Sexy safety campaign raises eyebrows in Halifax

A new campaign uses a fictional character named "Bridget" to seduce drivers with safety tips as they cross the two major arteries linking Halifax and Dartmouth, N.S.

Thousands of drivers cross the Macdonald and MacKay bridges every day and there are 10 to 12 accidents a month, on average — most on the MacKay Bridge. Even the smallest fender bender can cause major delays because there are no shoulders on the road.

Now Halifax Harbour Bridges (HHB) has launched the campaign to get drivers to slow down and stop tailgating.

The bold advertisements feature some blunt messages, delivered by a woman in a sultry tone.

"Driving fast doesn't impress me. A heavy foot doesn't flip my kilt. And if you're a tailgater: congratulations. You're also a dirtbag," one of the messages says.

Dennis Kelly, HHB's operations manager, knows Bridget may raise a few eyebrows.

"We're trying to change a culture of driving, and that's not an easy thing to do, and it will take time," he said.

"It is a little bit different for us, it's a little bit in your face, as opposed to other ad campaigns. But sometimes that really grabs people's attention."

Message for men

"A lot of the guys would like it because of the woman's voice," said Driver Carla Lang after she heard the ad in her car.

The campaign takes a swipe at men who may feel the need to speed across the bridges.

"Bridget likes a man who takes it slow, so watch your speed on our roads big boy," Bridget instructs in one radio spot.

Alison MacDonald, the communications manager for HHB, said Bridget will also be on Twitter.

"There is a demographic we are targeting, I guess, to be really specific, adults aged 18-45."

But she said Bridget isn't just for men. She believes women will see the fictional character as a strong female figure.

"We feel that Bridget is going to help break through the clutter and help get the message across."

Bridget will dole out advice for the next month, then she'll take the summer off. HHB plans to bring her back with new messages in the fall when commuters go back to their routine.

"I don't care that you're late for work. I don't give a flying thunder that you're rushing to the gas station. Your tank is empty and so is your head," Bridget advises.

HHB said drivers make 36 million trips a year over the bridges.