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Was The ProRail ‘Victim Fashion’ Campaign Too Controversial

Recently The Netherlands teach carrier ProRail released a short-lived, controversial marketing campaign to decrease railway accidents. I need to proportion it with you as it brings up a crucial marketing query: When is arguably advertising going to some distance? And especially is this ProRail campaign off the rails?

First, the marketing campaign.

Victim Fashion. Created By Accident.

The ProRail marketing campaign changed into aimed toward teenagers because, regardless of preceding PSA efforts, the number of railway casualties in The Netherlands has tripled on account that 2016. To reach this elusive target market, a “style” emblem was created offering a replica series of torn garb as worn with the aid of actual railway coincidence sufferers.

The “Victim Fashion” brand – promoted below the splendid slogan “Created through accident” – changed into hyped by using influencers and ultimately released at a style show in Amsterdam in early April.

The dreams for the campaign in keeping with a spokesperson were subsequent:

Long-time period heavily lessens (we cross for the zero marks) the wide variety of injuries on and close to railroad tracks.
Reach 60-70% of the kids (elderly 12-18). They are the bulk organization of human beings demise & getting hurt in railroad accidents.
Generate media visibility and social traction – we’re going to goal wave makers accomplishing our middle target audience: children and all Dutch inhabitants.

The results for the campaign in line with the same spokesperson:

We handed all brief time period criteria within 1 day.”


Since the campaign best launched in early April, most effective time will tell if it saves lives. But the provocative nature of the marketing campaign has a few humans thinking whether it is long past to a long way.

Did they virtually simply create a fashion brand with victims’ garb?

That became my first idea, I admit it. It’s stressful to think about. In reality, looking at one of the articles of clothing–torn and shredded–absolutely brings the viewer nose-to-nose with the sufferer in a completely uncomfortable way. If a photograph tells a tale, then that torn shirt up there tells a fancy and tragic one. Now imagine the impact of those not as pics but live, in character, on the fashion display.

Even simply seeing the photographs, I cannot assist but believe the sufferer getting hit by the train. I cannot assist however visualize the shirt or pants getting savagely mangled. I cannot help however think about the human being who wore these garments as all that came about. What had been they doing? What were they thinking? Did it hurt or changed into it over quickly?

It’s intimately terrible to the factor you can viscerally experience the message.

So terrible in truth, many known as for the campaign to be pulled. And the backlash changed into so great the attempt changed into, in fact, quick pull. Per the click release:

After being enthusiastically received by the (teenage) target market, the campaign fast bumped into grievance from use of an’s national railway operator, the Dutch secretary of infrastructure, and some mother and father of previous victims.

Considering all conversation goals had been passed inside hours of the launch, ProRail control determined to recognize requires the marketing campaign to be taken offline and avoid pointless misery to those taking offense to the marketing campaign.”

I’m satisfied the marketing campaign turned into so powerful at some stage in the quick time it ran, however, I think it’s a shame this campaign changed into pulled. Here’s why.

The motives human beings had been indignant are the equal reasons it labored.

This campaign was effective because it made human beings experience uncomfortable. It compelled humans to do not forget–again, intimately–what it would be like to be mangled in a teach twist of fate.

Was it disrespectful to the sufferers? While I can understand why a person–in particular a discern–would possibly assume so, I think there’s a better good at play right here. In fact, there is no higher manner to respect a sufferer than to discover a way for others to study from that victim’s fate and, in so doing, avoid becoming victims themselves.

It’s shocking, yes. But it must be. Shock is this campaign’s number one supplier of strength because as soon as a person is dead, they are lifeless. The chance of a future victim missing the marketing campaign’s message because the innovative turned into “too secure” is without a doubt no longer well worth taking.



Wendell Washington

Explorer. Social media expert. Internet fanatic. Pop culture evangelist. Spent the better part of the 90's consulting about g.i. joes in Atlantic City, NJ. Set new standards for licensing carp in Ocean City, NJ. Spent two years donating saliva in Los Angeles, CA. Managed a small team developing Magic 8-Balls in Deltona, FL. Had a brief career implementing weed whackers in Hanford, CA. Spent a weekend writing about crickets in Los Angeles, CA.

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