Stay safe, stay back, warns Highways England

St Luke's executive creative director Al Young, chooses Highways England's 'Don't Be A Space Invader' as this month's winner of the Aerial Awards

Stay safe, stay back, warns Highways England

Winners: Shay Reading, Paul Knowles and Frank Ginger, copywriters, Adam & Eve/DDB for "Don't Be A Space Invader" for Highways England

Young: I chose this ad because...

… "Don’t be a weaver bird!" "Only a fool breaks the two-second rule!" These lines from old road safety ads were cemented in my mind as child. They taught generations of kids the rules of the road long before they got in their first car.

Nowadays cars might be safer, but roads aren’t. And with lane discipline laxer than ever, this new spot for Highways England seems timely.

Whether through intuition or deliberate design, it upholds the earlier tradition of road safety spots by telling us what we shouldn’t be: "Don’t be a space invader!" And it uses the SFX of an old 8-bit video game to remind us that tailgating is not a game and, when it goes wrong, it has serious real-life consequences.

How would you encourage creatives to ‘See radio differently’?

Pretend you’ve half the time
Write your 40’ like a 20’. Your 20’ like a 10’. Your words will only land if they have gaps to do so. Leave room for performance. The build of your music. 

Have a pre-production meeting
You would if you were shooting something. Call up or meet the sound designer before the record. Agree the tone and atmosphere you’re going for. Ask for their ideas on music and casting. Treat the designer as you would your director. 

Bring a client
Often magic happens on the day. You want to lever it, perfect it. With your client there, you can agree directional changes there and then and proceed with confidence – rather than burn precious time nervously producing multiple versions.

Winning ad: Highways England "Don't Be A Space Inader"

SFX We hear driving on a road and the sounds of an alien from the Space Invader game creeping across the screen. Invader Bip bip bip bip bip… 
VO Driving is not a game… 
Invader …Bip bip bip… (getting quicker) 
VO …If you tailgate the car in front... 
Invader: (quicker) …Bip bip bip bip… 
VO ...the closer you get… 
Invader (quicker) …Bip bip bip bip… 
VO ...the less time you’ll have to react. 
SFX The invader is blown up 
VO Don’t be a space invader. Stay safe, stay back. Search Highways England for more information.


Creative agency Adam & Eve/DDB
Copywriters Shay Reading, Frank Ginger, Paul Knowles 
Chief creative officer Richard Brim 
Creative director Simon Lloyd 
Producer Darren Tuohy 
Facility house 750mph 
Sound engineer Mark Hellaby 
Production company Smuggler

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The Aerials are awarded monthly by Radiocentre to the creative team behind the best work entered at and chosen by an invited creative-director judge.

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