A (sneaky) message from your kids

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Colenso BBDO and Finch have filmed a controlled family experiment – with a little surreptitious help from the families’ own children – to help Volkswagen drive home the speed-kills message.

“In 2014, Volkswagen was the biggest R&D spending company in the world, investing US$13.5 billion,” says Volkswagen NZ general manager Tom Ruddenklau. “Much of this focus was on safety.”

But while Volkswagens are getting safer, it is still driver behaviour, mainly speeding, that is the single biggest cause of road crashes and most significant factor in determining whether a crash will be fatal. Dangerous decisions on the road occur due to momentary lapses in judgment. “Our rational, responsible selves take a backseat to the irrational person racing to a meeting, or overtaking a frustratingly slow driver,” says Colenso creative chairman Nick Worthington.

The Volkswagen Reduce Speed Dial experiment aimed to disrupt behaviour at this critical moment.

In the controlled experiment conducted by Colenso and Finch, and directed by Luke Bouchier, four families were supplied with Volkswagen Golfs. Unbeknown to the parents, the agency created a replacement panel for the speedo.

“They followed all of the clarity and safety restrictions of a standard speedo, but the dial was personally handwritten by one of their children,” Worthington said. “This simple, personal mnemonic aimed to remind our parents what they have to live for at the exact moment they considered speeding.

“We followed our Kiwi families and their driving habits to understand the impact of this idea and whether we could in fact, engineer safer drivers.” Worthington said the results, indicative only at this stage, have been very promising:

  • One family had no recorded speed infringements after the installation of the personalised speed dial
  • One family reduced their top speed by 19km/h from a max of 123km/h to a max of 104km/h
  • Half of the drivers’ maximum speeds reduced after fitting their personalised speed dial
  • Three out of the four drivers reduced their incidence of speeding in 100km/h zones by 50%.
  • Overall, all of the families reduced their speed in multiple driving situations.

Tom Ruddenklau said: “Safety ratings don’t change driver behaviour – and there’s an opportunity for our brand to do our bit in trialling some things that may. It was a great opportunity to work with four Kiwi families to investigate a simple idea that may one day help us all”.

Nick Worthington said: “As with most problems we often overlook the most simple answer. We hope that the results from this early trial help to direct more focus on the cause of the vast majority of crashes – the driver. This has been an emotional process for everyone involved and we believe that having a simple reminder from a loved one in front us at the exact moment when you are thinking about speeding is a brilliant way to make people think about everything and everyone they have to live for.”



Agency: Colenso BBDO
Creative Chairman: Nick Worthington
Creative Director: Levi Slavin
Digital Creative Director: Aaron Turk
General Manager: Scott Coldham
Business Director: Krystel Houghton
Film company: Finch
Executive Producer: Michael Hilliard
Director: Luke Bouchier

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