Public Service Announcement (PSA) advertisements can be a hard thing to successfully “sell”. It’s difficult to be as funny, or wordy or… sexy when preaching the importance of road safety or the like.
To communicate their PSA message, agencies often employ scare-tactics to ‘shock’ people into paying attention. I was watching a couple of road-safety ads here in Australia and, although confronting and shocking, I was left feeling a bit flat with regards to the message of the ad. As far as messages went, all that had been truly communicated to me was that… shit happens. As blunt as that sounds.
Some agencies have acknowledged this and have used different methods of getting the message over the line. McCANN’s train safety campaign ‘Dumb Ways To Die’ springs to mind. I had seen such effective use of mixed-media for PSA that I had all but written-shock campaign strategies. Until I saw the most recent work from BBH London for their campaign for St John’s Ambulance and first-aid awareness.
Brilliant. After I watched this I spent the next hour in complete shock, frantically googling first-aid manuals.
This ad comes from the same pair who produced the chilling Helpless campaign, a silver lion winner at last year’s Cannes.
All I can say about this is that it shows that advertising can be refreshed and re-invigorated with clever production.