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MEDIA: Street Cred Media Drives Home the Message Of Road Safety

 





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Consumers are bombarded with thousands of messages every day. In order to enable the message of road safety to stand out of this media clutter, Street Cred Media, the outdoor advertising media specialists have partnered with the Gauteng Department of Community Safety, adding a new dimension to the Department's educational drive to reduce the carnage on the province's roads. This has resulted in the introduction of a form of 'shock therapy' by placing 25 wrecked vehicles in strategic positions throughout Gauteng as a means of educating people about the importance of obeying the rules of the road.

“As a way of capturing the public's attention, the Gauteng Department of Community Safety have embarked on a campaign of shock advertising until the end of April 2015 to heighten awareness of the consequences of negligent driving, placing the wreckages at hazardous locations such as Golden Highway, Moloto Road and major arterioles such as the R59, N12, N3 and N14, known for their dangerous and often fatal accidents,” says Garth Maluleke, MD of Street Cred Media, one of Africa's leading 'mobile media' outdoor advertising companies, specialising in creating awareness around messages and products through vehicle and truck branding in particular.


Shock advertising, refers to a genre of advertising that aims to “elicit attention for a brand name by jolting consumers” (Belch and Belch 1998). Critics suggest that as consumers become more and more advertising literate and savvy, it becomes harder for creative people to craft advertisements that attract attention (Belch and Belch 1998; Goldman and Papson 1996; Grierson 1998)³. With this in mind, together with the Gauteng department of Community Safety, we are using the impact of shock advertising as leverage to encourage road safety,” says Maluleke.

The Gauteng Department of Community Safety which is responsible for both traffic law enforcement and providing information on road safety, targets road users ranging from drivers, passengers, pedestrians and cyclists to educate them about the safe usage of public roads. However, despite these efforts from the Department, there are still a large number of fatal accidents on the roads. “Our aim is to combine law enforcement with education, using these wrecks to both appeal to the moral consciousness of each road user and to challenge each of them as to whether or not they want to contribute to the statistics of fatal wreckages? In this way we are using outdoor shock advertising with an edge as part of our road safety endeavours.

This safety project is part of a global initiative called the “Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 Campaign”, launched in more than 100 countries including South Africa.

Central to this “Decade of Action” is the implementation of structured programmes and objectives which can improve road user behaviour. These include educating people on taking the correct precautionary measures such as the wearing of seat-belts and protective clothing such as helmet for motorcyclists, accompanied by vigilant communication on the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, excessive speeding, reckless and negligent driving during the 2014 Festive Season and throughout 2015.

Part of this initiative is using the visual impact of wrecked vehicles with road safety messages at strategic sites across the province, making road users face the harsh reality about the dangers of irresponsible behaviour.

The Department has invested a lot of resources by sourcing wrecked vehicles which were previously involved in road traffic accidents. “In this way we are deliberately evoking a radical reaction from everyone who sees these wrecks branded with bright, bold, in-your-face colours and hard-hitting road safety messages,” says Busaphi Nxumalo, Gauteng Road Safety Promotions Unit.

Each car wreckage is branded with a warning message to motorists such as “Most of these fatal crashes were due to the abuse of alcohol.” This aims to create an emotional association of fear and horror by exploiting the shock value of witnessing an actual vehicle wreckage which has resulted in at least one fatality.

“Research shows that shock appeals attract attention and improve brand recall (Dahl, Frankenberger and Manchanda 2003; Vezina and Paul 1997)³,” says Maluleke. This is a vital component of this campaign – imprinting the consequences of negligent driving behaviour. This form of communication is extremely effective, evoking emotion in order to facilitate talkability around the subject of road safety and implement a culture of responsible road usage. At the end of the day, we aim to create awareness and in doing so, we hope to lessen the toll of accidents and play a role in saving lives in the process,” concludes Maluleke.

 
 
 
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