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A crash course in makeup application (while driving)

A crash course in makeup application (while driving)


The Daily Mail featured this online distracted driving PSA by Nikkie, a 17-year-old Dutch make-up artist who has been creating YouTube tutorials since she was 14.

[Pic Via her online bio]

Recently, she partnered with Volkswagen to create a stealth PSA on her YouTube channel, warning her fans about the dangers of applying makeup while driving a car. Titles “A Crash Course to Shine”, it starts as a how-to video on applying rhinestones as facial bling.

And the it gets weird…

You can’t help but be reminded of the internet’s favourite traffic safety PSA, Embrace Life. But while that one was a positive and moving message that has more impact every time you see it, “A Crash Course to Shine” is shocker that has only one opportunity to surprise you.

Here’s the how it was rationalized in the Press Release (back in April):

Given a shockingly high figure of half a million car crashes a year caused by women drivers applying makeup (in the UK alone), awareness of this underestimated danger needs to be raised. Based on this insight the aim of a viral video by DDB Berlin and Volkswagen is to address a target audience of young women drivers and educate them about the danger of putting on makeup while driving.

The objective is to reach as many young women as possible all over the world. In order to do so, DDB Berlin picked up the latest viral trend among young women: haul videos. These videos are often put on the web by girls, who buy cosmetics and give makeup tutorials on how to use the respective products. Together with the famous haul girl Nikkie, who has over 150,000 subscribers, DDB Berlin created the tutorial “a crash course to shine” carrying the message in a way that is designed for impact.

By using this platform the narrow target group is addressed directly in terms of age and interest. Having a famous makeup artist as the spokesperson makes the message relevant and even more believable to the target group. “In only five days the video was shared, re-tweeted and has been watched almost 130,000 times. DDB Berlin and Volkswagen started a real discussion on YouTube with over 2,100 relevant comments. And this is exactly what we believe Social Creativity must do,” says Eric Schoeffler, Chief Creative Officer, DDB Tribal Group.

It definitely made the rounds with its highly targeted audience (which is probably why it took so long to get the unsolicited attention of this middle-aged male blogger) but will its high sharability actually influence a change in behaviour? Or do people just share, comment, and move on to the next thing that catches their short online attention span?

At the risk of exposing my cynical nature, I regret to say that in the absence of real social results, and with my strong opinions on shock marketing to youth, I will assume the latter.

DDB Tribal Berlin
The Daily Mail

I am Creative Director at Acart Communications, a Canadian Social Issues Marketing agency. Read more