Australian PSA Shows Kids Picking Up Parents’ Bad Driving Habits

A minimalist Australian PSA depicts children as puppets, mimicking parents’ bad driving habits.

Australian PSA Shows Kids Picking Up Parents' Bad Driving Habits

“What kind of driver are you raising?” That question is at the heart of “Strings,” a one-minute public service announcement video from Clemenger BBDO Melbourne. The spot – created for Australia’s Transport Accident Commission – reminds parents that their children learn how to drive from watching them.

Filmed on a dark soundstage, the spot shows a young boy sitting in the back seat. With wires attached to his arms and legs, the boy mimics actions of a distracted driver. He checks his text messages, shouts at other drivers, takes a phone call, etc.

Eventually, the camera pans to reveal that the boy is connected to his father by puppet strings. Each of dad’s bad habits as a driver is instantly transferred to his son. It’s a rather chilling reminder of how parents must be aware of how they act around their children at all times.

A Clemenger BBDO Melbourne representative says that “parents can’t deny that their kids copy them. We just want to get into their psyches a little bit, to have them question how they act behind the wheel.” I’d say they succeeded in doing just that.

The next time you strap your kids into their car seats, remember that behaviors are learned everywhere – not just in the controlled environment of your home.

-Howard Davidson Arlington MA

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Finnish PSA: What If Kids Could Pick Their Parents?

A Finnish public service announcement flips the script on adoption, posing the question of what would happen if children could choose their parents.

PSA

Finland-based children’s charity Fragile Childhood has again teamed up with Helsinki ad agency Havas Worldwide to produce a chilling study on parental alcoholism. The two groups collaborated a couple years ago for a PSA depicting drunk parents as horror-movie monsters. This new spot is less in-your-face, but is every bit as effective.

The ad follows two children as they tour an ‘orphanage’ of parents. They are first shown three sets of ideal parents, before a fourth couple appears, this one drunken and shouting. Of course, children can’t choose their parents, and the kids are forced to accompany their abusive, alcoholic parents back home.

Adding to the spot’s unsettling nature is the quasi-futuristic art design that depicts the ‘parental orphanage’ as a sort of cavernous observation laboratory. It’s quite clearly meant to make the viewer feel a sense of foreignness and discomfort, and it works.

I’m a big fan of these ads for that very reason – they make the viewer uneasy about topics that should make everyone feel that way. Contrast these with American PSAs, which are usually brightly lit affairs stuffed to the gills with celebrities. Which ones do you pay more attention to?

We’ll probably never see PSAs like this in the US, because American PSAs are usually just excuses for famous people to feel good about themselves. The message itself is nearly always secondary. It’s nice to see that isn’t the case everywhere else.

Howard Davidson Arlington Massachusetts

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