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What a dancing traffic light can teach us about advertising

February 11, 2015 at 7:38 by Ana Comments

Humans are so ingenious at adapting to inconvenient situations that they are not often aware that they are doing so. Think vending machine. People need to bend down to get a can of soda, simply because it’s easier for the machine to use gravity to drop a can into a bin at our feet than to deliver it at a waist high into our hands. Machine wins, we lose.

There’s a similar scenario with traffic lights. No one likes to wait at the red light. It’s boring to stare at the red hand or a motionless red figure for minutes at the time. Pedestrians would rather subvert it, run over a crossing and expose themselves to an easily avoidable danger.

Smart, mini electric cars manufacturer, decided to change the context around of street crossing experience. This is not surprising for a company that defines itself as “a great idea for urban mobility.” To make crossing a street more fun - and safer - Smart came up with an endearing dancing red light homunculus.

As a result, people started staring at it, motionless, which is exactly the point of a red light. The solution was simple, human, and smart, true to the company’s name. I am very curios to hear about the metrics around it, but as for now, this simple idea reminds us that best solutions are those that designed with humans in mind.

This activation is part of Smart’s new campaign, #WhatAreYouFor, featuring sorts of urban joy ideas aimed at making “life in the city, easier, brighter and more carefree.” Check it out.

Discovered via Seth Weisfeld.

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