The ad campaign which goes too far

I’m all for a bit of shock value - especially if it has the desired effect.

So normally while I may well close my eyes, or even change the channel, I welcome the advertising campaigns from the DOE on Road Safety.

Northern Ireland has a reputation for our hard hitting road safety campaigns - and indeed many of them travelled around the world earning praise for putting the message out there clearly and concisely.

In fact they have had such an impact that I am sure many of us would be able to recall a good selection of tragic stories played out on our screens to heartbreaking songs and with the requisite sad child looking on at the inevitable funeral cortege.

A few years ago the DOE stepped it up a gear when they started killing or seriously injuring children in their ads. (Note: No children were actually killed).

The first ad which caused me to actually change the channel was the one with the mammy and her son skipping down the street after school only for them both to be hit by a speeding car, The ad ended with the mother, battered and bruised, sobbing while watching doctor’s trying to shock her son’s heart back to life.

The second ad which broke me, and which ended up being one which would guarantee me switching the channel over before it reached its conclusion, was the one with the wee boy playing football in his garden before a speeding car crashed through the hedge and fells him. That ad ends with his father carrying his (presumably dead) body through the garden sobbing for help.

But I only thought those ads were traumatic. They were Disney movies compared to the newest one. The new ad follows a class of young children (nursery age, maybe primary one) going through their day - and then going out for a picnic.

Sitting all together they are enjoying their school outing when a car rolls through a hedge and kills every last one of them.

The ad ends with their empty classroom and the message that in the last year a classroom of children have died thanks to speeders.

A stark message? Yes. An important message? Indeed. But is this (no pun intended) overkill? Is this too extreme an ad? There is no doubt the shock factor is turned up to 90.

It’s another ad I will switch over from.

And those who speed - who routinely drive like maniacs - I don’t think its likely to change their ways. Not as much as a tougher line from the courts anyway.