“First Kiss” was released in March 2016 as part of Safely Home’s #BeTheChange themed period on the Road Safety Calendar. At the core of the campaign is a hard-hitting TV commercial showing the consequences of not buckling up. The commercial was widely praised for its exceptional quality, and won two advertising industry awards within weeks of release. It was also subject to heated public discussion both for and against, with criticism levelled at the graphic portrayal of the consequences of reckless road user behaviour.

The ad, released on TV, cinema and online, can be viewed here:

International best practice and in-depth research into local audience perceptions drove the development and production of the ad, with an impact assessment component built into the project.

The assessment of the campaign’s impact has proven that the scientific, evidence-driven methodologies employed to create First Kiss really work, especially when they are fused with the creative vision of our team at Y&R and Egg Films.

Four seatbelt compliance surveys were conducted at four major intersections in the City of Cape Town prior to launch of the ad. These surveys were ‘snap counts’, i.e. conducted by actual observation of driver and passenger behaviour, not from self-reported behaviour.

These surveys, based on observation of vehicle occupants, found an overall compliance of 40%. Six weeks into the campaign, these four surveys were repeated at the same intersections.

Over time it was found that overall compliance went up to 51%, an increase of 11 percentage points over the pre-campaign surveys. This translates to a 27.5% improvement overall. By far the most impressive improvement was in rear-seat compliance, which shot up an astonishing 161.5%.

Seatbelt Compliance Surveys Results for the “First Kiss” Campaign:

  Pre-Campaign Six Weeks Into Campaign Percentage Change
Overall 40% 51% +27.5%
Drivers 50% 56% +12%
Front seat passengers 32% 48% +50%
Rear seat passengers 13% 34% +161.5%


These improvements were driven mainly by behaviour change in Belville, the CBD and Mitchell’s Plain, with less impact recorded in Khayelitsha, despite a concentration of outdoor advertising supporting the commercial in the area. This aspect of the campaign has been extremely influential in how we design the research into our next TV advertising campaign, which is centred on our #BoozeFreeRoads theme for November, December and January. It is also driving the development of a new activation of “First Kiss” for September’s #AlwaysBuckleUp theme.

We will be repeating the surveys six months after the campaign, and testing public perception and behaviour again in the annual Safely Home Attitudinal Survey later in the year.

We will also be analysing fatalities and injury data as these become available to track this impact. So far the data is extremely promising, as passenger fatality numbers from May 2016 (20) were 30% below passenger fatalities numbers for both May 2014 and May 2015 (both 26), although the department cautions against drawing conclusions regarding this aspect of the campaign impact. Much more data will need to be accumulated and analysed.

The summary report by TNS is attached.

While TV and cinema airings have now wrapped up, “First Kiss” continues online, with ongoing billboard support.