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You don’t need to always design ‘Graham’ to save lives on the road

Two years ago, the world was invited to ‘Meet Graham’, the first super human designed by experts to convey the message of Road safety. Graham was designed to be the only human capable of surviving a car crash. For those haven’t heard of Graham, Yes! You read it right, he was a person designed by other expert humans. I absolutely loved that campaign not just for the brilliance but the audacity of the vision to design something rather someone to remind us about our vulnerability on the roads. It didn’t take it much time to be most trending topic on news and social media. As an advertising, experiential and design specialist I absolutely adored the genius of ‘Meet Graham’.

A lot of times we see an idea and wish why didn’t think of that! Usually those are the simplest and the most effective ideas. Ideas or solutions to everyday human problems. Gaps which other see but only question why can’t someone do something about that? Well, as experiential specialist we try to bridge those gaps with brand lenses that resonate brand directives and consumer needs. Yes, there can be a genius way to solve that problem but sometimes dire situations need quicker turnaround times or what we call turn around designs. Nimbleness is key and the good is better than perfect on such occasions.

In the beginning of July Mumbai woke up to yet another flash floods bringing the rather ‘spirited city’ to a standstill and red alerts being issues for the forthcoming weeks as well. I remember waking up with awful news of life losses due to the flooding. My first reaction was ‘Why can’t someone do something about it? Every monsoon yield the same results year on year. Incidentally the same day, my client partner from Gulf lubricants called to check if we could do something in the low lying flood prone areas coinciding with Gulf’s mini-trucking community. We dug deeper into the problem to realise the life losses and near fatal accidents are happening not because of the flooding alone but the open manholes left open for water recession. And lack of any warning signs was making matters worse.Taking the problem right with its horns we identified the top 10 accident prone low lying spots. We tracked down the open manholes on those stretches and introduced the first ever Gulf ‘Orange Alerts’. Under the Gulf Monsoon Suraksha Abhyaan, a simple reflective signboards designed to stand tall over the manholes with statutory warning were deployed.

Over the next few weeks as the city continued to flood and the manholes continued to be left open Gulf ‘Orange alerts’ managed to save not just their trucking audience life but over a potential 3 lakhs pedestrian and vehicle owners from falling prey to the open manholes again.

While Graham too must have successfully managed to spread its message and saved lives with the ingenious campaign but sometimes it’s horses for courses and when it comes to protecting human lives whether its another designed human or a simple no brainer design of an ‘Orange Alert’ all it needs is action oriented design that doesn’t make anyone wonder anymore that ‘why doesn’t someone do something about this?’

BY:  Alvin D’Souza, Managing Partner-121XP

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