Clemenger Melbourne's 'Graham' reaches millions as TAC campaign goes global

Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 8.19.53 am.jpgThe face of the Transport Accident Commission's latest campaign via Clemenger BBDO Melbourne, has lit up screens around the globe as tens of millions tuned in to meet Graham and learn about human vulnerability on the roads.

Within hours of being introduced to the world at the State Library of Victoria last week, Graham - an interactive sculpture depicting what humans might look like if they had evolved to survive a crash - had captured the imagination of readers from Melbourne to Mumbai.

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He quickly became a social media phenomenon and was one of the top-trending stories on Twitter and Facebook over his first weekend. He continues to make headlines in the world's biggest newspapers and news sites, with articles appearing in publications including the New York Times, London's Daily Mail, the Washington Post, BBC, CNN, India Today and Al Jazeera.

Less than a week after Graham's reveal, the meetgraham.com.au website had attracted more than 10.4 million page views and some of Victoria's biggest news websites reported unprecedented traffic as Victorians scrambled to learn more about him.

To produce Graham, the TAC collaborated with world-renowned Melbourne artist Patricia Piccinini, Royal Melbourne Hospital trauma surgeon Christian Kenfield and Monash University Accident Research Centre crash investigation expert Dr David Logan.

Trauma surgeon Christian Kenfield said he hopes Graham will help people to understand how vulnerable the human body is on the roads.

Says Kenfield: "On a nearly daily basis I see the devastating effects motor vehicle accidents have on the people involved and their family and friends.

"Almost every time I see or hear the helicopter land on the roof of the Royal Melbourne Hospital, it is someone coming from a car crash in regional Victoria."

TAC chief executive officer Joe Calafiore said Graham was designed to remind Victorians that their bodies are exposed to potentially fatal forces every time they use the roads.

Says Calafiore: "Graham and the concept of human vulnerability goes to the heart of everything we do in road safety.

"People didn't evolve to cope with the amount of force we are exposed to when something goes wrong on the roads and that's why we need to be safer drivers, drive safer cars and build safer roads."

Between now and Christmas, Graham will take the vulnerability message to every corner of the state on a regional roadshow of galleries, where visitors will be able to look beneath his skin using the latest digital technology and learn why he looks the way he does.

A school curriculum has been developed, enabling teachers to take Graham's message back into the classroom where students will learn more about the physics at play on our roads.

Says Calafiore: "We recognise this campaign is very different to what people have come to expect in road safety education but we need to do things differently if we are to realise our vision of a future where no person is killed or badly hurt on our roads.

"By making people confront the reality of their own vulnerability, Graham helps us to consider our own roles in road safety and how our own choices can protect us in the event of a mistake."

After leaving the State Library of Victoria on August 8, Graham roadshow will visit the following:

    Geelong Gallery (August 11 - September 15)
    Bendigo Gallery (October 5 - October 30
    Ballarat Gallery (November 02 - November 24)
    Latrobe Regional Gallery (November 27 - December 15)
    Mildura (September 15 - October 4)
    Shepparton (date and venue TBC)

39 Comments

Old CD Guy said:

I’ve yet to see it go past the unbearable Project on Channel 10, I don’t how they claim everyone has seen it. I just don’t get it. Where’s the line? Where’s the TV ad? What tripe.

Keeping pushing said:

Beyond the perfect born smoker parody; it's really shaping up to be the dark side of dumb ways to die. Plenty of PR and art direction, but just doesn't have the media presence or jingle to stick with you.

Young CD Guy said:


I've seen it on Reddit, 9Gag, and re-appropriated into a few weird memes on FB, just because it hasn't crossed your Old eyeballs in your Old media channels doesn't mean it hasn't hit millions.

@Old CD Guy said:

It's everywhere mate..read the post!

it even made it onto World Star Hip Hop

http://www.worldstarhiphop.com/videos/video.php?v=wshhdc06MvDdtgXwgdl1

This is the biggest thing since Dumb Ways

But, will it save lives????

