Human Life: The Third Rail of Advertising
Posted at 10th of Apr, 03:23

If you plan to use the preservation and protection of human life as the foundation of just any ol’ ad campaign, ye be warned! Every one of us draws breath. Therefore, we all have a responsibility to uphold the integrity of our own existence. This applies to marketers especially, who have the power to influence large audiences with their content.

 

 

Naturally when promoting a product, the hidden message of every campaign is that by purchasing this particular item, the quality of one’s life will improve. However no self-respecting, non-suicidal advertising agency would seriously claim that the product they are promoting is key to saving a human life - unless it really is. If this is truly the case, then the ad must be handled very delicately and honorably. (After all, no one wants to appear to be the shameless attorney who chases after the ambulance.)

 

 

A fine example of tactful and respectful advertising that uses human life as its core can be seen in the recently released advertisement for Volvo LifePaint. Let’s have a look:

 



 

 

 

The heart of this campaign is keeping cyclists safe on the road by making them visible to drivers, particularly at night. The ad begins with a combination of statistics and testimonies. To make the ad more personal, Volvo allowed it to be narrated by cyclists themselves. Each cyclist shares their story of uncertainty and sustained accidents. This helps build momentum for the product being proposed.

 

 

How can we reduce accidents on roads that “were built, really, a hundred years ago for far less traffic?” Finally, across the screen appears “Volvo Presents” in one frame, and in the next, the answer to our question: LifePaint. After so much talk of crashes and unfortunate events, we see and hear a spray of LifePaint, which serves to calm the audience as the sound of gentle rain comforts a child. From here Volvo transitions to an instrumental tune of all rockers with the simultaneous expansion of LifePaint by the product experts themselves.

 

 

“You’ve just got to be as visible as you can and that’s the great thing about LifePaint...it makes it very hard for you to be missed” In the spirit of the town of Londoners in which the ad is set, we exclaim, “Capital idea! Quite right!” For after viewing this ad, how could you possibly miss Volvo?

 

 

One of the cyclists remarks that “cycle safety is not all about bicycles. It’s about cars, it’s about pedestrians, it’s about sharing the road with other users. So it’s great that a car brand has gotten involved to essentially help cyclists and help drivers save lives.” We think it’s great too. Volvo has intelligently and respectfully used human life in an ad campaign, while introducing a revolutionary product. (Let’s hope that in a few years we'll be able to sit back and admire a chart of statistics the show the decline in cycling crashes.)

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