It was a very bright idea indeed that struck Annapolitan Joel Machak and then partner Jim Ferguson a quarter of a century ago. Struck is a key word here. For in that moment of brilliance, the two ad men created the Crash Test Dummies Vince & Larry.
For the next 14 years, from 1985 to 1998, Vince & Larry struck and were struck by all sorts of dismembering objects in a variety of collisions so inventive it seemed to be drawn from Looney Tunes. All to keep you safer while driving.
In return for their suffering, the Crash Test Dummies — who were played by real actors in television and print public service announcements — achieved fame.
The Ad Council ranks the campaign among the historic campaigns that have made a difference in society. By helping convince us to wear seat belts, the Council credits Vince & Larry with having “helped save an estimated 85,000 lives, and $3.2 billion in costs to society.”
Now the Crash Test Dummies have entered the halls of history.