt.  It clearly shows the importance of effective story telling, and how that can be done in a short 30 second commercial.

I wish you a very SAFE and wonderful festive season!

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