Wellington City Council pedestrian safety campaign has an impact on impacts

One of the joys of Wellington is its compactness. And that means residents do a fair bit of walking. In the past five years, however, an average of 13 pedestrians have been involved in accidents on the golden mile each year. So Wellington City Council created a safety campaign that aimed to get Wellingtonians crossing the road with a “clear head” and it has slowly been rolling it out over print, video, outdoor and social media.

The Council’s marketing communications specialist Kim Young says the campaign was created as a 50/50 venture between the Council and the NZTA to address pedestrian safety because of Wellington’s geography.

“In Wellington, according to data from 2010, we have 36,000 pedestrian movements on an average weekday hour peaking at about 43,000 on a Friday.” 

And while the average number of accidents may be 13, each of them has a much greater impact. 

“For example, with a bus and a pedestrian, everyone in the bus is involved. More people are affected than just the pedestrians.”

She says in Wellington in particular there is a mindset that people can cross anywhere and people do, and the campaign was designed to target the 25-45-year-old Wellington commuter.

“The objective is to make people more aware. Our research shows that a major factor in crashes is distraction. So we thought ‘let’s address that head on’.”

Young says the council brainstormed and explored what was distracting people and used mostly internal creatives and internal graphic designers to work on the material, “so we did a cellphone head, a soccer ball head, a coffee cup head, a shopping bag and a house for people who might be thinking about their mortgage. We hired an out-of-house photographer [Steven Boniface], we wanted the magazine sartorial quality. And we had an external company National Park manufacture the head props [it also did the video]. They weren’t Photoshopped, they are cardboard.”

The Council has rolled out the campaign mainly through traditional media. 

“We looked at billboards, road safety banners, posters print, digital. We also did coffee cup lids [through Crippz promotions]. We had free placement with support of cafes and we printed and gave them with the illustration of the guy with a coffee cup head,” Young says.

Young says the council carried out an online survey for market research through Nielsen after the first of the campaigns placements mid last year and had 355 respondents. 

“43 percent of respondents researched indicated that this campaign was either very likely or somewhat likely to change their behaviour. Based on the findings from that research we repeated the media which was proven to be most effective including the coffee cup lids and we introduced a video which is just coming to the end of its placement in cinemas.”

The budget for the campaign was $100,000 split between the council and the NZTA and Young says she’s pleased the council managed to underspend and use the funds wisely.

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