• Tim Burrows

Look At The Bigger Picture



Carpool Karaoke is a very popular segment that James Cordone does on his television show. If you've never seen it James drives around with a celebrity and together they sing Karaoke while also conducting an interview.

It's really entertaining. If you've never seen it, click here to see it for yourself.

James' job is to entertain and with Carpool Karaoke he does just that.

Yesterday the Staffordshire Police released a video their own version of Carpool Karaoke with the premise being Karaoke with two officers singing Christmas songs mixed in with crime prevention awareness for cyber crime.

Twitter Version


Full Version


Carpool Karaoke is popular so why not combine the two for some increased awareness blanketed by pop culture?

Because it makes no sense and ignores the bigger picture, or the greater message.

Now I'm not against using pop culture at all. In fact when I teach it is a subject that gets covered because it is very useful when done right, authentically with real purpose.

What the Staffordshire Police did was not done right and here's why.

No Logical Fit

There is no logical fit between Carpool Karaoke and cyber crime.

Carpool Karaoke would be a great fit to talk about distracted driving, while parked, not moving, not being distracted or in the case of Staffs, when you want to send the message, "We don't promote road safety like we should."

Cyber crime awareness would be way better promoted in the environment where it occurs... on computers, during online transactions, checking email.

Not in a car with no tie back.

Just Because You Can Doesn't Mean You Should

Yes, use pop culture. Tie authentically your messaging to something that works in naturally.

But, just because you can do your own version of carpool karaoke doesn't mean you should.

Think about the bigger picture.

There are actually two messages that Staffs sent during this video.

1) It's ok to look away from the road for extended periods of time.

Argue all you want that they distractions were limited but there will still distractions. What would you say when investigating a crash and the driver stated, "I only took my eyes off the road for a second. I didn't see the child run out."

2) Do as we say, not as we do.

I know that Staffs have done great work in distracted driving awareness, but when they turn around and do this, they are smashing their own good work.

The bigger picture here is the message that is actually being conveyed. Not the one trying to be conveyed.

Simple message... great drivers just drive.

Police agencies chasing vanity metrics just don't think about the big picture.


Carpool Karaoke works for James because he's an entertainer. Carpool Karaoke doesn't work for the police because you are held to a higher standard. Yes, I truly believe they were going after the vanity metrics. I'll let this speak for itself.

But The Public Love It

This is my favorite argument. The public love it. Yes, some do. Some don't. Remember you're here to serve the public the best way you can and trying to chase vanity metrics isn't it. If they come naturally because you're doing great work, awesome.

People who won't love it are road safety advocates, insurance companies, people who have lost loved ones to distracted driving and many police officers.

Police Officers like Sgt. Neil Dewson-Smyth (@SgtTCS), a road safety advocate, police officer and advocate for people who have loved ones that have been lost to distracted driving.

He made an excellent video pointing out the issues with what the Staffs Police did and good for him! It's never easy going against the grain and speaking out against something that you see your profession do wrong but it's incredibly honorable and I admire him for that.

Here is his video.


He mentions a resource in the video that talks about internal distractions fro drivers. Here it is... http://www.brake.org.uk/rsw/15-facts-a-resources/facts/1131-distractionfacts

The bottom line in this small rant is simple... Use pop culture, stand out and make yourself different, be bold, be courageous, just don't be dumb when you do it.

Want to see how to use pop culture effectively without mixing your message? Here is a great example from The LasVegas Metropolitan Police


I would love to know your thoughts on this. Agree? Disagree? Let me know. Share your perspective.

#popculture #socialmediaforpublicsafety #lesm

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