Arrive At Your Destination Safely with Vodacom

Vodacom is using ad space on WAZE to help drivers avoid hijacking hotspots when navigating SA’s roads.

Arrive At Your Destination Safely with Vodacom
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Every day more 800 000 people navigate South Africa’s roads using the navigation app WAZE. But the quickest route to a destination is not always the safest – so Vodacom decided to use the advertising space that WAZE offers to post Anti-Hijack Ads that help drivers navigate safely.

Bringing It to Life

In designing the Anti-Hijack Ads campaign, Vodacom worked with their agency VMLY&R.

“As Vodacom’s lead agency we are always looking for opportunities for Vodacom to contribute meaningfully to South African society in a way that empowers all people through technology,” explains Ryan McManus, Chief Creative Officer at VMLY&R. “We all live and drive on the dangerous roads in our cities, and we felt it was time for a smarter solution. We came up with an idea that uses data, technology and the power of Vodacom’s network to help keep drivers safer.”

How It Works

Using available crime data, the team identified zones with a high rate of hijackings. They then placed warning ads around these spots in the WAZE app.

“We worked alongside the brand and used the advertising functionality WAZE offers to create geo-located ads that warn people of a dangerous car hijack zone before they enter it, and then use WAZE existing functionality to reroute them safely with a single click,” McManus explains.

The Vodacom Anti-Hijack Adds pop up when a driver is stationary – for example at a traffic light or in heavy traffic – alerting them that they’re heading towards a danger zone and offering a safer alternative route. The driver can then make an informed decision to stay on the faster, potentially dangerous route – knowing they need to be extra vigilant – or accept the safer detour.

First Priority: Make It Useful

The Vodacom Anti-Hijack Adds campaign is first and foremost designed to be a useful tool for drivers. This informed every aspect of the creative process.

In creating the ads, the team took their lead from the environment they would be operating in and the purpose they were to fulfil, rather than focusing on corporate CI. “The look-and-feel was inspired by the visual language of road and warning signage and was designed to grab the attention of the driver and alert them of the danger ahead,” explains Executive Creative Director Adam Whitehouse. They’re simple, clear and enable quick decision-making.

The Anti-Hijack Ads campaign went live on 25 March this year and, so far, has been rolled out across Johannesburg. VMLY&R Chief Connections Officer Matthew Arnold says the data shows Joburg drivers are benefitting from the ads. They have already achieved a reach of more than 360 000 and nearly 2 000 drivers have opted for safer alternative routes. “We are helping to reroute 200 people a day on average,” says Arnold.

“Working on this campaign was really exciting. Vodacom is a true purposeful brand which gives us the opportunity to find ways of using advertising space differently – in this case, truly helping South Africans on their journey to a safer route,” says Alex White, Business Unit Director at VMLY&R.


For more information on VMLY&R:

Press Enquiries:

Ben Wagner

Head of PR & Marketing


About VMLY&R

VMLY&R is a global brand and customer experience agency that harnesses creativity, technology, and culture to create connected brands. Made up of more than 11,000 employees worldwide, the agency has principal offices in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Kansas City, New York, Detroit, London, São Paulo, Shanghai, Singapore and Sydney. VMLY&R works with client partners including Absa, BAT, Colgate-Palmolive, Danone, Dell, Ford, Nando’s, New Balance, Pfizer, Vodacom and Wendy's. For more information, visit VMLY&R is a WPP company (NYSE: WPP).

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