Guns N’ Roses’ ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ Covered for Anti-Speeding Commercial
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We were annoyed when Sheryl Crow turned Guns N’ Roses‘ ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine‘ into an adult contemporary ballad, but at least nobody got hurt — which can’t be said for the song’s latest trip into easy listening territory.
A wispy new version of ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ is being used to score the latest round of gut-punching road safety ads from Northern Ireland’s DOE Road Safety commission, who hired the Belfast agency Lyle Bailie International to produce a clip in which the song’s soothing strains add a queasily disturbing undercurrent to scenes of a group of happily picnicking schoolkids being crushed by an out-of-control car. “Since 2000, speeding has killed a classroom of our children,” intones the ad’s voiceover. “Shame on you. You can never control the consequences if you speed.”
The commercial’s goal is to get people talking (and thinking, natch) about their actions behind the wheel, and it’s working — a little too effectively, as far as some offended viewers are concerned. The Belfast Telegraph reports that the ad’s been banned from airing before 9:00PM, a decision the chief police constable shrugged off by reminding citizens, “This advertisement depicts very clearly and very starkly the risks involved when speed is a factor. Most of you will find it shocking, but the reality is, drivers need to be fully aware of the potential consequences of their actions.”
“The aim of this campaign is to challenge and dispel, once and for all, through this emotional and uncomfortable message, the false perceptions that many road users have as to the truly horrifying consequences of speeding,” added road safety minister Mark Durkan. “People are losing their lives long before they have the chance to fulfill their potential. Families are being destroyed forever.” All in all, it’s an effective way of trying to bring about change by courting controversy, which is something Lyle Bailey International has gotten pretty good at over the years; the agency received a royal honor in 2011 for its earlier hard-hitting road safety PSAs.