Thursday, January 11, 2018

In his shoes

The video above is a New Zealand public service TV ad. This country has a long history of running somtimes confronting ads promoting road saftey, one way or another. In that sense, this ad is just another of those. And yet, it’s not.

In past years, the road safety ads were often quite graphic—though not as graphic as Australian road safety ads of the same period. That ended around the turn of the century when the NZ ads stopped being so graphic, and instead began to use humour or matter-of-fact delivery, but not any crash-related injury or death was usually just implied.

This ad revives some of the techniques of the original ads, including graphic depictions of crash scenes and their aftermath. Having the main actor speaking directly to the camera is a little unusual for these ads, though. In this case, it featured a cop showing the consequences of too much speed, which the NZ Police has said is a factor in nearly all crashes, even when it’s not the main cause, by which they mean it makes crashes worse, with more injury and even deaths than may have happened at lower speeds. This is a debatable assertion, but the point of the ad is to get people to see that there are consequences to driving too fast. That’s a very worthy goal in itself.

Favourite line: “Everyone thinks they drive well. But I’ve never seen anyone crash well.”

Very true, that.

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