Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Honk! Moonwalking hero defends naked streets

Our constant challenge as proponents of deep transportation systems reform is (a) to have a strong message, and then (b) to find ways to get it across. We know very well now, for example, that one of the principal keys to safer and even more efficient streets is to mix it up and slow it down. But how can we communicate this ultimately very simple message in a memorable way to a very wide public. After all our goal is no less than deep culture change. Meaning that we have to be very smart indeed.
So here we have an example that we will do well to keep in mind as we try to shift the odds, which today are heavily loaded against our success, and get the world on our side. That moonwalking bear video that many of you (and more than 8 million others according to my rough count of today) have seen -- and if not this is a good chance for you to have a look.

* Click here to view on the most popular YouTube video window.

The story behind the video:

In March 2008 the WCRS advertising group in London developed for Transport for London a campaign Do The Test. The goal, as you can see here, is to promote and increase road safety to cyclists & drivers. From an article by Paul van Veenendaal you can find at the following commentary on impacts:

The results of the campaign were beyond the clients expectations and that of Altogether Digital. Within 1 month of the campaign’s launch, the Awareness Test video had achieved in the region of 5.5 million views, against a target of around 150,000.

This success was in itself made up of a number of individual milestones:
* 4th most popular video in the world on Video Viral Chart (week ending 27th March)
* March 19th & 20th, 2nd most blogged video in the world
* 3.7 million views from video‐sharing sites
* Most viewed video in its YouTube category in the UK for March
* 3rd top rated video in its YouTube category in the UK of all time
* Sent on to 23,290 people using the ‘Send to a friend’ link on
* 1.5 million views from social bookmarking & social news aggregator sites & Page 1 on digg & reddit
* 32,359 clicks through to the main Transport for London site
* 5,092 views from specialist cycling blogs & forums
* Emailed to a specialist mailing list of 16,000 addresses

With your permission, we shall be spending some more time looking at this approach on Streets, and will see if we can get comments and some useful hints from the people behind this, one has to say, highly successful sustainable transportation project.

And as always your comments and suggestions warmly invited.

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