The Green Cross Code campaign is to be given a new lease of life with an up to date target audience to boot. Almost forty years after its initial airing in the mid- 1970s, the concept is to be resurrected and will include a familiar face to those who first saw the adverts all those years ago, in the form of David Prowse. Prowse was also the man who portrayed Darth Vader in the first three Star Wars films (with the voice of the great actor James Earl Jones being used to complete the 'character'), but it is the topic of adult road safety that he now feels strongly about and is turning his energy towards. The latest campaign has been launched on YouTube in a clear effort to reach out to those who it is felt need to be made more aware of the danger they may be putting themselves in.
The 79- year old former bodybuilder and weightlifter is to reprise his role as the Green Cross Code Man and complete the persona with his famous green and white suit, for two brand new adverts that will form part of the campaign for Road Safety Week 2014. The original message of "Stop, look and listen" acted as good advice to ensure that British children remained safe while crossing the road. The adverts will instead focus on adults this time in recognition of the perceived lack of attentiveness many people (who should know better) display when they attempt to cross the road, with particular attention being paid to the use of smartphones and headphones to listen to music while on the go. Instead of tweeting when presented with a potentially life threatening situation, the message is made that adults should instead pay attention to the traffic.
Insurance company "MORE THAN" suggest that adults are behaving inappropriately on the roads, with the blame being placed on the dramatic increase in electronic devices being used in recent years such as smartphones and over-ear headphones. They estimate that approximately eleven percent of pedestrians who have been hit by either a car or a cyclist in recent years after stepping out into the road, was as a result of talking, texting, gaming or tweeting using their phones or because they were listening to music on their headphones. The assertion of a blasé approach to crossing the road by adults is backed up by further statistics that have been gathered, which suggest that 63% admitted regularly crossing the road where it was not safe to do so and a massive 87% have walked into the road where there were cars parked. Perhaps most worrying is the figure of 39% of road injuries that pedestrians suffer being as a result of adults failing to look as they cross the road.
Previous messages have targeted drivers and the police have powers to fine those who they catch using their phones while driving, unless they use suitable "hands- free" kits and are not distracted by their use. This new campaign is moving on to the next logical step, to recognise that pedestrians may also be putting themselves in danger through their behaviour and use of the latest technology, and attempting to make them more aware of the risks.
The original films that Prowse appeared in seemed to have a favourable impact, as after they were shown there was a marked decrease in road accident rates. It also made Prowse a popular and well liked figure on the television screen and also on the Star Wars'-related circuit (although he fell out with George Lucas in later years). He clearly believes that the time is right to resurrect the basic message he invoked all those years ago, as the adults of today do not appear to be adhering to the basic messages he imparted to the youngsters of the past.
Whether the veteran 6 foot 5 inches actor will still have what it takes to make a difference in a more sceptical world who may view the adverts with amusement rather than genuine concern is uncertain, but it seems that anything that may improve people's awareness (or at least make them think) should be welcomed. #Social media