Smart Case study THE DANCING TRAFFIC LIGHT by BBDO Germany

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Industry Cars
Media Case study
Market Germany
Agency BBDO Germany
Director Marten Persiel
Producer Thomas Süss, Jule Everts, Helge Wallrodt, Brian Bourke, Sebastian Cordes
Editor Nina Chmielewski, Thomas Appl
Released May 2015


Cannes Lions, 2015

Credits & Description

Festival: Outdoor: Ambient: Special Build
Awards: Bronze
Geo: Germany
Interactive Director: Andrew Watson()
Art Director / Illustrator: Daniel Schweinzer(BBDO Berlin GmbH)
Creative Managing Directors: Jan Harbeck, David Mously(BBDO Berlin GmbH)
Managing Director: Jens Fauth(BBDO Berlin GmbH)
Creative Directors: Lukas Liske, Daniel Schweinzer(BBDO Berlin GmbH)
Agency Producer: Alexander Geier(BBDO Berlin GmbH)
Digital Account Manager: Anne Hohmann, Mike Kannowski(BBDO Berlin GmbH)
Producer: Jule Everts, Sebastian Cordes, Brian Bourke, Helge Wallrodt, Thomas Süss()
Copywriter / Script: Lukas Liske(BBDO Berlin GmbH)
Director: Marten Persiel(c/o BigFish)
Visual Effects: Mike Bothe()
Director of Photography: Nicolai von Graevenitz(c/o BigFish)
Chief Production Officer: Steffen Gentis(BBDO Group Germany GmbH)
Editor: Thomas Appl, Nina Chmielewski()
Executive Creative Directors: Ton Hollander, Jan Harbeck(BBDO Berlin GmbH)
Chief Creative Officer: Wolfgang Schneider(BBDO Group Germany GmbH)
The Campaign
smart has made it their mission to find new solutions for urban problems. Instead of only claiming this, we wanted to prove it in real life.
Statistics show that people are impatient – that makes traffic lights the most dangerous spots for pedestrians in the city. In the U.S. and Europe combined over 10,000 people die each year due to wrong behaviour while crossing the street. Based on our research we wanted to make people aware of the problem by finding a real solution that would spread the word.
We developed a traffic light where people love to wait: with a dancing red traffic light man. In a dance box passersby could chose from a music genre and slip into the role of the red man. Their movements where brought to the traffic lights in realtime.
The dancing traffic light immediately became an attraction in Lisbon. The online film reached over 10 million views and ranked number 2 in the German viral video charts 2014 with over 250.000 shares. Worldwide press coverage including 20 TV channels and a total of 440 million media impressions. It became part of the official Google review 2014 'Year in Search'. We received requests from 5 cities to implement the idea. But most importantly: 81% more people than before waited at the red light.
Why PR Lions
The Dancing Traffic Light was created as a PR story to communicate the brand's mission: finding innovative solutions for urban problems.
The Brief
smart wanted to create a powerful PR story that would shift people's perception from a mono product brand (smart fortwo) to a brand with a mission that cares about the way we live in our cities – and at the same time implement a new behaviour.
The installation was implemented at a big public crossing in Lisbon, Portugal in July 2014. Hidden cameras filmed people's reactions. A documentary film was then used to spread the idea. Since most potential smart buyers share interests in similar fields like urban lifestyle, design and music, we made sure that we would talk to the right kind of people. The idea led to worldwide news coverage and went viral with over 10 million earned views (organic reach).
- 10+ million video views on Youtube
- Overall impressions: 440 million media impressions
- Type of media: 20 TV stations, more than 30 radio stations, 240 articles in online press and relevant blogs
- Target audience: 100 million impressions
- Part of the official Google Review 2014 'Year in Search'(32 million views alone)
- Requests from 5 cities to implement the idea
- 81% more people waited than before
- Coverage depth: 29 years of viewtime (video)
- Traditional media: favourable mentions: 100%, unfavourable mentions: 0%
- Social media: favourable mentions: 98%, unfavourable mentions: 2%
Action/Business Impact:
- YouTube followers: Increase of 31% directly linked to the idea
- Facebook Fans: Increase of 19% during campaign period
- More than 250.000 social media shares
- Average site traffic increase of 170% at during the campaign
- Most successful product launch in the history of smart
The Strategy
Statistics show that traffic lights are the most dangerous spots for pedestrians in the city. In the U.S. and Europe combined over 10,000 people die each year due to wrong behaviour while crossing the street. Based on our research we wanted to prove smart's brand mission by finding a real solution that would spread the word through PR.