By Eliza Williams

Ad agency Forsman & Bodenfors has launched what initially seems like a genius new sat nav app. Backed by If Insurance, the app largely uses an adult voice though switches to a child’s in areas where drivers need to be extra cautious, to increase awareness that kids might be playing. But will anyone actually use it?

The Slow Down GPS app provides a subtle but powerful reminder that drivers need to slow down and concentrate more at the times when they are being guided by a child’s voice. The app is available for free on the App Store and Google Play though currently the voice navigation feature only works in Sweden, Finland and Norway. It is explained more fully in the film below:



It is undoubtedly a clever idea and certainly seems striking enough to have an affect on drivers if they use it. But here in lies the rub: will they use it? With so many sat nav options available – with multiple voice styles to suit all tastes – will drivers choose one that has the potential to make them feel a little uneasy?

It is very fashionable in ad agencies at the moment to come up with ideas for brands that are products, rather than traditional marketing approaches such as TV ads or posters. It is easy to see the appeal for brands to go with these ideas – they appear to have more usefulness in the real world (so the brands behind them are seen to be ‘giving back’) and tend to get a lot of coverage in the press.

However there is often a question mark around how real they are. Volvo’s Life Paint (which cyclists spray onto their clothes to be visible to drivers at night) won much glowing editorial and also a number of major awards at Cannes though so far has only been available in limited edition in a tiny number of stores in London and Kent. More recently, Lexus teased consumers that they had created a hoverboard. Back To The Future fans went wild for the story, only to discover that the boards could only run on a specially made track and weren’t available for purchase.

Forsman & Bodenfors’ sat nav idea seems to suffer from almost the reverse problem to these campaigns – it definitely does exist and is easily available to anyone in the Nordic regions. But while I hope people use it – anything that helps to promote safe driving can only be a good thing – I can’t help wondering if the whole idea wouldn’t have worked as well as a simple, well made TV ad, demonstrating the thought that a child’s voice might influence behaviour – perhaps that would have been enough?

Agency: Forsman & Bodenfors
Creatives: Samuel Åkesson, Joakim Labraaten
Designer: Johan Fredriksson
Film production company: Bacon STH
Director: Tarik Saleh
App production company: Starcut
Digital production company: Earth People

Read more here:: Forsman & Bodenfors launches sat nav app for If Insurance featuring child voice navigation