PB Tech screaming woman dashcam ad guilty of 'stereotyping', marketing expert says

An ad for a dashcam that shows real footage of a screaming woman being dragged by a car has been labelled "dangerous" and "shocking" by a marketing expert.

The two-minute ad for PB Tech includes video of a staff member's car being rear-ended in Manukau. A female passenger can be seen shouting, and is dragged screaming along the road before falling out. She eventually catches up with the car further down the road and they flee the scene.

The ad finishes with the phrase: "Without a dashcam, would anyone have believed you?"

The video has caused a stir online for its use of footage from a real accident - but Dr Bodo Lang, head of marketing at the University of Auckland's Business School, warns the ad could be doing more harm than good.

"I don't think I've ever seen anything like this being used before," he told Newshub.

"I'm shocked in different ways here. The first shock is, of course, the behaviour that was displayed here was pretty antisocial and dangerous.

"But the other angle, which I think is also shocking, is that it's being used to sell a dashcam camera."

Dr Lang says the purpose of the ad is to go viral, but it's also delivering several implicit and explicit messages that he's "not sure are particularly positive".

"The first message - and I don't know how many people will pick up on this - is their little tag line right before the video starts: 'how to drop some weight to make a speedy getaway'.

"Obviously there's a female passenger in the back seat seen getting out of the car, her BMI is probably above normal. It's that whole stereotyping of a bigger person and dropping the weight.

"Obviously it's an attempt at humour, I get that, but I don't think it's particularly fortunate use and I think this could have been done in a much more factual way without that sort of attempt at humour."

There's another implicit message in the ad, which he says communicates a very negative idea we don't tend to see in this country.  

"People don't trust you when you claim anything, so basically you need to start your own personal surveillance. I think that's a very sad message.

"This sort of advertising just doesn't feel like New Zealand sort of advertising, it's very much that Bad Boys American kind of advertising or reality television. I think it's a slight mismatch with our culture."

Dr Lang believes PB Tech should have relied on the "clear factual evidence" around the benefits of using dashcams, rather than tried to be funny with their added messaging.

"It really is a value-laden statement and likely to be what people are most upset about. I think if I was PB Tech I would go into damage control mode, say it was slightly mishandled and perhaps misworded by somebody.

"I think they should just focus on the facts and this unusual thing that would be difficult to believe."

The video has racked up more than 6000 views since being posted to YouTube earlier on Thursday. Dr Lang says he fully expects the ad to go viral - and that's not a good thing.

"I don't think it's going to reach 29 million people like the egg Instagram, but... people will look at this and unfortunately I think it will go viral. It just confirms a lot of stereotypes and it's very much an 'us vs them' scenario.

"I've looked through the comments that are below the video and they're very much confirming that. For people who want to believe certain things, this confirms their view and that makes it actually quite dangerous."

PB Tech has been approached for comment.


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