Addy Award for Vince and Larry Crash Dummy Commercials, 1985

Administered by the non-profit American Advertising Federation, the Addy Award competition recognized the Vince and Larry seat belt campaign during its first year. This round, gold-colored plate contains the following inscriptions: 1985 ADDY BEST OF SHOW, LEO BURNETT CO., U.S, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BELTS CAMPAIGN and the names of Joel Machak, Jim Ferguson, and other team members. Machak and Ferguson co-created the Vince and Larry crash test dummy characters while working at Leo Burnett, a talent company in Chicago. The Ad Council and the U. S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) contracted with Leo Burnett to produce a series of public service announcements on television and radio promoting the use of seat belts. The Leo Burnett team turned to humor; the fast-paced commercials used wrong behavior to show the consequences of sudden deceleration without seat belts. Actors portrayed the kinetic misadventures of Vince, an experienced crash dummy, and Larry, a newcomer. The persistent, thought-provoking theme was that only dummies neglect to wear seat belts. The harsh consequences of this choice were played out in slapstick and mechanical ballet that could be funny and shocking at the same time. The commercials are credited with dramatically increasing seat belt use and influencing the passage of compulsory seat belt user laws at the state level.
Object Name
date made
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
overall: 1/2 in x 12 in; 1.27 cm x 30.48 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Road Transportation
American Enterprise
See more items in
Work and Industry: Transportation, Road
American Enterprise
Road Transportation
American Enterprise
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Joel Machak

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