“Buckle up, it’s the law,” or “Don’t text and drive” are just some of the platitudes flashing on digital displays over our country’s highways. But you see them time and time again and soon the messages become little more than wallpaper during your daily commute. That’s why I think Massachusetts’ recent campaign to inject a little more irreverence and humor into a serious message is perfect.
The first phonetically spelled, Boston-accented driving reminder, “Use Yah Blinkah” appeared back in May. It was such a hit that the Massachusetts Department of Transportation opened up a contest to solicit citizen’s ideas for multiple messages.
Some of the winning proclamations included: “Make yah Ma proud, wear yah seatbelt,” to encourage seatbelt use, “Keep Calm and Drive On” to prevent road rage, and “Put down the phone! Your LOLs and OMGs can wait,” to fight distracted driving. Over 500 submissions were received, and the winners were rewarded with gas station and restaurant giftcards.
Especially since government messaging and traffic signs are so serious, I applaud Massachusetts for its willingness to take a risk and be playful to achieve greater exposure.
- On August 28, 2014