Hydro-Québec brings warning signs to life

Hydro-Québec is swapping out the familiar stick figures typically shown on safety signs for actual people in a safety campaign targeting the province’s construction workers.

“With one in 20 Quebecers working in the construction industry, Hydro-Québec wants to show that exposure to risks and hazards is real in a poster campaign that uses the industry’s visual codes,” said agency partner lg2 in a release announcing the campaign.

Running through November, the campaign uses a series of overhead shots to create scenes showing workers who’ve been injured on a construction site.

Placed near construction sites, the posters highlight three common causes of work site accidents: distraction, visibility and rushing. All of the ads feature the message “The dangers are very real.”

Alexandre Jutras, associate creative director at lg2, said that photographer Olivier Staub shot the action from a crane 25 feet in the air. “We tried to replicate the silhouettes on the pictograms as closely as possible to create a trompe-l’oeil
effect,” he said.

The posters are being supported by radio ads that use misdirection to capture attention. All of the ads feature language and sounds typically found in beer, renovation and utility vehicle commercials.

The beer ad, for instance, combines the music and language of traditional beer advertising, accompanied by the sound of a beer being opened and poured. “When the end of the week arrives, there’s nothing like enjoying a light and refreshing drink,” before the payoff: “A good week is a week without accidents.”

Another ad mimicking a truck ad features a gruff voiceover over a hard guitar soundtrack, stating “To complete your projects, you need strength and power. But even with a high-performance engine, safety must always be a priority.”

“To attract their attention, we used the codes of the ads that generally address our target to create a mislead and get our message across effectively,” said François-Julien Rainville , copywriter at lg2.

Chris Powell