What are you talking about? said:

I've seen it maybe 10 times in my Facebook feed from different sources...CNN, The Times, Bored Panda, BBC, IFLS, even some comedians making memes... That's pretty amazing reach. I think it's great lateral thinking and a way to use art to spark discussion.

Zeppo said:

Yep, I've seen it reposted on AdAge, so it must be quenching a thirst somewhere. I hope it works. Hard.

Lets be Frank not Graham said:

Interesting work, but this will NOT have the effect of the first and original TAC commercials, when literally overnight the road toll reduced by 30%!
So lets not fool ourselves.
The TAC is a compulsory 3rd Party Insurer, and subject to government controls that no longer allow them to 'offend' or 'shock' anyone.
This direction is also a result of a community who turned against being shamed by 'Bloody Idiot' tag lines and a revulsion to the graphic nature of the original shock campaigns.
So times have changed, and we now have a society that refuses to be TOLD anything, let alone allow themselves to be truly shocked or disturbed by the stark reality of road trauma, hence the soft approach, and this is a soft approach.
The 'consumer' gets what they asked for, the client doesn't offend anyone, an agency will win some awards, but please please, lets not say this will reduce the road toll, as it will not.

Nick said:

Nice one Wolfie and Evan.

Natural Born Smoker said:


I like Graham but let's remember I evolved first.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ds460ROBHnA

Kudos said:

This deserves all the shiny things it gets. Wicked idea.

telling the story said:

I like this as an idea but it's a rather dull and unwatchable communication piece. I am sure Catalyst would have created a film that would have been more engaging.Idea are interesting however they always need to be communicated in a compelling way. This is not compelling although the idea is.

Good work said:

It's cool. I'll leave what it actually communicates to the case study, but I can rest knowing that Jay Furby will survive a car crash.

Shut up Old CD Guy said:

Why are you so dumb?

@letsbefrank said:

Agree. The road toll is the only number the client and agency should promote.
Work at bringing that down - not zinging the internet.
Road toll is up 30% since you got hold of it.
If that's true, you should shut up and get on with fixing that.

Who cares if they saw it in India - did it work out West.

Suspicious said:

"Where’s the line? Where’s the TV ad? What tripe."

This doesn't sound as eloquent or insightful as the usual Old CD Guy stuff - agree with him or not.

An imposter? Or has Old CD Guy been drinking and had a little lapse?

chicken or the egg said:

i'm no so surrre

Woz said:

Brilliant thinking! Well done, guys.

Here today, gone tomorrow said:

I think it’s interesting that these days, to be ‘seen’ enough times constitutes an effective piece of communication, or dare I say it, advertising. Think about how many things you’ve viewed, liked, clicked on something today, this week, this month. How many do you remember, and how many actually changed your behaviour?

The problem with Graham is like so much online content, he’s yesterday’s news already. At least when the old TAC ads continually aired on TV or appeared on a billboard, there was ongoing engagement. If it didn’t get you the first time, it would the second time, or the third.

This is not a campaign that’s going to change driver behaviour. It’s a PR stunt. The fact it’s making news all over the world is of no value to anyone apart from the agency who is no doubt putting together the case study video as we speak. Personally, I’ll give it a few months before deciding if Graham has been a success. Just because it’s different, doesn’t mean it’s great.

Pseud said:

@suspicious

Nah, sounds like the usual bollocks Old CD Guy spits out.

Desperately overwritten.

Trying too hard with alliteration.

But despite his misguided and old fashioned opinions - this is simply fantastic work.

Jon Howes said:

Finally someone with smaller ears than me! Well done Naomi.

natural born smoker said:


wow. thanks whomever posted that link. i'd never seen that - it's quite amazing, i imagine in 1985 that would have blown minds. graham is good too - i kind of wish there was an emotional way to present it, however it did make me think of getting hit by a car and what my body would require to be safer on impact.

airbag said:

Strangely enough, in a modern car, the airbag would explode Graham's head off in an accident as his overinflated head couldn't get more than 6 inches away from the steering wheel. Maybe he takes the fuse out. Or just sits in the back seat. Surely he also has no awareness of what's around him because he can't turn his head?? I think they've actually designed the person most likely to have an accident.

