PR Cop

      5 Comments on PR Cop

Jeff Morosoff, Assistant Professor, Hofstra University

Whenever I see another driver do something illegal or just plain stupid, I fantasize for that moment that I’m a cop.  I want to pull that violator over, write a ticket, and give him or her a piece of my mind.

But I’m just a PR guy.  So the next time I’m at a light waiting in the left-hand turn lane, and the guy in the Jeep passes the waiting cars and cuts me off to make his left from the right lane, I’m ready with a press release.  Its headline reads, “ILLEGAL LEFT TURNS LEAD TO INCREASE IN SUV ROLLOVERS.”   When I’m stuck behind the young woman in the Camry doing 42 in the middle lane of the L.I.E. with no one in front of her, and I see her texting when I finally pass her, I’m ready with my PSA graphically depicting horrible accidents resulting from distracted driving.  When I’m braking for a light and the guy in the Lexus behind me blows past me to go through it, I’m armed with a media advisory announcing the perp walk at which that guy will be moved from precinct to prison cell.  And when I witness every fourth car in the rush hour HOV lane with no passenger, I whip out a fact sheet that shows the large percentage of drivers who pay huge increases in insurance premiums after they’re ticketed.

No, a PR guy can’t stop the countless drivers who believe that their time is soooo important that they can ignore the law and put everyone at risk.  But a good PR campaign might raise some awareness and put pressure on those inconsiderate scofflaws.  I’m ready.  Let’s do it.  And if I can’t get the funding for it, watch out for me.  I’ll be the one doing 77, all alone in the HOV lane, with my Droid in one hand, coffee in the other, and my left signal perpetually blinking.  Your thoughts?

5 thoughts on “PR Cop

  1. Melissa

    This drives me INSANE! I also am one who wishes I was a cop to pull over the driver who decides he wants to make a left hand turn at a traffic light with about 5 signs clearly stating their is no left hand turn allowed, not to mention the 20 cars behind him all beeping their horns screaming “no left hand turn mornon!” But I do have to say my biggest pet-peeve with drivers are those who don’t wear their seatbelt. Freshman year of college I was in my speech communication class talking about the effects of not wearing your seatbelt and how by not wearing your seatbelt you can potentially kill everyone else in the car who is wearing their seatbelt. Then this summer I found myself in the car with my boyfriend’s father who is a state trooper giving him the same speech I gave my class freshman year about the potential consequence of not wearing a seatbelt. By the way, he did put on his seatbelt. 🙂

  2. Aqlesia

    This is funny. I also think it’s funny that when you become so wrapped up in PR you think of EVERYTHING at a PR angle. Back to the driving thing…I don’t drive (or have a drivers license, but that stories for a different day), but because of this, I pay close attention to people in the cars around me. When I see people texting, putting on make-up and looking at their ipods while driving, it makes me go crazy! These actives are so dangerous and it’s sad, but these people will never understand till something happens to them. I don’t really think PSA’s are always the way to go, unless they are realistic. I’m not one to be convinced by PSA’s because I’ve always seen them as a weaker PR tool. They’re just a bit cheesy and too exaggerated to reflect real life. It’s like a 15 year old boy smoking weed for the first time, then ending up failing all of his classes, joining a gang, crashing his mom’s car, destroying his cardiovascular system, and all from taking one hit from a bong at a party. A little drastic, I know, but this is the way PSA’s come off to me.

    The other day in my advertising we watched a very effective PSA, and for the first time, I was truly convinced. It was a European PSA about texting and driving, about four minutes long and extremely graphic. They would never allow it to be shown in the US, but it was very effective.

  3. Amanda

    A Very entertaining post with an interesting perspective. I never thought of PR being used in this way. The safety our of roads has not been properly policed. Further attention, perhaps through a PR campaign could garner the attention this problem needs.

  4. joyce litwin zimmerman

    I have noticed “Pull over for emergency vehicles” on the electronic signs on the parkways. What agency needs to be contacted to remind drivers not to text and drive? This would be a worthwhile reminder.

  5. Phil Hecken

    Interesting points. I must admit, I never thought of a good PR campaign used quite in the ways you describe. Sure, we’ve had “Zero Tolerance Means Zero Chances” (for teen drinking & driving), “55: It’s the Law” (for speeding) and “Buckling Up Saves Lives” (for safety/seatbelt use), but applying it to other facets of dangerous driving could be effective as well.

    New York State recently made “Texting While Driving” a primary offense — while it has been illegal to text while driving in New York for two years, up until now it has been a “secondary” offense, meaning police could only pull you over and cite you if your activity resulted in another offense, such as erratic driving. The law carries a $150 fine and two points on your license. Perhaps a PR campaign or slogan highlighting this is now in order; something along the lines of “txt+drive=$150/2pts” (well, better thought out than that, of course).

    Or, as you say, a more in-depth campaign for roadway safety with full press releases with BOLD CAPITALIZED headlines would do the trick. As the saying goes, “It can’t hurt,” right? If you can’t common-sensically legislate better, safer driving (even with new fines/points), then perhaps the carrot/stick approach will work.

    The last thing we need to read about is Professor Morsoff pulling a Howard Beale in the SUV lane of the LIE.


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