Winner of many advertising awards, the following video takes a unique approach to raising awareness about the importance of seatbelt safety. Watch it, then read the Reversal Theory perspective below.
Who Will YOU Wear It For?
Many advertisements and public awareness campaigns are oriented around the Reversal Theory Mastery state: helping people feel informed and empowered to take a different action. This advertisement takes an opposite approach, deploying the Sympathy and Other states in an artistic and even whimsical way to make its point about seatbelt safety. Here, the loving embrace of heavenly wife and angel daughter serves as the seatbelt protecting the father from the sparkling pieces of glass. It is a highly metaphorical scene that emphasizes love, connectedness, and protection in the safety of the family home. The advertisement invites the viewer to imagine the emotional impact of a car accident on loved ones, inspiring action through care (Sympathy Other).
Comments from the video’s producers also highlight interplay between the Conforming and Rebellious states:
“Embrace Life was deliberately developed to provide a counter-point to the hard-hitting ‘shock and awe’ advertising so common to road safety.” – Sussex Safer Roads Partnership, 2010
This suggests that while the desired impact of the advertisement is Conforming (wear your seatbelt like you are supposed to), the motivation behind the advertisement’s creation is actually Rebellious (deliberately designed to provide a counter-point, or something new). This is a great example of how one state can be used to invoke another: something provocative and new to catch the viewers attention, and hopefully motivate adherence to the very basic rule heard many times before: Buckle Up!