Norm De Plume said:

In Graham's evolution to survive accident trauma, what has caused the need for the dodgy goatee?

Joke said:

He's got a goatee Norm De Plume because all Clem's ads feature blokes with beards.
[That's my bad joke, not a crack at the campaign!]

The real Old CD Guy said:

@suspicious @Pseud:

Indeed, an imposter has stolen my handle.

I built my reputation on this blog with my often acerbic but well-reasoned, well-expressed bile pointed at the mostly mediocre work produced by the Australian advertising industry. Conversely, I am always the first to congratulate and commend great work.

@suspicious, @Pseud, you (and others who I suspect have not gone on the record) have been extremely perceptive to spot the flaccid attempts to impersonate me.

Dear Imposter: If you must persist in this jiggery-pokery, at least have the presence of mind to get your spelling and grammar right. The genuine article - me - is punctilious about that, and that's why I sometimes write under another adopted alias 'The Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar Police', which gives me the opportunity to ridicule and mock the stumbling illiteracy which often masquerades as comment on this blog.

The 13th nipple speaks said:

I think the 12 nipples are the real reason this is both saving lives and going viral. #gotmilk


Have any of you people even seen Patricia Piccinini's work before? It's pretty much the exact same stuff as this. So as 'amazing' as it seems to some of you, it's simply a new (and nicely crafted) piece of work with the TAC campaign hanging onto the coattails, nothing new or off brief for the artist.

yeah...nah. said:

I like it, but... yeah, nah.

I was with three non adland friends when we all saw it in the paper last week.

I saw an opportunity to get a 'real persons' POV, I asked what they thought.

One said, 'Is that supposed to be what you look like after you've had an accident?'
The other said, 'No, it's an art piece isn't it, by that lady that made the balloon with breasts?'
And the other simply added, 'That's weird!'

None bothered to go online to get more details.
None of them really liked it or thought it was amazing.
None of them really cared, so we went back to talking about football and music.

Brown cardigan said:

It's a MEME. It's a win!

http://browncardigan.com/?p=51837

Meme Myself I said:

BC, ha, "Just waiting for a mate"

I want my meme said:

shitest meme I've ever seen. It's about as funny as the idea.

It's been done. said:

And I think the evolved smoker was actually better.

So to creatives, it's worthless.

A crash test dummy said:


A challenge for Clems.

Prove it.

Put Graham in a car crash.

Blocking out the haters said:

Maybe Graham is thick skinned to deal with all the bullshit comments on this blog. FFS I'm jealous of this work. It's awesome.If you are going to talk smack about others' creative efforts write your actual name or make your username the last ad you made. If you can't front up then EAD and jog on to your next banner rebrief, ya wanker

Honestly said:

I do think this is a great idea.

But, I think they're missing a trick if they don't get this Graham guy to speak to us. He should say that unless you're like him, you should drive carefully, or something similar.

At the moment, Graham is like a museum piece. Cool, but distant. Bring him closer so we can get a feel for him and understand his message.

Alex Smart said:

@Honestly, that's a great idea. Whose voice should he have? Furby of course!

Crash test said:

Def need to do a slow motion Graham crash test. I want to see those nipples shield him from harm.

Timothy Thompson said:

I heard that they modelled Graham on an actual TAC bureaucrat..

Meh & Der said:

Meh... It won't save a single life.

Der.. People already know that their bodies won't survive a car crash.

Here we have hyper an elaborate, expensive and convoluted way of telling people something they already know. So, how is that clever? Isn't that just poor communication?

But that's hardly the point.

It will win loads of awards that only advertising people care about.

Timothy Thompson said:

I heard that they modelled Graham on an actual TAC bureaucrat..

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