New TV ad spearheads Cambodia campaign

Main Image
A TV advert for the campaign features ‘friendly spirits’
A TV advert for the campaign features ‘friendly spirits’
The campaign was launched with a press conference in Phnom Penh
The campaign was launched with a press conference in Phnom Penh
The traffic police are supporting the awareness raising effort
The traffic police are supporting the awareness raising effort

Cambodia’s recently approved traffic safety law is being supported by a new TV and street enforcement campaign co-funded by USAID and the FIA Foundation.

The new campaign, led by AIP Foundation, features ghostly spirits who advise motorcycle riders not to repeat their own mistakes, but instead to always wear a crash helmet. These friendly spirits not only visit riders on the street, but on TVs across Cambodia. A Public Service Announcement, “The Visit”, was unveiled on April 2nd as part of the launch of a new campaign supporting the dissemination and implementation of the new Road Traffic Law. The campaign incorporates media-, street-, and community-based approaches to improve helmet safety in Cambodia. In the TV commercial, spirits tell a motorcyclist to put a helmet on his wife and son. The message of the commercial is “Protect your passengers’ lives. Make sure they wear helmets.”

The campaign is part of AIP Foundation’s “Head Safe. Helmet On.” project supported by USAID-Development Innovation Ventures, UPS Foundation and FIA Foundation, and will contribute to the goal of increasing passenger helmet use rates to 80% in target communes by 2016. Over 120 participants attended the media launch in Phnom Penh where government officials from national level, Phnom Penh, Kandal, and Kampong Speu provinces watched the first airing of the campaign’s TV commercial before taking to the streets to watch the spirits speak to un-helmeted riders. The spirits then distributed helmet vouchers to motorcycle passengers.

H.E. Major General Lay Bunthorn, Senior Representative of General Commissariat of National Police, said, “Consistent helmet use is a message that needs to reach all motorcyclists. Using spirits on the streets made a lasting impression to riders; we hope the same will happen through the radio, television, and billboard road safety messages. Along with enforcement, this behaviour influencing campaign plays a crucial role in inspiring passengers to wear helmets: the more we strategically communicate, the more behaviour will be changed.”

Mirjam Sidik, CEO of AIP Foundation, said that the campaign is being implemented at a crucial time. “We are working in tandem with the new law in order to make a greater impact among passengers. The campaign will inform the public of the new law while striving to change current behaviours around helmet use.”

As part of the street- and community-based campaign components, AIP Foundation will coordinate with local police, commune council members, and volunteers to reach even more motorcycle passengers. Non-helmeted passengers and children will be stopped at police check points, informed of the new law, and receive subsidized helmet vouchers provided by AIP Foundation. Additionally, youth volunteers will communicate with individual community members about the passenger helmet mandate.

H.E. Poeu Maly, Secretary General of the National Road Safety Committee, said: “Each year, road crashes in Cambodia kill more people than malaria, dengue fever, and landmines—combined. We believe an effective campaign can reach a wide audience and positively influence Cambodians to make safer, smarter decisions while on the road.”

The campaign launch comes as AIP Foundation and the US CDC’s Global Road Safety team have been recognised with the US National Center for Injury Prevention and Control’s Honor Award this year for “International Partnership.” The award was presented to AIP Foundation and CDC in March 2015 for their collaborative work on the Global Helmet Vaccine Initiative in Cambodia, which is co-funded by the FIA Foundation. The NCIPC Honor Awards celebrate the best of public service by recognising staff of CDC and their partners for their contribution to improving public health and injury prevention.

(All photos copyright of AIP Foundation.)