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Left Unfinished

An interactive AR-enabled gallery experience showcasing 7 seemingly ordinary items from 7 lives that were forever changed by the road.

Brief and Thinking

After experiencing the most impactful year of road safety in 2018 with the lowest number of lives lost, the Transport Accident Commission was suddenly grappling with an inexplicable spike in road trauma in 2019. With seemingly no end in sight, the TAC needed a circuit breaker campaign that would disrupt the complacency Victorians were taking to the road.

The most enduring and stubborn barrier that meets every road safety brief is the fact that people don’t expect road trauma to happen to them. Collectively, we think we’re above average drivers and innate cognitive biases result in a false sense of optimism behind the wheel. Research shows people think they’re more likely to win the lottery than get seriously injured in a car accident. Despite the stats not supporting our optimism, we struggle to realise the dangers we are faced with on the road. For this reason, people tend to overlook road safety messages, assuming they apply to others – not themselves.

To penetrate our biases and desensitisation, we needed to tackle the problem in a different way. Road trauma has largely been portrayed as gruesome, loud and dramatic, yet at its core, the result is quiet and resounding loss. Loss of opportunity, loss of capability, loss of loved ones. We might not all relate to road trauma but every single human has felt loss.

The gravity and shock of loss (on the road) can be so surreal, that we are often only able to fully comprehend the reality of it in the horribly mundane and routine moments of life that are abruptly left unfinished. By connecting with Victorians first through loss through relatable, everyday parts of life, we could then show that we are not immune to loss on the road.

The Idea

Together with the TAC and Road Trauma Support Services Victoria (RTSSV), UNBND + TABOO developed an interactive exhibition called “Left Unfinished”, to deliver a powerful and relatable road safety message by showcasing everyday items belonging to Victorians whose lives were suddenly lost or forever changed on our roads.

The interactive exhibition showcased seven seemingly ordinary items belonging to seven Victorians who either lost their lives or had their lives permanently changed due to road trauma. The items, together with their accompanying stories served as a tribute to the individuals, their families and loved ones, as well as a jarring reminder of our vulnerability on Victorian roads.

The personal items together with their accompanying stories were displayed at the Melbourne Museum before touring the state. To amplify the campaign beyond the physical exhibition we re-created the gallery experience using web-based augmented reality, transforming everyday lounge rooms around Australia into personalised, immersive exhibition spaces.

Like a museum, the objective was to allow users to explore at their own pace. Seven plinths housing the personal artefacts were spawned in front of the user using web-based SLAM technology. Utilising spatial audio, a virtual narrator told each story as the user moved between the plinths. Custom proximity and gaze-based navigation triggered the stories relevant to the user’s position without requiring touch-based navigation.

The personal items were digitised using custom built photogrammetry techniques, resulting in models that were as authentic as their real counterparts. Highly technical lighting techniques were implemented by baking multiple photorealistic path-traced light sources, all blended and computed at runtime. In addition, logic was integrated to adjust the height of the plinths based on the distance of the smartphone from the ground.

The campaign was also supported by social and digital channels to amplify the seven stories in the news feeds of Victorian road users. The stories were amplified contextually to deliver even greater relevance and relatability, and reinforce the message that no one is impervious to road trauma.

Through these seven items and their stories, we delivered deeply personal messages that made the realities of road trauma more relatable, tangible and comprehensible – demonstrating just how vulnerable we all are on the roads.

The Results

The Left Unfinished campaign produced incredibly strong results. Not only did the campaign achieve strong reach delivered by owned, earned and paid channels – we successfully disrupted the complacency Victorians take to the road. The execution of a consequential message told through personal and real human stories, was key to penetrating biases and desensitisation. This was demonstrated by the 450% uplift in social shares, unlocking potent peer–to–peer advocacy. As we wanted to shift the perception of TAC from an authoritarian body, peer–to–peer advocacy is a powerful force to drive awareness of the dangers we face when we travel on the road and shared responsibility amongst Victorian road users.

Key stats:

  • 1 in 2 Victorian road users reached
  • 1 in 4 Victorian road users watched a film
  • 2.4M Reach (55% of the Victorians aged 18-45)
  • 1.4M campaign engagements
  • 14,000+ exhibition views
  • 300% uplift in average CTR & average engagement rate
  • 450% uplift in social shares
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