Car safety ad “Meet Graham” wins top digital prize at Cannes

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Car safety ad “Meet Graham” was one of three campaigns to pick up the top Cyber Grand Prix at the 2017 Cannes Lions festival.

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Case study summary

• Australian safety commission took a novel and shocking approach to catch safety
• Artist produced an interactive lifelike sculpture demonstrating human vulnerability
• Web users could explore "Graham" in 360 degrees at campaign website
• Became a social media phenomenon and was one of the top-trending stories on Twitter and Facebook over his first weekend
• Won Two Cannes Lions Grand Prix awards

The challenge

Studies have shown that the human body can only cope with impacts at speeds people can reach on their own, unassisted by vehicles. The Transport Accident Commission, via agency Clemenger BBDO, Melbourne, launched a road safety project, highlighting how susceptible the human body is to the forces involved in transport accidents.

In a shift from its traditional road safety campaigns, the TAC has collaborated with a leading trauma surgeon, a crash investigation expert and a world-renowned Melbourne artist to produce ‘Graham’, an interactive lifelike sculpture demonstrating human vulnerability.

The solution

The ad featured a grotesque depiction of how a human body would need to be formed in order to best withstand a car accident.

The ‘Graham’ sculpture was an unusual way of warning people of the damage they can do to themselves in a car accident -- it redesigned the human body to make it more conducive to withstanding effects of a crash.

The agency commissioned a sculptor, Patricia Piccinini, together with a trauma surgeon and a car crash investigator, to create "Graham," a sculpture that's meant to represent what a human body would look like if it was designed to withstand a car crash. His features include a flat, flabby face, tough skin, a barrel-like chest and a torso like an airbag.

Australians could see the artwork in the flesh at Victoria's State Library through Aug. 8 of last year. Those outside of Australia can also explore the grotesque "Graham" in 360 degrees at the campaign website, where you can find out exactly what kind of injuries a car accident would inflict on a normal body.

The results

Within hours of being introduced to the world at the State Library of Victoria last week, Graham – an interactive sculpture depicting what humans might look like if they had evolved to survive a crash – had captured the imagination of readers from Melbourne to Mumbai.

He quickly became a social media phenomenon and was one of the top-trending stories on Twitter and Facebook over his first weekend. He continues to make headlines in the world’s biggest newspapers and news sites, with articles appearing in publications including the New York Times, London’s Daily Mail, the Washington Post, BBC, CNN, India Today and Al Jazeera.

Less than a week after Graham’s reveal, the meetgraham.com.au website had attracted more than 10.4 million page views from across the globe and some of Victoria’s biggest news websites reported unprecedented traffic as the world scrambled to learn more about him.

The campaign also won two Cannes Lions Grand Prix awards, earning the first top Lion of the festival in Health and Wellness.

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