WeHo Takes to the Streets and the Web to Promote Crosswalk Safety

A series of accidents in West Hollywood crosswalks over the past 10 months have proven that it takes extreme measures to get the attention of both pedestrians and drivers. The city is taking that action with a crosswalk safety campaign featuring a variety of sexy and celebrated local personalities that will be as engaging as it is educational.

The main goal of the campaign is to encourage drivers and pedestrians to pay more attention to crosswalks and devote less time to digital distractions, such as text messages, emails, and social media. The campaign will include a catchy music video, “Alice in WeHoLand,” as a public service announcement, which will be released on YouTube and on the city’s website next Tuesday. The campaign also includes a series of outdoor, print and online advertising.

“It’s important that everyone remember the ‘stop, look, and listen’ rule when enjoying our city,” said West Hollywood Mayor John D’Amico. “WeHo is a Wonderland, a busy place with lots to see and do, but save a second for safety, it could save your life. Give a wink or a wave and cross safely. You might just get a date out of it or meet the White Rabbit over the rainbow.”

D’Amico, illustrating the city’s effort to reach out to the young and digitally savvy as well as to older residents more likely to respond to the lighted signs that also are part of the safety campaignl, offered up a comment in  emoji emoticons:

john d'amico, emoji, west hollywood

 

 

 

 

 

The city will kickoff its crosswalk safety campaign on Tuesday at The Abbey, 692 N. Robertson Blvd., south of Santa Monica. The event, free and open to the public, will feature a screening of the “Alice in WeHoLand” video.  A teaser of the video is posted on YouTube.

“Over the last year we have been taking a number of steps to improve pedestrian safety in West Hollywood,” said Mayor Pro Tem John Heilman. “One of the components of that effort is our new education campaign. We hope the exciting video and educational advertising will increase awareness for pedestrians and drivers alike.”

The crosswalk safety video, “Alice in WeHoLand,” was produced by the city’s Public Information Division and conceived by YouTube sensation Todrick Hall, a singer, actor, director, choreographer and dancer who rose to the semi-finals of American Idol in its ninth season. Hall, who lives in West Hollywood, received international acclaim for his creative role in the CLIO Award-winning safety video for Virgin America airlines, and he has just signed a deal with MTV for a new unscripted series. His YouTube channel features his music-inspired projects and has a loyal following of devoted fans with more than 1.1-million subscribers.

pedestrian safety, crosswalk, wink then walk
The ‘Wink Then Walk’ signs West Hollywood is installing at Santa Monica Boulevard bus stops.

“Alice in WeHoLand” is a humorous West Hollywood-themed parody of Taylor Swift’s hit song “Shake It Off,” which broke Billboard records by entering the Hot 100 chart at No. 1. The dance-filled video offers viewers a colorful twist on “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland ” set to new crosswalk safety lyrics, written by Hall, about curbing smartphone use and walking and driving safely. The video features a vibrant cast of characters with drag queens, gym-bunnies, models, go-go boys, and fierce dancers who perform a pulsating choreographed routine in West Hollywood’s iconic rainbow crosswalks, as well as other recognizable locations in the city.

“This particular campaign shows the power that new social media has in educating a group that is hard to reach through traditional means,” said Councilmember John  Duran. “Pedestrian safety education is important enough for us to think of innovative ways like this to reach out to our younger residents and visitors.”

Dozens of dancers, models, and actors appear as characters in “Alice in WeHoLand,” including: renowned drag queen Willam Belli as Alice; Todrick Hall as White Rabbit; Andrew Christian models Jon Varak as Mad Hatter, Pablo Hernandez as Tweedle Dee and Murray Swanby as Tweedle Dum; Glee’s Alex Newell as March Hare; YouTube personality Davey Wavey as himself; actor/model Steven Dehler as himself; and reigning “Queen of YouTube” GloZell as herself. “Alice in WeHoLand ” will debut at noon Tuesday on Todrick Hall’s YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/todrickhall. A link will be posted on the City’s website, www.weho.org.

In addition to the “Alice in WeHoLand” safety video, the city launched a comprehensive public safety media campaign in early October. This includes transit-shelter ads located throughout  West Hollywood and large electronic and traditional billboards on Santa Monica Boulevard, the Sunset Strip and key gateway locations for West Hollywood. The campaign features two distinct ads:

  • “Wink, Then Walk” features a handsome shirtless man who is walking and approaching a crosswalk — “Make eye contact with drivers before you cross the street” urges the ad, “what happens next is up to you.”
  • “Look, Don’t Like” displays a distracted driver who is thumbing through a social media app while holding a smart phone — “Watch the street, not the screen,” suggests the billboard, “you might like what you see in the crosswalk.”

