Drivers in Panama City, like elsewhere, are extremely frustrated by potholes on their city roads. Television station Telemetro Panama has partnered with advertising firm Ogilvy & Mather to run a campaign aimed at getting city officials to do something. Now the potholes themselves are complaining to be repaired — on Twitter!
The Tweeting Pothole is a concept by advertising firm Ogilvy & Mather to install a series of buttons into potholes around the city. These devices automatically send out a tweet directed at Panama’s Department of Public Works, every time a car drives over them.
The tweets coming from these potholes aren’t just generic messages, but witty generated complaints aimed at getting a reaction, and considering how many potholes and cars there are in Panama City, the Public Work’s twitter account is being flooded with them. While the results quite amusing to read, the campaign has been successful in attracting the attention of the Public Work’s Minister, who spoke out about the problem of potholes on the news program. Hopefully this coverage will motivate officials to get something done about these potholes which are such a frustration and hazard for drivers.
One of the most interesting things about The Tweeting Pothole is the way that an advertising agency whose traditional role is to promote and sell a company or product, has intervened on an urban issue. By using their business to highlight an urban problem and creating a solution that would motivate government officials to respond, this project demonstrates a role which companies can play in improving services and infrastructure in cities.