This Independence Day, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways released a series of films on road safety. In a shift from the usual serious campaigns, the Ministry came up with a witty and quirky campaign called 'Sadak Suraksha Jeevan Raksha', roping in actor Akshay Kumar as the brand ambassador of road safety.
In a series of Instagram videos, Kumar is seen dressed as a constable, sending out challans to traffic offenders. “When I got to know the shocking facts and figures related to road accidents, which can be prevented, I was immediately on board for the Road Safety Campaign to help create awareness,” he tweeted.
In the first video, Kumar catches a driver driving in a no-entry zone. Instead of setting a preachy tone, he engages in a polite conversation about the guy’s father. The guy being confused says that his father’s name is not Lokmanya Tilak. Kumar then slaps his punch line “Oh yeh aapka baap ka road nahi hai!” In the second video, he pulls over a jeep. The driver is busy talking on his phone. He asks him whether Dadabhai Naoroji is his father as the road is named as Dadabhai Naoroji Marg. In the third one, he stops a biker for triple-riding without helmet.
Conceptualised by Helios Media and directed by filmmaker R Balki, all the three films harp on the phrase ‘Sadak kya tere baap ki hain’ and are a perfect mix of humour and the message.
Appreciating Kumar’s concern for social issues, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari recalled his recent movies ‘Padman’ and ‘Toilet: Ek Prem Katha’, which have gone a long way in spreading the government’s message of cleanliness and hygiene. He called upon people to adopt good practices in road safety to build a better society free of accidents.
Divya Radhakrishnan, Managing Director, Hellios Media, in a Facebook post, shared her joy over the successful launch of the campaign. Radhakrishnan said, “Everybody talks about road safety, including your local traffic policemen, CSR messages, NGOs, small kids standing on the road, asking people to use the zebra crossing. But the message often gets missed out. So we tried various permutations and combinations. The task was how we get in somebody who can influence everyone. We wanted somebody from Bollywood, who has a good image and cuts across the audience. So the choice was Akshay, who has done the campaign for free.”
“I think the full credit goes to Nitin Gadkari, because for a minister to approve such kind of a concept is really out-of-the-box. Using language like baap ka road is not something which anybody and everybody can take,” she added.
The campaign will run in multimedia platforms and will be dubbed in different languages. “It shouldn’t be a mere translation but we should get the essence. The beauty is that Yeh tere baap ka raasta hai kiya is prevalent in every language,” Radhakrishnan added.
This is not the first time that a road safety campaign has become popular. Time and again, the government and brands have come up with hard-hitting messages to tackle this problem.
Here are a few famous and effective social awareness campaigns on road safety:
The Seatbelt Crew
In a ground-breaking campaign, Ogilvy in association with Channel V brought the transgender community to demonstrate the importance of seat belt. In the video, a group of transgenders are seen wearing blue sarees, mimicking the cabin attendants of an airline. The video went viral, grabbing 3.4 million views on YouTube.
Drive Safe Dad
Ceat’s Drive Safe Dad campaign is an initiative to reduce road accidents in India. In an emotional, yet innovative campaign, the video starts with children telling their fathers to drive slowly. The film showcases dads receiving a personalised bobble head, which is connected to the odometer of the vehicle. On speeding, the device plays the recorded message from their children to drive slowly.
Suzuki Motorcycles launched a campaign to promote road safety to target the young generation. The campaign used a language which is relatable to the millennials. In the first video, a girl posts a picture of a guy without a helmet. When the guy sees the post, he feels embarrassed. The text says, ‘Famous is one thing and infamous is another.’
Hyundai Motor’s road safety film #BeTheBetterGuy is aimed at creating a positive change in the society and inspires people to adhere to traffic rules. The campaign draws attention to critical issues pertaining to road safety such as underage driving, don’t drink and drive, usage of mobile phone, speeding and violation of traffic signals. The core message revolves around being the better guy on the road and take responsibility for one’s own action.