There are also Wink/Look ads on social media and web-based placements in a variety of online publications as well as on mobile apps such as Grindr. The billboards and ads were produced by the city’s Public Information Division, which contracted with Jim Pietras Creative and Melinda Risolo of DMR Creative Services for the development of the ads. Additional plans are in progress for a bicyclist safety ad, as well.

The crosswalk safety campaign reflects the education component of a coordinated three-part pedestrian safety plan for “Engineering, Education, and Enforcement,” which is currently being implemented by the city. For more information about pedestrian safety, including safety tips, visit www.weho.org/pedestriansafety.


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Magnus
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Magnus

Hey, West Hollywood … you’re making us look bad. I like fun videos as much as the next guy, but this is just a bad idea. I think we all agree that the money to make it could have been put to better use (like extending the Pickup Line shuttle to every day of the week). Although I am straight, I’m kind of appalled at the perpetuation of gay stereotypes in the video. This is not a good way to build respect of the gay community. And, finally, I dislike the association of these clowns with the city of West… Read more »

Riley
Guest
Riley

@El Futuro – Yes. He seems to be serious. Dead serious.

Tom Smart
Guest
Tom Smart

Funny and stoopid.

El Futuro
Guest
El Futuro

LOL!!!, was the post by Mike Dolan serious?

I’m sorry I don’t get the humor……I know that he’s trying to do a spoof on a certain type of hysterical resident of some kind. But I guess the way it’s written, it seems like he really sounds like that.

Comedy’s tough.

Mike Dolan
Guest
Mike Dolan

Oh lighten up people. This is Weho and Weho at its best. This is the West Hollywood that this 57 year old remembers and I for one applaud this approach. It is creative, inclusive, diverse and send out the most identifiable PSA on public safety in the most effective way. Yes, we get it, it is a serious topic and one to be resolve after further investigation. Do any of you think for on minute that this will not resonate with all WeHo resident’s on this safety topic? (above commenter’s excluded…again) Bravo to Lisa Belsanti. I feel at home again… Read more »

El Futuro
Guest
El Futuro

Now that Halloween is over the city can take this video offline.

B
Guest
B

Ouch! They closed down SMB and San Vicente for this?! I’m sure this will be very effective in saving hundreds of lives, but more importantly, West Hollywood spent a sh*t ton of cash to stroke the egos of some of WeHo’s most annoying narcissists.

Bernadette Parinello
Guest
Bernadette Parinello

I watched it again (would have rather poured acid in my eyes!) and it said at the end “Executive Producer – Lisa Bellisanti.” She’s in charge of PR for the city so who does she answer to? Did she have to get this approved by the council or did she give the final sign off on this piece of CRAP? How much did it cost??!

Lynn
Guest
Lynn

You might try Paul Arevalo. All roads eventually lead to PA.

Rudolf Martin
Guest
Rudolf Martin

i agree with every commenter: both the video and the shirtless guy ad are disturbing to the max. it shows how out of touch our “council folk” are when they’re trying to be hip. time for some of them to “wink and then walk”.

Guy Privaton (@guyprivaton)
Guest

It is a cute video. I hate to be a negative nancy but does the City really need to fund it?

(I hope this artist was not given the job because they were an acquaintance -or partner- of one of the council members or city staff.)

Truthfully, I feel like it is only a so so video/song but also only a so so PSA… it can’t decide what it is… 🙁

Riley
Guest
Riley

OMG! STOP THE PRESSES! I AGREE with Wehoan Fed Up with the NIMBYs. THIS is embarrassing and inappropriate on every level. If the City of WeHo and the council wants to know what people think about it….then they should show it to the families of the 4 people who were killed in our crosswalks and see if they think it will help. This makes me angry. From the swearing to the dancing and singing IN THE STREETS, to the stereotypes of gay men cruising instead of crossing safely and then a bit of a racial slur at the end…it’s hard… Read more »

SaveWeho
Guest
SaveWeho

I wish there were a way to see how many local people have viewed the video. Does no good if people in other cities view it. But yes…the message is as distorted as the concept behind the entire campaign. But I personally never had high expectations for it in the first place. I don’t think any of us did. So why they’re off making senseless PSA’s and sexualized ads…we still wait for lights to be installed.