Remembering The Incredible Crash Dummies

Remembering The Incredible Crash Dummies

This campaign (which was in collaboration with the National Highway Transport Safety Administration) was all about getting people in the U.S to buckle up as only 14% of people used seat belts before the campaign’s creation in 1985.

The Crash Dummies Meet Barney Fife, My Favorite of the ads

The campaign started in 1985 after both AdCouncil and NHTSA went to the advertising agency Leo Brunett to create an effective campaign that will push the seatbelt percentages in the U.S up. Jim Furgeson and Joel Machak (who were working for Leo Brunett’s Chicago office at the time) were tasked with creating an idea for the campaign and their original idea was to have two crash test dummies that were being forced and dragged into getting in car crashes. Joel Machak was the one that thought of the idea to make the campaign more light-hearted where they have the dummies Vince (voiced by Jack Burns) and Larry (voiced by Lorenzo Music) love their jobs and make them enjoy getting into crashes. The campaign was a smash hit and lasted until 1997 with the last PSA being called “Back Seat Baby” which featured Ray Charles. When the campaign ended in 1997 seatbelt use percentages went up to 79% proving that the campaign was effective with delivering it’s message to viewers. The campaign ended up creating 42 PSAs for television whilst also making some PSAs exclusively for radio stations and during it’s run it inspired the company TYCO to create a toyline based on the characters.

A video that details a lot about the campaign’s history and lasting impact:

A History Of Vince & Larry

List of PSAs (In Order):

The Incredible Crash Dummies (1985)

Safety Belt Test At 9 (1986)

Most People Can’t Live Like This (1986)

Dummy Rap (1987)

Wrinkle My Suit (1987)

Taxi (1988)

Steering Wheel (1988)

All In Favour (1988)

Locker Room (1988)

Dummy Driver (1988)

Pre-Crash (1989)

High Dive (1989)

Post-Crash (1989)

K-Tel (1989)

Junkyard (1989)

Police, Stop (1990)

Desert (1990)

You Lost Your Life (1990)

Airbags (1990)

Blind Date (1990)

Giant Boxing Glove (1991)

Iron Maiden (1991)

Audition (1991)

Crash Dummy Hall Of Fame (1991)

Dummy Cam (1992)

This Is Your Head (1992)

Deadly Crash (1993)

Ring A Bell (1994)

Rebels Without A Clue (1994)

Safety Belt Law (1994)

Golf (1994)

Rollover (1995)

Child Seats (1995)

Child Safety Seats (1995)

Late Night Driving (1995)

Celebrity Roast (1995)

Conduct A Demonstration (1995)

Pumpkin (1995)

Faceoff (1996)

Football Tackle (1996)

Crash Test Piñata (1997)

Back Seat Baby (1997)

It also spawned a ’90’s video game spinoff for various consoles of the day:

SNES Gameplay

as well as inspired the name of a famous Canadian alternative rock group the Crash Test Dummies formed in Winnipeg Manitoba in 1988.

Mmm, Mmm, Mmm, Mmm by Crash Test Dummies