Viral road safety ad 'needed to shock'

Published Thursday, 26 June 2014
Toggle font size

The latest road safety advert from the DOE has now racked up well over 2.5m views online in less than two weeks and has been defended by officials as shocking, but with good reason.

2 clips available

The graphic ad, set to a haunting version of the Guns N' Roses track Sweet Child O' Mine, can only be shown on television after the 9pm watershed and may be distressing for some viewers.

It focuses on the fact that 28 children, enough to fill a classroom, have died on Northern Ireland's roads since 2000.

Reaction to the advert has been mixed, sparking debate over whether it is much needed or simply too much.

"We knew this ad was shocking, we knew it was compelling," Ian Greenway from DOE told UTV.

"But we knew, to get the message across, all the research showed us that we needed to be shocking and compelling. I'm not particularly surprised therefore that people have been talking about it, viewing it and sharing it."

It might be dramatic, but it is very necessary to get the message across about road safety for children and for everyone.


The creative director from the agency which made the advert told UTV that a lot of research goes into such projects and that they have been proven to get their message across.

"An ad as strong as this needs to be out there," Julie-Anne Bailie, from Lyle Bailie International, said.

"The most shocking part of this ad is not the drama that you see on TV - it's the big fact at the heart of it. And the big fact is that since 2000 speeding drivers have killed a classroom of our children.

"I know it's uncomfortable viewing, but it's not a tip of the iceberg compared to the devastation that a family feels, that parents feel, when they lose a child."

She also said that many of those affected by road tragedies are supportive of the approach, adding: "Overwhelmingly, when we talk to victims - when we talk to parents who have lost children - they say: 'These are really tough to watch, but if it saves one life, you've got to get it out there.'"

While the creators find it interesting that their advert has travelled around the world, having been viewed by more than the entire population of Northern Ireland, they stress that isn't the point.

"It all started by going out on a spot on UTV and the public just took hold of it, took ownership of it, and have shared it across the world," Ms Bailie said.

"In a way, that's fascinating, but it's not what it's about. DOE created this ad to save lives on Northern Ireland's roads."

The advert, called 'Classroom', can be viewed in full here.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Dave in Belfast wrote (219 days ago):
This horrible advert should not be on tv. I know they say they need to get a message across but this is to much. People dont want to see this. the parents out there who have lost children in road accidents dont need this flashed in front them every night. at the very least these adverts should come with a warning about the graphic and sensitive content.
Steve in Belfast wrote (219 days ago):
Another nauseating advert from DOE and a simply staggering waste of public (i.e. yours and mine) money. Whilst any death is regrettable, an average of two under-16 deaths on our roads each year is a low figure and not worthy of this level of attention. I suggest that the DOE people read the PSNI accident trends report, published yesterday, which shows that driver inattention/distraction caused 1717 injuries last year. Inappropriate speed, the focus of the advert, accounted for just 439 injuries. Perhaps a better way of tackling this would be to invest in more traffic police? I also wonder why the authorities assume that because we pass a test in our, say, late teens our driving will be just fine for the rest of our lives. It clearly isn't!
Paul in Belfast wrote (219 days ago):
more police adhoc speed checks, 10 points for those caught and fined £1000 no exception, and the scourge of speeding would be fixed overnight
Email address*:    
House Rules:  
Your Comment:  
[All comments are moderated and will not appear immediately. Your name, location and comment will be displayed on this page if your post passes moderation.]
January snow
Tue 13 January 2015
Wintry weather
Wed 28 January 2015
Ravenhill Road fish spill
Sun 25 January 2015