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Think the VW/Moozlie ad was messed up? 6 times SA didn't pull punches with hard-hitting road safety ads

2019-01-15 13:47

SHOCK TACTICS: A still from the Western Cape transport department's hard-hitting 'First Kiss' campaign. Image: Western Cape Transport Dept

WARNING: This article contains graphic videos and imagery 

Earlier in January 2019, local rapper and TV personality Nomuzi Mabena  released an Instagram video, which shows her being involved in an apparent car crash. The crash was staged and formed part of road-safety campaign with Volkswagen SA.

Bizarrely, Mabena only confirmed via social media that she was unhurt and that the stunt was part of an elaborate #VWDriveDry campaign 14 hours after the incident.

It's not the first time South Africa has produced hard-hitting road safety ads. We look at five examples where no punches were pulled in the effort to curb SA's horrendous road death toll. We've also included comment from road safety champions, Arrive Alive, who share their thoughts on shock tactics at the end of this article.

Watch the clips below: Warning - graphic imagery

The Western Cape transport department is well known for the shock tactics employed by its #SafelyHome campaign, check out the ads below.

World's biggest idiot

Driving while using your cellphone, even if you're recording friendly banter between you and your mate, is incredibly dangerous as a new South African video shows. This video shows a driver recording his mate while driving. It starts off on a light note as the driver pokes fun at his friend’s inability to calculate a "pretty tough math question". Sadly, the pair are involved in an horrendous crash, with the camera capturing the scene.


This ad might come across as funny as several pedestrians are captured via CCTV walking into poles and various objects (one even falls into a pond), distracted while using their mobile phones. Ultimately it takes a seriously dark twist...


A touching ad showed how two boys take vastly different paths in their lives; one a successful businessman, the other a violent criminal, yet ultimately, through drunk driving the pair arrive at the same destination - a jail cell. The tagline for the campaign was 'Alcohol and the Roads Don’t Mix'. 

Knock on effect

Travelling just 5km/h over the speed limit gives you less time to react. This ad showed how devastating the "knock-on effect" of crashes can be to families. It had the tagline of "It won’t kill you to slow down".


This clip, entitled 'Ubuthakathi' (which means sorcery), shows the effect of peer pressure and drunk-driving.

First Kiss safety campaign

In 2016, the Western Cape government made a shocking ad in a bid to make South Africans buckle up when driving. The controversial ad made such a huge impact that it was aired in the UK too. The ad showed how in the event of a crash, unbuckled passengers can be a hazard to other occupants of a vehicle.

Arrive Alive  editor, Johan Jonck, said: "Whether shock tactics work or not is a much debated topic. There is a school of thought that it may be traumatic - but also many who believe that we should not tread too lightly around the horrific facts and confront people head-on with the truth about the consequences of reckless road behaviour!  

"There have been studies to prove that once a person passes the scene of a road crash there certainly is a change in the speed at which a person drives for the next 20km. 

"We believe a combined approach is necessary - what works for one person might not be the same for another... we should use different angles in messaging to reach a wide variety of road users in our target audience."

Special mention:

Drive Dry - The incredibly creepy "they're waiting for you" campaign:


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