Please don’t get distracted by the bloody billboard

The ad below was developed to encourage drivers in New Zealand to drive safe in the rain. The billboard shows a child’s face with the headline: “Rain changes everything. Drive to the conditions.” However, there is more to this billboard than what meets the eye.

When it starts to rain, the ad changes. Take a look below and see for yourself, however I must warn you, the image is rather gruesome.

Rain Changes Everything
Client: Papakura District Council in New Zealand
Agency: Colenso BBDO

Regular billboard:

Billboard in the rain:

Sometimes in advertising clients buy really good ideas, but they’re just not executed the way you’d hope. It happens more often than not. And the ad above is an example of this.

The original billboard isn’t bad. It’s a soft-sell, that to me, says “think of your kids, drive cautiously in the rain”. The idea of the ad changing in the rain is also pretty cool. But the execution is nothing more than cheap shock value. It looks like an ad for some kind of slasher/horror movie.

Not to mention the irony of drivers being distracted in the rain by this child’s bloody face. The ad is more likely to cause accidents than prevent them.

In my opinion, the ad fails. Although, maybe this kind of thing works in New Zealand? What do you think?

– danvertising



10 Responses to Please don’t get distracted by the bloody billboard

  1. Mattd says:

    I loved the idea, thought it could work. But, you made me change my mind, probably more suitable for Halloween 2.

  2. danvertising says:

    Mattd, what was it about the idea that you loved initially?

  3. Mattd says:

    Well, I usually hate driving ads and don’t pay attention to them. Before reading the article I saw the pictures and thought some punk put the blood on it, but it did catch my eye. If you were driving it’s an add you’d tell your friends to check it out the before and after.

    So it kinda works for me, in a weird way. But the blood could be better.

  4. danvertising says:

    You’re right it would certainly grab your attention. Maybe for all of the wrong reasons…

    There are a lot of PSA’s that go over-the-top in shock value when trying to break through the clutter. So I’m not shocked by it at all.

    I think it’s probably more that they’re promoting safe driving in the rain… by using a giant child’s head that starts seeping blood when it rains… The entire concept is counter-productive to their messaging.

    Although if you don’t drive off the road when you first see the ad, you are likely to remember it the next time you’re driving in the rain.

  5. Mattd says:

    I agree with you. It doesn’t work as a good PSA but grabs my attention not in a shock value but just because I haven’t seen an ad changing in the rain. It could be so much better for other things. Dexter!!

    It’s in New Zealand. That explains everything.

  6. danvertising says:

    Here are some other examples of outdoor ads changing with the weather.

    I think you’ll like 🙂


    Hard not to get distracted by that.

  7. Mattd says:

    haha interesting. thumbs up for changing ads!

  8. […] Read more here: Please don't get distracted by the bloody billboard « danvertising … […]

  9. […] In my personal opinion, the ad is pretty hard to watch. It no doubt makes an impact, but is it memorable for the wrong reasons? There are a lot of examples of social marketing like this, that use shock value to create a buzz. I touched on this issue briefly in a previous post on this blog for the Papakura District Council’s bloody billboard. […]

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