Fighting car thieves with graffiti and graphic images

Adding power-of-suggestion images to a bait car campaign is aimed at making crooks think about consequences.

If a picture’s worth a thousand words, the images Vancouver’s Wasserman + Partners Advertising is adding to the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia’s bait car program may deter more car thieves – by helping them visualize the consequences of what they’re contemplating.

Meant to tempt crooks into committing crimes of opportunity, bait cars have succeeded in reducing auto theft in BC since 2002. But now the enticement ante has been upped in 15 parking lots in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland with the addition of graffiti art bolstering the message: ‘Steal a Bait Car. Go to Jail.’

Included in the creative executions by Wasserman + Partners, which also handled media buys, are life-size posters on parkade walls showing a sorry-looking thief peering between prison bars; stenciled imagery depicting a would-be robber apprehended by an officer and a police dog; and power-wash floor messages with directional arrows explicitly pointing toward bait cars.

‘The urban-influenced format of these very clear, high-profile executions is designed to resonate powerfully with potential thieves, and serve as a deterrent in areas traditionally thought to be beyond the reach of law enforcement,’ explains agency account supervisor Sean Weller.

Weller adds that the images will likely be added to parking lots with bait car programs in a wider geographical area around Vancouver in the near future.