Too many people see their car as the one and only form of transport, even for a recreational trip to the city. But driving in the city can be downright crazy: navigating traffic, finding a parking spot, paying for your parking spot, paying the fine if you’re late getting back to your parking spot…!! No wonder people lose their self-control behind the wheel and let slip the odd expletive. It’s called road rage. A terrible habit that, as it turned out, proved to be both the problem and the solution.
To make people aware of the phenomenon of road rage – and convince them of De Lijn’s quicker, cheaper and above all stress-free alternatives – we let the now infamous “Stress Doll” do the talking (or shouting). We invented the “Potverpot”: a swear jar that – if you’re like most people – will help you save up enough for a bus or tram ride in no time at all. Especially if you follow the guidelines and put in a euro for every four-letter word that passes your lips.
13,500 swear jars covered in the popular stress doll’s more publishable expletives were handed out in 12 Flemish cities. And to spread the message even further, a fun online campaign invited people to find out what kind of swearer they really are at delijn.be/potverpot.
Because we didn’t want journalists to feel left out of the Stress Doll campaign, we went to the trouble of translating it into a editorial story that could be easily integrated by the nation’s press.
How? We went in search of a strong figure we could use to quantify the very recognisable and everyday phenomenon of swearing in the car. Together with an independent research bureau, we surveyed 1000 people in Flanders about their searing tendencies in the car. That research concluded that no fewer than 95% swear in traffic.
The survey also provided us with a bit-size list of the top-ten most commonly used expletives behind the wheel. Right at the top of the list in Flemish was the word ‘Godverdomme!’ (or ‘Damn it!’).
To make the story just as digestible for radio programmers, we gave them access to the stress doll’s genuine and original audio files.
100 swear jars were also distributed by post to a select group of journalists.
Virtually all newspapers published the story both online and in print. Ongoing coverage in virtually all current affairs programmes on radio and television soon followed. Some radio broadcasters even mixed the stress doll’s voice into their daily traffic report.
The top 10 most common swear words was also a question on the popular TV quiz show, “De Slimste Mens ter Wereld”. And it didn’t take long for the campaign to become a trending topic on Twitter as well.
- 189,000 people visited the website www.potverpot.be
- 13,000 swear jars were distributed
- 32,000 people decided to leave their road rage behind and order a trial pass.
The incredible success of the swear jar campaign can be seen not only in the huge number of hits, views and shares but above all in the extensive amount of online, print, radio and media coverage: helping to spread the message further, wider and – not to be sneezed at – for free!
- 189K people visited the website www.potverpot.be
- 13K potver-pots were distributed
- 32K people decided to leave their car stress behind and order a trial pass.