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Tori's absurd billboard hard to miss

Many advertisers worry whether drivers will notice their billboard on the side of the road, but when it’s as absurd as a kangaroo driving a car, it’s much harder to miss.

That was the clever idea by TAFE Queensland graphic design student Tori Sharpe who paired the attention grabbing image with the slogan, ‘Take a Break Mate – Ya Drive Lousy When Ya Drowsy’.

Tori's billboard design features a kangaroo in the driver's seat

The 28-year-old’s witty campaign is the winning concept of the Re:act program which challenged design students across the state to create a campaign that raises awareness of road safety and change behaviour among 16-24 year olds.

Tori, who studies at TAFE Queensland’s Coomera campus on the Gold Coast said she used humour in her concept to get the target audience’s attention before delivering a factual road safety message.

“Absurdity grabs attention quickly, and a kangaroo driving a car is definitely absurd,” Tori said.

“You need to capture attention very quickly with Gen Z and so if we capture it with something ridiculous first then they will pay more attention to the message.”

“My research found that if you can kind of hit a humorous tone, and make people smile, they’ll tend to remember it more,” she said.

Tori’s campaign was launched this month on 60 billboards and 200 smaller formats across Queensland, and she said it’s a very surreal feeling.

“I never would have thought in a million years that something I had designed would be on billboards. I couldn’t stop smiling when I saw it, it’s such a huge achievement,” said Tori.

“I hope the campaign spreads awareness of the dangers of driving fatigued, whether it sparks up a conversation or nudges people to do the right thing. I’m hoping it directs young drivers to make better decisions before getting behind the wheel and during long car trips,” she said.

For as long as she can remember Tori has always been artistic and creative, but since she finished high school she has worked in various fulltime jobs across other industries.

“Whenever I thought about lifetime careers my mind kept taking me back to graphic design and I was made redundant this time last year due to COVID-19 and decided it was finally time to go for it,” she said.

“It was a bit daunting because I’d never touched Adobe software before, but I was excited to learn.”

Now eight months into her course, Tori who is accessing the State Government's Job Trainer funding said she wishes that she had started her Diploma of Graphic Design (CUA50715) at TAFE Queensland sooner.

“If you’ve been thinking about studying for a while or you’re passionate about design and have the drive for it, just do it," she said.

“The teachers have been so supportive and they’re full of knowledge. The skills you’ll learn are diverse and highly sought after.”

Minister for Training and Skills Development Di Farmer congratulated Tori on winning the competition.

“Tori’s design is simple, eye catching, and really gets the message across. I am so pleased her talent has been recognised and that her work will be showcased on billboards right across Queensland," Minister Farmer said.

“I also want to commend the staff at TAFE Queensland's Coomera campus for not only making sure their students are aware of opportunities like this competition but providing them with the quality of teaching that means they can win them!"

“TAFE Queensland does a fantastic job right across the state, working with industry partners to make sure students have real and valuable experience for their resumes before they’ve even finished their courses," she said.