A series of accidents in West Hollywood crosswalks over the past 10 months have proven that it takes extreme measures to get the attention of both pedestrians and drivers. The city is taking that action with a crosswalk safety campaign featuring a variety of sexy and celebrated local personalities that will be as engaging as it is educational.
The main goal of the campaign is to encourage drivers and pedestrians to pay more attention to crosswalks and devote less time to digital distractions, such as text messages, emails, and social media. The campaign will include a catchy music video, “Alice in WeHoLand,” as a public service announcement, which will be released on YouTube and on the city’s website next Tuesday. The campaign also includes a series of outdoor, print and online advertising.
“It’s important that everyone remember the ‘stop, look, and listen’ rule when enjoying our city,” said West Hollywood Mayor John D’Amico. “WeHo is a Wonderland, a busy place with lots to see and do, but save a second for safety, it could save your life. Give a wink or a wave and cross safely. You might just get a date out of it or meet the White Rabbit over the rainbow.”
D’Amico, illustrating the city’s effort to reach out to the young and digitally savvy as well as to older residents more likely to respond to the lighted signs that also are part of the safety campaignl, offered up a comment in emoji emoticons:
The city will kickoff its crosswalk safety campaign on Tuesday at The Abbey, 692 N. Robertson Blvd., south of Santa Monica. The event, free and open to the public, will feature a screening of the “Alice in WeHoLand” video. A teaser of the video is posted on YouTube.
“Over the last year we have been taking a number of steps to improve pedestrian safety in West Hollywood,” said Mayor Pro Tem John Heilman. “One of the components of that effort is our new education campaign. We hope the exciting video and educational advertising will increase awareness for pedestrians and drivers alike.”
The crosswalk safety video, “Alice in WeHoLand,” was produced by the city’s Public Information Division and conceived by YouTube sensation Todrick Hall, a singer, actor, director, choreographer and dancer who rose to the semi-finals of American Idol in its ninth season. Hall, who lives in West Hollywood, received international acclaim for his creative role in the CLIO Award-winning safety video for Virgin America airlines, and he has just signed a deal with MTV for a new unscripted series. His YouTube channel features his music-inspired projects and has a loyal following of devoted fans with more than 1.1-million subscribers.
“Alice in WeHoLand” is a humorous West Hollywood-themed parody of Taylor Swift’s hit song “Shake It Off,” which broke Billboard records by entering the Hot 100 chart at No. 1. The dance-filled video offers viewers a colorful twist on “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland ” set to new crosswalk safety lyrics, written by Hall, about curbing smartphone use and walking and driving safely. The video features a vibrant cast of characters with drag queens, gym-bunnies, models, go-go boys, and fierce dancers who perform a pulsating choreographed routine in West Hollywood’s iconic rainbow crosswalks, as well as other recognizable locations in the city.
“This particular campaign shows the power that new social media has in educating a group that is hard to reach through traditional means,” said Councilmember John Duran. “Pedestrian safety education is important enough for us to think of innovative ways like this to reach out to our younger residents and visitors.”
Dozens of dancers, models, and actors appear as characters in “Alice in WeHoLand,” including: renowned drag queen Willam Belli as Alice; Todrick Hall as White Rabbit; Andrew Christian models Jon Varak as Mad Hatter, Pablo Hernandez as Tweedle Dee and Murray Swanby as Tweedle Dum; Glee’s Alex Newell as March Hare; YouTube personality Davey Wavey as himself; actor/model Steven Dehler as himself; and reigning “Queen of YouTube” GloZell as herself. “Alice in WeHoLand ” will debut at noon Tuesday on Todrick Hall’s YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/todrickhall. A link will be posted on the City’s website, www.weho.org.
In addition to the “Alice in WeHoLand” safety video, the city launched a comprehensive public safety media campaign in early October. This includes transit-shelter ads located throughout West Hollywood and large electronic and traditional billboards on Santa Monica Boulevard, the Sunset Strip and key gateway locations for West Hollywood. The campaign features two distinct ads:
- “Wink, Then Walk” features a handsome shirtless man who is walking and approaching a crosswalk — “Make eye contact with drivers before you cross the street” urges the ad, “what happens next is up to you.”
- “Look, Don’t Like” displays a distracted driver who is thumbing through a social media app while holding a smart phone — “Watch the street, not the screen,” suggests the billboard, “you might like what you see in the crosswalk.”
There are also Wink/Look ads on social media and web-based placements in a variety of online publications as well as on mobile apps such as Grindr. The billboards and ads were produced by the city’s Public Information Division, which contracted with Jim Pietras Creative and Melinda Risolo of DMR Creative Services for the development of the ads. Additional plans are in progress for a bicyclist safety ad, as well.
The crosswalk safety campaign reflects the education component of a coordinated three-part pedestrian safety plan for “Engineering, Education, and Enforcement,” which is currently being implemented by the city. For more information about pedestrian safety, including safety tips, visit www.weho.org/pedestriansafety.