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  Home > Index > Advertising > Mascots (Objects) > Vince and Larry  
 
 Advertising Mascots - Objects

Vince and Larry -  Otherwise known as "The Crash Test Dummies," Vince and Larry were two hardworking crash test dummies who appeared in a series of public service announcement jointly produced by the Ad Council and the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration beginning in 1985.

Vince & Larry - The Crash Test Dummies

In the commercials (created by the Leo Burnett Ad Agency), Vince and Larry actively demonstrated what could happen when a person did not wear a seatbelt.

Unlike, humans who die or become crippled in real crashes, Vince and Larry dusted themselves off after each crash and lived to joke another day.

Vince (who wears grey) is the veteran of the duo while Larry, (who wears blue) is the new comer - eager to prove himself and ready to loose an arm, leg or head for the cause.

The success of the Crash Test Dummies Seat Belt Education campaign motivated a large majority of states to enact laws mandating the use of safety belts. In 1990, the campaign was recognized with a Gold Effie award from the New York chapter of the American Marketing Association.

The popularity of the Crash Dummies inspired the Department of Transportation to sell the merchandising right to a New Jersey Toy Company in 1992 who created spin-off action figures. This decision motivated the CBS, ABC and NBC networks to pull off the air (for a time) the Vince and Larry ad campaign to disassociate the toy's message of "mayhem" from the ad council's original message of safety. In 1993/94, there was also a computer game developed by Software Creations called "The Incredible Crash Dummies."

The program featured a storyline about a kidnapped crash dummy designer named Dr. Zub who is kidnapped by the villain Junkman. It's up to the Crash Dummies to save the day and rescue the Zub, But first they must overcome many junkbot obstacles as they drive through the Crash Test Center, Construction Site, and Military Testing Zone.

Reportedly, by 1994, seat belt usage had increased from 21% to 73%, saving an estimated 75,000 lives and preventing more than 1.5 million moderate to critical injuries.

In 1999, Vince and Larry along with their campaign tagline, "You Could Learn A Lot From a Dummy" were retired when the U.S. Department of Transportation revised the campaign. The new slogan advised "Buckle Up. Always."

TRIVIA NOTE: When the Crash Test Dummies made personal appearances, local actors were hired to wear their costumes. To preserve the integrity of the original TV and radio voices, Vince and Larry never talked in person. They just do skits and interviews using a pre-recorded tape.


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