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Don’t be a dummy: an awareness-raising campaign that hits home!

Project presented by Majd Al Araj, Sara Buko, Amanda Haahr, Flemming Marxen, and Nina Thye

At TotalEnergies, we take safety seriously. In Denmark, the company launched a campaign packed full of humor - Danish style, naturligvis. Powered by social media, the off-beat, quirky tone proved a hit, and succeeded in changing the status quo to get staff thinking about and implementing proper safety procedures.

Best Innovators 2021 - DON'T BE A DUMMY - Safety Campaign -  Exploration & Production – TotalEnergies

A funny, off-beat campaign

In Denmark, workplace safety is a core component of TotalEnergies’ everyday Exploration-Production operations. Yet despite countless communication campaigns, a range of tools rolled out on the ground, and support from everyone involved, the results still didn’t quite align with the set goals. 

To turn the situation around, the EHS and communication teams decided to do away the directive campaigns, preferring instead to get the safety message across differently by focusing on a funny, touching character with a clumsy streak. And Robert Bolt was born.

Who is Robert Bolt? An everyday TotalEnergies employee unlike any other: a crash-test dummy who has a lot in common with the rest of the staff. A warm, friendly person with a great sense of humor and an excellent workmate, he works hard and does his very best to comply with the safety instructions, while upholding the company’s motto: “Safety for me, for you, for everyone.” Yet despite it all, he still manages to get things mixed up, making silly mistakes that lead to accidents, and ultimately losing a limb... Luckily for him, he’s a dummy, which means his arms and legs can be taken off and put back on any which way!

Inclusive, memorable messages

Everybody has a little bit of Robert in them. But nobody has his invincible limbs! The campaign shows what happens when an employee ignores procedures, becoming a crash-test dummy like Robert, but with limbs that can’t be endlessly reused... Hence the metaphor chosen here, and the slogan that can be read two ways: “Don’t be a dummy. Humans don’t come with a set of spare parts.”

Don’t be a dummy gets the safety message across while keeping the tone light, creative, and relaxed - and the result is a hard-hitting lesson that’s easy to remember. Launched in November 2020, the campaign features six documentary-style shorts that recount Robert Bolt’s trials and tribulations across various TotalEnergies’ offshore facilities in the North Sea, illustrating the most common causes of accidents. 

A number of employees helped shoot the movies, and appear in the background behind Robert Bolt. This creates a sense of closeness that boosts the idea of belonging while helping staff appropriate the in-house stance on safety for themselves.

Going viral on social media

  • The campaign was powered by social media, extending its reach to spread the message far and wide, and treating staff’s friends and family to a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes at an offshore rig. Everyone can follow Robert’s adventures on Facebook and LinkedIn, and can even send him an email.
  • This approach to safety is now becoming ingrained in the workplace, with discussions arising between colleagues during breaks, as well as outside the company, back at home with partners, children and friends: a key step in getting staff involved and empowered.
  • This original, high-impact campaign can be easily transposed and adapted across TotalEnergies, and used for other campaign topics, too.

The project team