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Haunting Ad by Y&R SA portrays the story of The First Kiss that never was

Y&R South Africa’s Cape Town office recently produced a hard-hitting commercial for Safely Home, the road safety campaign platform of the Western Cape Government (WCG), to encourage road users to wear seat belts at all times.

The commercial, titled ‘The First Kiss’, depicts the story of a young couple that struggles to find the perfect moment for their first kiss due to various interruptions. Later that evening, as the young man, his new crush and their two friends drive away from a party, he is the only passenger that neglects to fasten his seat belt. The foursome is involved in a horrific crash and the unfastened back seat passenger inadvertently inflicts fatal injuries on all three fastened friends while also being killed, with the film graphically illustrating the ghastly consequences of not wearing your seat belt in the event of a collision.

‘The First Kiss’ forms part of the Safely Home Calendar, a year-round sustainable road safety communication strategy that commenced in August 2014. It was launched as part of March and April’s #BeTheChange theme. The ad was produced for television and cinema and is supported by billboards and radio.

“The ‘The First Kiss’ ad is the result of a relentlessly passionate and brave client who looked at global best practice and allowed us to develop and localise a story that would resonate and work,” comments Graham Lang, Chief Creative Officer of Y&R South Africa and Africa. “We worked with Egg Films and Director Jason Fialkov to bring the story to life, and we even had the opportunity to involve actual Western Cape Government and City of Cape Town vehicles and staff in the end sequence to create a haunting and authentic piece of creative work,” he adds.

“Reception to the ad has been overwhelmingly positive, but has also been the catalyst to some frank conversations about road safety and the effective positioning of road safety messaging,” Lang continues. BD Live Columnist Suhana Gordhan notes in a recent article: “This is a very negative ad. But it is made beautifully, and leaves you reeling. The rhythm of the ad mimics the joie de vivre of youth and the soft haze in which you live out a perfect night. It’s fluid and romantic, and the lilting track carries you along — until the horror sets in.”

Hector Eliott, Strategic Co-ordinator for Safely Home in the Western Cape Department of Transport, weighs in on the subject and discussions around the effectiveness of so-called ‘shock tactics’. “I think the term is irrelevant ¬– like all effective marketing, road safety communication is really about ‘powerful messaging’. And this is what we achieved through the ‘The First Kiss’ ad – a powerful and deeply moving message which illustrates what can be achieved by synthesising best practice and evidence-based decision-making with creative excellence and artistic craftsmanship.”