Local super bowl ad sparks controversy

Published 02/03 2014 11:45AM

Updated 02/03 2014 05:50PM

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah)    Sundays super bowl featured a local commercial that has sparked some controversy. As part of the Utah Department of Transportations “Zero Fatalities” campaign they launched an advertisement that showed a small child killed in a car accident after being smashed by a parent who was not wearing a seatbelt.

UDOT reports not wearing a seat belt is the number one killer in crashes on Utah roads. “It’s our hope that the people who don't typically buckle up maybe do so after seeing this,” said John Gleason, spokesperson for UDOT. Gleason says the commercial spot isn't meant to scare anyone, but it's a harsh reality and people need to realize that by not buckling it's much more than just a personal choice and playing the advertisement during the super bowl was necessary.

“Adult male’s watch the super bowl and statistics show that the large percentage of those who don't ware those seat belts are male adults,’ said Sgt. Todd Royce with the Utah Highway Patrol.

According to the UHP last year 71 fatal crashes involved people who were not wearing seat belts, or were using them improperly. Despite the deadly statistic some Utah parents felt the commercial wasn't appropriate during a light hearted event like the super bowl.

“My main thought was it was kind of an out of place commercial, said Damon Papac a Utah parent who saw the commercial with his family.

Despite when the commercial made its debut, Kaylan Malm from Richter 7 advertising agency says it was a successful message, but this year’s super bowl game may have cost it viewers. “A lot of ads during the third and fourth quarter maybe didn't get the coverage they were expecting. I think first and second quarter last night is what actually saw the largest benefit,” said Malm.

An annual survey from the Utah Highway Safety Office reports 80% of Utahn’s say they buckle up. So the key is reaching that 20%. Additionally, UDOT did not fork out millions to pay for the commercial because it only aired locally.


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