Students Inspired to Promote Bus Safety

A group of Aberdeen College students, moved by a local road safety campaign, have pitched ideas to Aberdeenshire Council as part of their Marketing and Communications course.

Inspired by a television advert promoting the council's Bus Stop! campaign, students Lisa Arnold (18, Newmachar), Malwina Miklas (24, Aberdeen) and Ruairidh MacDonald (20, Newburgh) decided to use the project as part of their coursework.

Much like the TV show 'The Apprentice' the students worked in a team named 'Pro-Excel' to research and develop new ideas for the campaign in future years and suggested radio adverts, posters and social networking strategies.

The students also carried out market research with primary school pupils and came up with the idea of cartoons to appeal to younger audiences.

Once the students had built their campaign they presented their ideas to council staff and were recently invited back to share their thoughts further as this year's campaign steps up a gear.

Lisa said, "I found the campaign of real interest and I was more than happy to help in its development.

"I think it's a crucial message that has to hit home to youngsters as technology is always expanding in our culture and therefore acts as a constant distraction to them, making even the simplest of tasks such as crossing the road a danger."

'Bus Stop!' is an interactive learning resource pack which includes a DVD entitled '1Second.1Life'; a booklet for teachers with lesson plans for primary and secondary pupils alongside material to help deliver the road safety message.

Using advertising, press and educational activities, the campaign has also increased the safety awareness of young people using public transport and focuses on the distractions which can have tragic consequences, such as mobile phones.

Initially launched in 2009 by Aberdeenshire Council with support from neighbouring councils, Grampian Police, Talisman Energy and Stagecoach Bluebird, the campaign was extended in 2010 with a TV advert.

At the start of the school term, Aberdeenshire Council issued a letter to all schools promoting the use of the Bus Stop! Pack and its learning resources available from the website, www.1second1life.co.uk. The council is also poised to run TV and radio adverts over the winter as the campaign kicks off again and the ideas from the students around further engaging young audiences will be taken on board for future.

Aberdeen College lecturer, Margaret McNaught, said: "The students thoroughly enjoyed working on this project and the experience of pitching their ideas to representatives of Aberdeenshire Council's Bus Stop! campaign was a valuable one. I am delighted with the positive feedback on their efforts."

Chairman of Aberdeenshire Council's Infrastructure Services Committee, Councillor Peter Argyle, said: "We are always looking at ways to ensure that school transport is as safe as possible and how we can increase awareness among key audiences. It is excellent to learn how we have inspired young marketing professionals to get involved too.

"Whether being delivered to pupils in the classroom, or through the TV adverts that were broadcast into the homes of thousands across the north east of Scotland, the reaction I have heard has been nothing but positive."

Vice chair, Councillor Jill Webster, added: "The campaign has also recently been shortlisted for the Best Campaign award at the Northern Star Business Awards, evidencing its success in the eyes of the council's professional peers.

"Hearing that the campaign has inspired Lisa, Malwina and Ruairidh is another sign of the campaign's success and I would like to thank each of them for all their hard work and enthusiasm in offering up some suggestions to promote road safety messages."

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