#CannesLions winners: Ungiven Gifts – how drunk driving affects lives

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The work for Traffic Accident Commission, Melbourne is one of my favourites among what is loosely called public service advertising. The work has been driven by a clear objective (reduce road accident caused due to unsafe driving) and a well-defined, consistent advertising strategy (shock the viewer into changing his behaviour). The creative has risen to the call and delivered by appealing to the emotions of the viewer and almost scare him into behaving while on the road.

What I liked about the campaign is that they have never seen it as a one-off project but an continuously developing campaign to address the many stakeholders, myriad angles and issues. There are many aspects to unsafe driving – driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, speeding and so on. And there are many mindsets to tackle too – for example, rural dwellers in Australia may believe that accidents happen in the city. There was a campaign to tackle this myth. And then there was one urging vehicle owners to reduce speed by 5km per hour; the effect of such a simple act was then dramatized.

‘Ungiven Gifts’ is the latest campaign meant to urge Victorians to drive safely during the Christmas period, as that was the most dangerous time on the roads. The insight behind it is powerful and the approach, refreshing. Here’s the ad:

Agency: Grey, Melbourne

While the above ad presented a powerful, new perspective on accidents and how they affect many lives, the activation brought alive the idea:

Promotion Development

We created an installation of all the gifts that would not be given to those who had already lost their lives on Victoria’s roads. Behind each gift was a story of a life lost. Each one was sprayed a ghostly white to highlight this overwhelming sense of loss. People left written tributes at the installation, and thousands of messages encouraging one another to drive safely were shared online under the #ungivengifts hashtag.


Photos and messages from the installation were shared online to accumulate a total reach of 1.1 million people, spreading the message of safe driving on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and creativity blogs.

Traditional media that covered the installation gave the campaign an additional reach of 2.4 million.

At the end of December, Victoria had it’s lowest road toll in 90 years.

While it may not be as shocking as some of the earlier videos of the campaign, it definitely is moving. And makes one think twice about following unsafe practices while driving. Wish something like this was mounted in India too and just as effective.

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