Advert galvanises bull-bar opponents

Courier Mail

Saturday 5 January 2002

To see what a bullbar can do follow the instructions above
Courier Mail – Saturday 5 January 2002

Advert galvanises bull-bar opponents

By: Erin O'Dwyer

A SHOCKING road safety advertisement which encourages people to tear off a pictured baby's head to “see what a bull-bar can do'' has won community support.

The full-page colour advertisement, which appeared this week in a national women's magazine, is part of a graphic campaign by the Pedestrian Council of Australia.

PCA chairman Harold Scruby said yesterday bull-bars were attributable for up to 20 per cent of road deaths involving both pedestrians and people in vehicles.

Mr Scruby said research by the Federal Office of Road Safety found bull-bars defeated vehicles' safety “crumple zones'' and caused damage to other cars and injury to the occupants.

“We're deliberately in your face without apology because we're trying to get some awareness about these things,'' he said of the new bull-bar advertisement.

“Unless ads are confronting -- and we're talking about life and death, not buying a new car -- how many ads sink into that grey matter?''

One of the advertisements, by Sydney firm Saatchi and Saatchi, took out a Bronze Lion award at the prestigious Cannes International Advertising Festival last year.

The PCA has previously attracted controversy with a TV advertisement against drink-driving which featured notorious convicted criminal Mark (“Chopper'') Read pointing out the dangers.

However, community groups yesterday supported the PCA's latest advertising campaign. Citizens Against Road Slaughter spokeswoman Phyl den Ronden said only the continued use of graphic advertisements would reduce road deaths.

The Queensland road toll increased last year to 324 despite intensive road safety campaigns.

“Any road safety warning needs to be powerful because the messages just aren't getting through,'' Ms den Ronden said. “The experts say you've got to be sensitive but families are past hurting and when it comes to making people alert and saving lives there is no limit.''

Family Council of Queensland president Alan Baker, whose organisation represents pro-family community and church groups, said although the advertisement might be seen as insensitive, it would encourage people to drive more carefully.
Richard Tay, of the Queensland University of Technology's Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety, said the advertisement would only be unethical in using fear to arouse emotions if it failed to work to reduce road carnage.

A study by Associate Professor Tay rated four-wheel drives as the most dangerous vehicles when they were involved in a crash.

He said there was great interest in the impact of bull-bars in traffic accidents but little published research because of lack of funding.

Winner of "Bronze Lion" award at Cannes - June 2001