HAKUHODO DESIGN INC., Tokyo / HONDA / 2020
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.
To protect children from traffic accidents, we thought out an optimal media which they can wear most naturally on their way to and from school. We took notice of the toto bags most children use to carry their belongings for after school activities.
My Police Tote is optimal media to provide a new approach in ensuring traffic safety: self-defense to children by simply wearing it while giving an alert message to drivers.
The core idea is "a patrol officer on your shoulder."
When a driver sees a police officer's uniform in the dark, the instinctive reaction is to hit the brakes. Taking a cue from this psychological response, Honda came up with a tote bag that mimics the appearance of a police officer. The brightly shining reflectors cause drivers to be very cautious, thus protecting children on crosswalks at dusk.
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.
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.
·Tote Bag sample distribution: 1200
·Tote Bag donation to daycare students: 400
·Tote Bag sales(sales on-going, #s of sales bet. Sep 2020 to mid-Jan 2021): 7500
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.