The idea was simple: use crash test dummies with a morbid sense of humor as “spokesdummies’ to get people to buckle up their safety belt. The campaign eventually became the second most successful Ad Council effort, only behind Smokey the Bear.
Not only did we produced over 50 TV spots, we did equally as many radio commercials, posters, newspaper and print ads, and even a rap song! There were also toys and halloween costumes. Talk about total integration! I just wish Al Gore hadn’t waited so long to invent the internet. I can only imagine the fun we’d had with the online videos! Facebook would have been a natural, too
Unfortunately, Vince and Larry have been “retired”. Not because of old age but because, quite frankly, the campaign worked so well. When we started the project only two states had mandatory safety belt laws. Now, all 50 states have a mandatory law on the books!
On Tuesday, Vince and Larry will be placed into the Smithsonian, which probably beats the hell out of retiring in Florida.
SIDENOTE: Every year “icons” are voted into the Advertising Week HOF. It would be nice if Vince and Larry as well as their old pal, Smokey, were voted in. Last year, the AOL “running man” was inducted primarily because the employees at AOL “block voted”. Since the Ad Council doesn’t have a bevy of employees like AOL or other big companies, it is very difficult for their incons to recieve enough votes for induction. I promised Peggy Conlon of the Ad Council that would change this year!