Published online at Edmonton.Ctvnews.ca on Feb. 19, 2013.
Linda Hoang, CTV Edmonton: February 19, 2013
‘Crotches Kill’: province’s ‘edgy’ campaign aims to stop texting and driving
The province is hoping its new, edgier, ad campaign that takes a different approach to addressing distracted driving – by focusing on drivers’ crotches – will get Albertans to stop texting while driving.
The new campaign is called ‘Crotches Kill’ and features billboards, washroom posters, digital ads and radio ads that highlight the action of drivers looking down at their phones to compose a text message while on the roads.
“Ah, there you go again, driving and being completely enthralled by your crotch,” a female voice says in the Crotches Kill radio advertisement.
“Quick glances, long stares, you just can’t keep your eyes off it. But the problem is crotches kill. Every time you send that text message from your lap, your eyes are off the road for five very long seconds.”
The ad ends with the suggestion to leave your phone out of reach when driving.
Billboards and posters have the same message – with images of men and women at the wheel, looking down and smiling at their crotches.
Donna Babchishin, with Alberta Transportation, says the ads are meant to catch your attention and lead to a behaviour change.
Young men driving distracted more than other demographics
“It’s edgy on purpose. It’s humourous as well. It’s really meant to catch your attention and make you think,” Babchishin said.
“One thing we’ve heard over and over from Albertans, is when they’re driving and they see someone looking down at their cell phone, they know what they’re doing. People think they’re doing that in secrecy but it’s as clear as ever. We want people to call each other on it. We want friends to be able to call each other on it and to change that behaviour.”
Babchishin says the campaign is geared towards a younger demographic – specifically young men between the ages of 25-34.
She says many drivers who have been caught and convicted of distracted driving in Alberta fall into that demographic.
“Both young women and young men are getting a lot of convictions for distracted driving but we’re targeting young men in particular,” she said.
Babchishin says of the 19,000 convictions made in the first year of Alberta’s distracted driving law, the 25-34 men age group had the highest conviction rate of more than 12 per cent.
‘Racy approach’ a good way to connect
Long-time Edmonton radio host Rick Lee calls the ads racy, and says that’s the reason why it should get people to pay attention.
“It’s pretty racy for a Government of Alberta ad but sex does sells and it did get people’s attention,” Lee said.
“There is a lot of texting, a lot of distracted driving going around. It’s good to see the Government of Alberta is taking the step to connect with younger listeners, and listeners in general, and taking the racy approach is a good way to do it I think.”
Another part of the campaign includes the government’s website YouAreTheCure.ca, where visitors can interactively scroll up and down to see examples of just how dangerous taking eyes off the road can be.
Babchishin says a follow-up campaign is being planned that will target an older audience.
That campaign will focus on what can happen during the five seconds it takes to look down to send a text while driving.
With files from Serena Mah