The inspired use of language to create a road safety message that resonates with young road users is the selected Sydney campaign in the annual Re:act behaviour change program.

Devised by a University of Technology Sydney (UTS) student, ‘Killer Playlist’ leverages the double meaning of ‘killer’ – a positive term among the target audience that means something very different on our roads – to highlight the road safety topic of distraction, a major challenge for all young road users, including drivers, pedestrians and cyclists.

The annual Re:act program challenges university students to create a behaviour change campaign that raises awareness among 18-25 year old road users of a critical road safety issue where they are overrepresented. The Re:act 2020 topic is distraction.

An initiative of creative behaviour change agency Hard Edge, Re:act, now in its fifth year, is running in 2020 in Sydney with UTS, Melbourne with Swinburne University and, for the first time, Brisbane, through QUT. The program has also expanded internationally this year into London, at University of the Arts London.

Devised by Ella Mander-Jones, the selected campaign for Re:act 2020 in Sydney drew the young audience in before delivering a strong and clear message focused on music as a distraction on our roads: ‘Make your playlist killer. Not a killer on our roads.’

Campaigns rounding out the top three in Sydney, ‘Here’s To You’ and ‘Focus. For Us’, were informed by research showing the target audience understood the risk of distraction but found it hard to ‘break the habit’. Both campaigns took a positive approach, highlighting and celebrating young road users exhibiting the desired behaviours.

Re:act founder and CEO Andrew Hardwick said the standard of students’ campaigns for Sydney 2020 was exceptional. The quality of campaigns was also praised by Re:act industry partners, who in Sydney included Transport for NSW, Telstra, IAG and Transurban. Partners were ‘amazed by the students’ ability to think outside the box’ and described their creative thinking as ‘on a par’ with professional road safety communicators.

Feedback from program partners also reinforced the importance of Re:act’s ability to give students a ‘real-world’ experience, and to increase awareness and create road safety advocates among a group of road users over-represented in road trauma but hard to engage with road safety messages.

With funding from the Re:act program, the students behind each selected campaign will work with the support of Hard Edge to launch their campaigns on their respective university campuses. Re:act media partner, oOh!media, is providing amazing support this year and will run the campaigns in each of the three Australian cities across hundreds of their digital assets, including its landmark billboards.

For more information on Re:act visit

Andrew Hardwick
Re:act Founder and Hard Edge Managing Director

“The research, ideas and creativity the UTS students produced were exceptional, an achievement made even more impressive given the challenges of working in isolation.

“The insights the students uncovered, and the language they used to incorporate those into their campaigns, stood out for me. The selected ‘Killer Playlist’ campaign reflected that, with its clever use of language resonating and engaging the target audience with a relevant road safety message.

“It’s so encouraging to see universities involved in Re:act year-on-year building on a strong foundation and incorporating insights that make the program stronger every year. The proof is in the standard of work produced, with students’ creative outputs consistently comparable to what you would expect from an agency.”

Sydney 2020 campaigns – top three

‘Killer Playlist’
Ella Mander-Jones

Ella Mander-Jones
Student who created selected ‘Killer Playlist’ campaign

“I wanted to create something different than what I had seen before, and that was on trend for a young target audience. Everyone listens to music, and people around my age are very much into their playlists – there’s a lot of pride linked to making a good one.

“Then I was looking at statistics around deaths on the road and thinking about the kind of language people my age use, and ‘killer’ has a negative connotation but can also be awesome, like a ‘killer’ playlist, so linking the two and drawing people in without them knowing off the mark that you’re talking about road safety.

“I thought Re:act was really good because there wouldn’t be any chance for a junior designer to work on a live brief, especially at university. I feel like I learned a lot, on top of the design, about working with a group of professionals to create a campaign that people outside of you and your tutor find captivating. I definitely recommend people do Re:act if they have the chance.”

‘Here’s To You’
Max Stephens

‘Focus. For Us’
Tinik Chiu