Ungiven Gifts - an experience that drives a clear message home

Ungiven Gifts

Joss Davidge, managing partner of brand experience agency BEcause, continues his weekly quest for great marketing ideas.

This week he looks at how an experience has been used as a stark reminder to take care on the roads this Christmas.
It can be difficult to see the story behind statistics, we hear figures and percentages spoken about on the news or see facts in newspaper columns, but how can we expect people to gather a sense of what that really means? 

I have seen many stunts over the years that set out to drive home an important message by bringing a statistic to life through a physical representation. Hording a group of people into a space and saying ‘this many people, look’, creating a visual link and instantly making the message carry more weight than numbers on a page.
The Transport Accident Commission (TAC) Victoria, an Australian road safety organisation, has used this technique to create a very powerful installation in Melbourne’s central business district in the lead up to Christmas. 209 small plinths have been carefully laid out in a grid. On top of the plinths are a range of gifts, from toys to handbags to vases to scarves with handwritten gift tags attached. Each item has been painted white and represents a ‘ungiven gift’ – one for each death on Victoria’s roads this year.
Ungiven Gifts is simple, eloquent and penetrates deeply as it highlights the lives that have been changed by the fatalities, not just those who tragically passed away. It acts as a blunt reminder to take care on the roads this Christmas.

TAC brought the road death toll into sharp focus last year with an equally compelling stunt in Melbourne, which highlighted how many empty places there would be at dinner tables last Christmas.

Read more from Joss Davidge.