Our research showed that there are many misconceptions and myths about pedestrian safety and the rules for drivers and walkers. If people continue to believe these myths, their lives are in danger until the myths are debunked and people become better educated regarding their respective responsibilities on the roads.
The challenge for this campaign was getting the target audience to pay attention to a topic they think they already know about. Safety is a serious topic, but using humor from time to time can be beneficial. Light-hearted messages can break down walls and make sensitive subjects more approachable.
In 2018, Penna Powers created the “Pedestrian Myths” campaign to educate Utah pedestrians about traffic and crosswalk safety. Since peds are only half of the equation in crashes, we created the “Driver Myths” campaign to speak to drivers about their role in driving around pedestrians and crosswalks.
The radio ads (just one tactic from a larger, multidisciplinary campaign) featured shady-sounding injury lawyers so bad that they stood out from every other kind of radio ad. The poor delivery of their lines captured the attention of listeners and continued the theme of the myths that people believe about pedestrian safety.
Listeners were hooked by an out of the ordinary delivery method, then received educational messages through the website and the fake injury lawyer’s phone number. Those who called the number heard prerecorded messages debunking the myths about pedestrian safety. Using this approach, the radio ad was more than just a radio ad—it drove listeners to action and taught them correct driver behavior via the phony law office number and the PedestrianMyths.utah.gov website.