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Self-Tweeting Potholes Troll City Officials, Urge Them To Fix Roads

Across Panama City, potholes have begun tweeting at the Department of Public Works in order to shame them into action.

image via vimeo screen capture

Panama City has a pothole problem. Its roads are full of cracks, pockmarks, and craters, all of which turn a simple drive into an automotive obstacle course. Drivers are forced to dangerously swerve around the offending holes, or risk serious damage to their car’s suspension system. But while potholes represent a serious detriment to public safety (to say nothing of municipal beautification and civic pride), they’re often towards the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to a city’s allocation of funds and resources. They become, in many cases, simply an unpleasant fact of life.


To ensure their city’s streets don’t erode to the point of (further) undriveability, Panamanian news station Telemetro Panamá partnered with advertising firm P4 Ogilvy & Mather to give local drivers a reason to steer over—not around—potholes, all in the hopes of shaming municipal officials into action.

Across Panama City, a series of pressure-sensitive devices have been placed inside a number of particularly hazardous potholes. When run over by a car, these devices automatically tweet snarky messages directly at Panama’s Department of Public Works.

Here they are in action:

[/vimeo]

The campaign seems to be working. As Adweek points out, officials have begun publicly addressing the growing pothole problem. Here’s public works minister Ramón Arosemena during a recent appearance on Telemetro Panamá, discussing the issue.

This is just the latest in a series of innovative, bottom-up campaigns to fight unsafe street conditions in cities around the world. In Manchester, England, for example, a mysterious do-gooder known as “Wanksy” has taken to drawing giant penises around local potholes to spur that city’s officials into action. Meanwhile, Canadian high schooler David Ballas has invented an ideal pavement filler, made of a unique combination of asphalt and chicken feathers, which resists the moisture responsible for creating potholes in the first place.

[via ad week]