„The Sad Bus” project is the third most recognizable pro-social action in the history of Polish advertising business. Many people questioned its effectiveness, as it was just flooded with hate. Well, we say it was effective. Very effective.
Hundreds of buses take children on their vacation every year. Over 60% of registered buses is more than 14 years old and many of them is defective. It poses a danger for their young passengers.
Center for Informatics Technology (COI) by the Ministry of Interior created the application that enabled verification of buses; www.bezpiecznyautobus.gov.pl provides information, for instance, whether the vehicle has valid technical inspection papers and insurance.
We were asked to advertise this website. The idea was simple — maximum hassle with minimum budget (if 40 thousand zlotys may be called advertising budget at all).
The fact that owners of battered buses throughout the world make every effort to hide defects of their vehicles is the open secret. They paint them pastel colors, pimp them and adorn with gadgets. They do all they can to make them look friendly, cool and not scary at all. However, when we talk children security, there is no place for compromise. It is simple. No mercy for battered buses transporting our kids! Regardless how cool they may look… And so “The Sad Bus” movie appeared.
The campaign was about uploading the film to the YT Channel of the Ministry of Interior and notifying the press about upcoming project. The rest was done by itself…
As soon as the film was published it started to rise extreme emotions. Fan pages, alternative endings and mems started to appear as crazy. The debate was taken from the Internet to TV, press and radio in no more than 24 hours. The Sad Bus could be seen in all major national media. It was noticed abroad as well. Online shops introduced t-shirts and gadgets with our character and someone created mobile game where you could save the bus. The project designers were called names (Duży Format [the magazine of reporters] referred to us as “Nazis”), and the agency was literally threatened.
When we consider all the negative feedback, it would seem that this campaign was the worse and the most hated social campaign ever. But the results proved otherwise.
The film was viewed over 2 million times on You Tube (with no media support). The Sad Bus was seen by over 5 million viewers in one evening only in news of major TV stations.
The campaign was officially published in the Internet, TV and press 750 times. The media value equivalent (press, radio and TV) amounted to 2 million PLN.
The survey carried out following the campaign for COI showed that:
- 31% of Internet users know “The Sad Bus” campaign. It is the third most recognizable social campaign in Poland.
- 33% of feedback was negative, 30% positive and 37% neutral.
- 41% of responders carried out some kind of action (Like and/or Share) and, all-in-all, gave the positive feedback. Only 5% took actions on negative nature.
- 43% of responders indicated that the film communicated the utmost importance of children’s safety.
- 26% of parents with school-age kids, who had the contact with the campaign, visited www.bezpiecznyautobus.gov.pl page.
- Almost 60% of people declared to verify a bus in the future.
Almost 35,000 buses were verified during holiday season. Statistically speaking, every third bus registered in Poland was checked.
The Police hold back over 5,000 sad buses, which is 100% more than in the preceding year. On September 19, 2014 we published the second film titled ‘Cosmos’. It was seen almost 156,000 times (again, with zero media support). This time however, the story of dying children did not provoke a national hysteria… Still, the number of checked buses increased by 77% within first 4 days from publication of the film.
MIXX Awards, Best in Show
MIXX Awards Europe, Silver / Digital&Mobile
KTR, Gold, Campaign
KTR, Gold, Illustration/ Digital
KTR, Silver, Digital / Viral ad
KTR, Silver, Film / Social ad
KTR, Bronze, Active Advertising / Buzz
KTR, Bronze, Digital / Online Film
EFFIE, Gold, Social Campaigns and CSR
EFFIE, Bronze, Limited Budget
Cannes Lions: nominee in three categories.