Insurance brokers, Canada Safety Council take aim at distracted driving with social campaign

Who:  Insurance Brokers Association of Canada, Canada Safety Council and Agency59.

What: A new social media-led campaign timed to coincide with Distracted Driving Week (Dec. 1-7).

When & Where: It’s residing entirely on social, with an extensive presence across partner social channels and complemented by some paid advertising on Twitter. It focuses on two key distracted driving behaviours: Texting and eating.

Why:  The campaign takes direct aim at what is becoming entrenched behaviour among motorists, and an increasing factor in motor vehicle collisions. According to Transport Canada data, distracted driving was a contributing factor in 21% of fatal collisions and 27% of collisions resulting in serious injury in 2016. That was up from 16% and 22% respectively a decade earlier.

The Canadian Council of Motor Transportation Administrators says that just 1.7% of fatal collisions and 1.9% of collisions involving serious injury between 2010 and 2014 involved electronic communication devices.

But cellphone use is just one manifestation of distracted driving behaviour: Others include eating, adjusting music, heat or GPS, applying makeup and interacting with passengers in the vehicle.


How: It’s a low-budget campaign that delivers impact via its simplicity and channel selection.

The main element is a GIF that resembles the incoming text symbol on mobile devices, except in this case it’s expressed as a horizontal traffic light.

A second visual, aimed at curtailed eating while driving, features a squashed ketchup packet on a road surrounded by broken glass. It’s a visceral reminder of the perils of distracted driving.

“There’s a lot of social real estate to take advantage of, [but] not necessarily a lot of budget behind it, so that reinterpretation of the incoming text symbol as a traffic light was a natural fit,” says Brian Howlett, chief creative officer of Agency59.

The goal here is to create long-term changes in driver behaviour, although it’s likely going to take some time, says Howlett. An ideal outcome, he says, would be for the incoming text visual to become part of the anti-texting and driving iconography, much like the car keys in a cocktail glass became visual shorthand for the anti drinking and driving message.

And we quote: Driving is a potentially deadly task that requires full attention, say the IBAC and Canada Safety Council. “You wouldn’t take a call while operating a bulldozer; why do the same with a vehicle capable of going at much higher speeds?” (Actually, it seems some people would acually do that.)






Chris Powell