Spikes Asia

My Police Tote

HAKUHODO INC., Tokyo / HONDA / 2021

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Overview

Background

Among developed countries, Japan stands out for having a particularly large number of children that walk alone. For various reasons, unlike other developed countries, there is no environment where schoolchildren walk accompanied by their parents or another family member or take a school bus to and from school.

In Japan, traffic accidents are highest among seven-year-olds in their first year of elementary school, a phenomenon called the “devilish sevens.” This arises from the increased opportunities children have to leave their parents’ side and go out alone once they enter elementary school. Accidents when crossing the road are especially noticeable, and it has been said that this trend increases in October, when twilight comes earlier. Our challenge was to reduce the number of traffic accidents involving children.

Strategy

In Japan, a large number of children walk to places alone. There are few school buses, and over 90% of elementary school children walk to school alone. First graders, kids who start school at age 7, are most often involved in accidents. Their vulnerability comes from the increased opportunities to leave the home without their parents once they enter elementary school. Accidents at crosswalks are especially notable, with many occurring at dusk.

To coincide with October when twilight comes earlier, we developed a children’s fashion item that could help them protect themselves from traffic accidents just by wearing it.

Execution

In the month of October, we began distributing the product at some stores and online. In only two weeks, we received over 17,000 requests despite only 1200 were in supply. At the same time, Honda donated tote bags to daycare students in Minato City, Tokyo—where Honda has its headquarters—to help those children prepare to enter elementary school.

Outcome

Media coverage included 9 TV (including NHK, Japan's sole public broadcaster) and over 210 online news programs, triggering many requests for sales from various social networks. Following a series of inquiries from governments and law enforcement, sales of the bags began in department stores and select shops nationwide last September. Similarly, from April 2021, several municipalities plan to introduce it as the official schoolbag for first graders.

The psychological reaction among drivers to become startled when they see a police officer's uniform in the dark is common throughout the world. Looking ahead, we see a global business rollout by producing tote bags based on police uniform designs in different countries to reduce the number of traffic accidents involving children in places beyond Japan.

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