Dairiona Ryan highlights innovative road safety campaigns from this year's Cannes Lions

In 2017, nearly 1.3 million people will die in traffic collisions across the world, with around 3,287 fatalities each day. For young people aged 15-29, road crashes are the leading cause of death – and according to the Association for Safe International Road Travel they’re predicted to become the fifth leading cause of death for any age group by 2030 unless preventative action is taken. The causes of these collisions can range from drivers being distracted by their phones to drunk driving, speeding and carelessness in adverse weather conditions.

This year’s Cannes Lions saw entrants from all over the world coming up with solutions to solve this longstanding problem. Entries came in from brands as well as governmental initiatives across nearly all categories, illustrating the novel and wide-ranging approaches being taken to make the roads a safer place. I’ve picked out five of my favourite Cannes entries encouraging a positive change in behaviour by road users.

Meet Graham

Created by artist Patricia Piccinini, aided by a trauma surgeon and accident research engineer, Graham is the only “human” developed to withstand trauma on our roads. This grotesquely fascinating model is meant to make people stop and think about their own vulnerability, and confront us with the powerful idea of what we would have to look like to survive car crashes.

Watch the video here.

By: Transport Accident Commission of Victoria
Agency: Clemenger BBDO Melbourne
Wins: 2 x Grand Prix, 8 x Gold, 15 x Silver, 1 x Bronze, 5 x Shortlist

AAMI Smartplates

AAMI Smartplates completely reinvents the way young drivers learn to drive, by transforming the old drive logbook into a real-time driving tracker and coach for their smartphone. When learners start a session, AAMI Smartplates automatically tracks practice hours, route choice, weather, road type and traffic conditions in real-time so they can find out where they’re getting experience and where they need work. It teaches them a new skill every session, and motivates them to practice in all conditions not just the easy ones, raising a more skilled and safer generation of drivers.

Watch the video here.

By: Suncorp
Agency: Ogilvy, Australia
Wins: 1 x Gold, 1 x Silver, 5 x Bronze, 4 x Shortlist

Virtual Crash Billboard

As you walk down the street in 2017, it is not uncommon to see many people with their head down absorbed in their smartphone’s screens, unaware and distracted from the world around them. This powerful outdoor campaign is designed to deter the most vulnerable road users – the pedestrians, from jaywalking and encourage them to be mindful of checking for traffic when crossing roads. The ‘Virtual Crash Billboard’ was installed in a busy Parisian street on 22nd March, equipped with a movement detector, speaker and camera. When a person crossed the pedestrian crossing on a red light, the billboard made the sound of a braking car’s screeching tires then automatically took a photograph of the shocked pedestrian. This photo was displayed on a large screen next to the crossing with the road safety message: ‘Don’t take the risk of facing death’.

Watch the video here.

By: Parisian Road Safety
Agency: Serviceplan, Paris
Wins: 1 x Silver, 2 x Bronze, 10 x Shortlist

Mr. Bear Driver

This campaign is based off the insight that drivers don’t listen to public warning about the dangers to excessive speed anymore, but they do listen to their children. Mr. Bear Driver was released as an anti-boredom app for children to play in the car, teaching them traffic rules and actively involving them in road safety while having fun. This quickly became the most popular game in Romania. When played in a moving car, the app uses GPS or Google Maps to track the speed and if the car is going more than 10kmph over the limit, the app asks the player to tell the driver to slow down. If they do not, the kids lose points and the game ends in a crash – this way making the children become safety partners on the road. Having produced tens of thousands of slowdowns in Romania, the game is now being implemented in other countries.

Watch the video here.


By: The Automobile Club of Romania
Agency: Publicis Romania
Wins: 2 x Silver, 2 x Bronze, 3 x Shortlist

Roads that Honk

HP Lubricants and Leo Burnett India installed the world’s first anti-collision vehicle management system at a hairpin bend along the Jammu-Srinagar highway in India. Named by National Geographic as one of the most precarious highways in the world, the #RoadsThatHonk campaign helps warn drivers of another oncoming vehicle on a blind turn. By using radar and wireless technology, two poles installed on a bend detect speeds of oncoming vehicles, then communicate with each other to alert approaching vehicles either side of the horn. The idea is that people react to the noise and slow down around the bend, which so far has significantly reduced fatalities according to local police.

Watch the video here.

By: HP Lubricants
Agency: Leo Burnett, India
Wins: 1 x Silver, 1 x Bronze, 10 x Shortlist

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