Design a campaign to help Vision Zero lower traffic related deaths in Richmond.
Richmond has a disproportionately high rate of pedestrian death. City data shows that a majority of these fatalities occur away from crosswalks.
Pedestrians have a false sense of security when crossing the street illegally and depend on drivers to keep them safe.
We need to get pedestrians to recognize their safety is in their own hands.
Nobody likes being told what to do. So we created an urban legend and an enemy that Richmonders could unite against: Edwin the lonely ghost.
Vision Zero is a global initiative to end traffic fatalities. Richmond signed on in partnership with members of city council, Richmond Police, VCU Police and other community leaders.
Richmond has a problem: our city has the highest rate of pedestrian fatalities in the state. It’s even higher than that of New York City.
Of the 11 pedestrian deaths that occurred on Richmond’s streets in 2017, 10 took place away from a crosswalk, leading us to believe that crossing the street illegally is a leading cause of pedestrian death.
People believe they have the right of way when they don’t
They put trust in drivers to stop because they are the more vulnerable party
People know they shouldn’t cross but do it anyway. Sometimes they even feel more safe crossing away from an intersection.
Man on the street
We knew we couldn’t solve every traffic problem with a single campaign, so, inspired by the statistics about Richmond’s pedestrians, we sought out a way to increase safety specifically for Richmond residents who travel on foot.
We knew we faced the challenge of changing automatic behavior. We needed to do something that would reach more people than traditional OOH and hold attention better than traditional PSAs.
So we invented an urban legend.
Convince pedestrians for take their safety into their own hands.
Phase One: Meet Edwin
We capitalized on Richmond’s affinity for ghost stories to create the legend of Edwin, a ghost who haunts jaywalkers.
Here's his story:
Who is Edwin?
This is the story of a man, Edwin was his name.
A quiet, shy man, he never looked for fame.
Of many a book he was a fan,
But his biggest obsession was scrolling the ‘Gram.
Day and night he stared at his screen,
Never looking up at things that should be seen.
’Til one day he crossed the street without paying any attention,
With no hesitation, nor apprehension.
He did not ascend to another plane,
For Death had other ideas on the brain.
Now he plots and schemes for others to join him in the afterlife
To find friendship, companionship, perhaps even a wife.
So if you cross the street without looking, beware.
He could be the last thing you see when you take your last breath of air.
To introduce him to the public, we will install reverse graffitti and mysterious posters around the city directing passersby to www.whoisedwin.com or
1-800-DONT-DIE where the partnership with Vision Zero will be revealed.
Conversation around #whoisedwin will be jump started by local business partners sharing photos and musings about Edwin online.
Tying it Back to Safety
Visitors to WhoIsEdwin.com are treated to a site disguised as a ghost hunter’s journal of Edwin sightings before being served a pop-up screen that reveals the truth: Edwin represents Richmond's much scarier problem with pedestrian safety.
A pop-up reveals the scary stats about pedestrian death in Richmond.
Phase Two: Edwin Strikes Back
Edwin, annoyed at the attention given to safety, will vandalize the posters, and in an attempt to expand his haunting, hack the VCU Police Twitter. We’ll work with local news and radio stations to share more stories of sightings and continue to direct people to whoisedwin.com.
Edwin will hack the RVA Police Twitter account, taunting Richmonders.
Phase Three: RVA vs. Edwin
Once we have their attention, we will be able to unite Richmonders against a common enemy: pedestrian fatalities.
Rallying Behind the Cause
Local business and residents can help spread the word, and combat Edwin, by displaying anti-Edwin bumper stickers and window decals. Proceeds from their purchase will be donated to Vision Zero to help with future infrastructure updates and additional campaigns.
Edwin Lives On
With some help from partners, the story of Edwin and his mysterious presence will live on via social media, updated posts to whoisedwin.com and media coverage.
Why it Works
By inventing an urban legend, the Who Is Edwin campaign will break through the barriers faced by typical PSAs in getting people’s attention, and create the potential for viral, city-wide buzz that gets people talking about traffic safety.
Research, strategy, refining creative concepts, comms planning, presentation design
Kaitie Kovach, Strategist
Josh Browne, Copywriter
Ruthie Edwards, Experience Designer
Tobi Oluwo, Experience Designer
Charlotte Simons, Art Director
Ariana Safari, Art Director
Facing such a complicated and widespread problem was a daunting task at first. We chose to take a focused approach and deliver a low-cost campaign that could be implemented quickly.
Richmond Police and Vision Zero partners are currently in talks to move forward with this campaign.