Tuesday 18 November 2008

tales of the road

The Department for Transport is launching a new campaign for road safety entitled "Tales of the Road." It's a much-needed update to the Green Cross Man (which I missed, having grown up in Canada, but got to see in those retro clips they love to show on Channel 4) and is aimed at school children.

The animation is modern, suitably creepy for the seriousness of the moral (very "A Series of Unfortunate Events"), and should be effective when it airs on television. It's memorable, which is the point of campaigns like this. The site is a clever combination of information for parents and teachers, and games for the kids. I'm not entirely convinced that the games will appeal to all children, and suspect that slightly older children (e.g. age 10 and up) will find them a bit naff. Call me sexist, but I can see younger boys really loving the game and responding well to it. An animated boy attempts to cross the road, but when he doesn't stop, look, or listen, he gets hit by a car, his body flies down the road, and an illustration labelling his potential injuries appears at the end. Not too gross or traumatic for the little ones and it gets the message across, but would an older child be as affected by it? Would it appeal to girls or would they dismiss it as a bit "gross"?

The fact that the site has a competition to win a bike every month will definitely generate a lot of traffic (no pun intended.) I think that over all it's well done, but the proof will be in how our children see it and what kind of difference it makes.

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