Driving road safety awareness & understanding amongst 6-11 year olds
Tales of the Road, a Department for Transport campaign, was aimed principally at 6-11 year olds.
Research found that children in this age range needed to understand the reasons for always using good road safety behaviour. The campaign therefore uses animated characters that are vulnerable to the real consequences of not following good road use.
The advertorials created for the campaign had to be fresh and interesting, while also matching the tone of the magazine. However, more importantly, they had to reach the entire target audience so the images and ideas had to be compelling to both children and their parents.
The BBC Youth and Children’s sales team selected 5 titles for the campaign - Top of the Pops, Match of the Day, Girl Talk, All About Animals and Doctor Who Adventures. By using this combination of titles, the entire target audience could be reached. The advertorials would be tailored to match the style of each of the magazines, meaning several creatives would be required.
Research was also put in place to gauge the success of the campaign, measuring the amount of readers exposed to the campaign and their opinions on the advertorial.
Every title used in the campaign contained a separate execution, specifically designed for each individual magazine audience, each directing readers to the ‘Tales of the Road’ website for more information.
Top of the Pops contained a DPS which told the story of two girls, in the first person, by the girl who did not dress brightly enough on the way to a friend’s sleepover. They leave dance class, excited from practicing a routine for a disco, and change out of their outfits into clothes barely visible in the dark. They step into the path of a car and do not make it to the sleepover. It also contained bright fashion finds and tips for customising bags, as well as directing readers to the ‘Tales of the Road’ website for more information.
The Match of the Day execution took the form of a comic strip to appeal to the predominantly male readership. It told the story of a boy who does not stop, look and listen because he is too busy texting his friends the news he has football trials to play for his country and gets hit by a car. His injuries mean he can no longer take part in activities with friends and he misses the trials. A half page vertical panel also displayed ‘Ref’s Rules for Safe Crossing Skills‘ – a 10 step guide to crossing roads safely.
Girl Talk featured a DPS designed like the Girl Talk Newsround Gossip Spread. The creative contained three stories for each character (1.The Boy who didn’t look for a safe place to cross 2. The Boy who didn’t stop, look and listen 3. The Girl who didn’t dress bright in the dark) and two “Goss code” pieces where one of the words was written in code for the reader to work out. Where the ‘Don’t Miss’ panel usually sits, a new panel entitled ‘Don’t Forget’ contained the three main points of the campaign.Girl Talk Advertorial
Animals were to be the main theme for the All About Animals advertorial. The feature would tell the stories of the three main characters and next to each story is a corresponding panel with an animal that knows better.
Finally, Doctor Who Adventures magazine used the TARDIS to convey the road safety message. ‘If I Had a TARDIS‘ shows an image of two boys who both wish they had a TARDIS so they could go back in time and change what happened by avoiding the road accident. Boy 1 for example, would tell himself to stop, look and listen and boy 2 would find a safe place to cross. Advice on skills for safe crossing was also featured, as well as directing readers to the ‘Tales of the Road’ website for more information.
As a result of seeing the campaign, an impressive 90% of readers stated they would now take more care when crossing the road, proving that the core message of the campaign had been delivered to the Department for Transport’s (DfT) target audience of 6-11 year olds.
Over ½ of our readers liked the campaign and when asked what they thought of the campaign in an open response, they found it “striking” and thought it “stood out”. Readers believed the campaign would “encourage children/teenagers to take care” on the roads.
Other than the “Tales of the Road” campaign, 1 in 4 readers recalled seeing road safety advertising in magazines.
As a result of seeing the campaign in the magazine, over two thirds of readers went onto visit the ‘Tales of the Road’ website or planned to visit it in the future, thus proving the effectiveness of the magazine advertorial driving readers online. Whilst on the site, 75% claimed to have watched the adverts and 69% claimed to have read the information shown on screen. Creative specifically designed to appeal to the magazine audience
The games on the site were also popular, with more than two thirds stating that they had interacted with the campaign and played the games whilst visiting the website.
The message of the campaign clearly reached our readers. When asked what they intended to do as a result of seeing the ‘Tales of the Road’ campaign, 82% said they would take more care looking before crossing the roads and almost 75% said they would now look for a safer place to cross. Two thirds of Girl Talk readers also said they would now wear bright and reflective clothing when in the dark.
“DfT Marketing believe that the BBC team showed a great understanding of the DfT brief and objectives for the activity, and were very impressed with the production level of the advertorials. The BBC has a deep understanding of their readers and were able to put forward recommendations that matched the needs and wants of their audience as well as those of the DfT. Research showed that the advertorials helped to improve the target audience’s awareness and understanding of good road safety behaviours.”
THINK! Campaign Manager - Child and Teens
Department for Transport