Decades after the Beatles turned a stroll across the road — Abbey Road, that is — into one of the most widely copied images of the rock era, police in Calcutta, India are using the Fab Four to try and promote better traffic safety.
Calcutta’s Telegraph newspaper reports that after years of trying to combat rule-flouting pedestrians who don’t think it’s cool to obey the law, officials stumbled across an ad campaign that’s proven wildly successful: using the ‘Abbey Road’ cover to demonstrate that four of the coolest guys in the world understood the value of using a crosswalk.
“We toyed with ideas ranging from Shakira to ‘Gangnam Style,’ keeping the youth in mind. We finally chose the Beatles because of their timeless appeal and the photograph, which fits the bill,” a spokesperson tells the Telegraph. A police commissioner adds, “The Beatles touched thousands of lives with their music and we are simply trying to use their universal appeal to save lives.”
It appears to be working, too. The Telegraph article quotes one young teacher as saying, “Earlier, Calcutta police to me meant pot-bellied and uncool people. But after seeing this, I think they are the coolest! I want to meet the guy behind this idea. Now when I use a zebra crossing, I feel I am walking down Abbey Road!”
Of course, using the Beatles as an example of proper road-crossing etiquette may mean an upswing in the number of Calcuttans who decide to start walking across the street without shoes, which could create its own set of problems. But at least they aren’t imitating the cover of ‘The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan,’ right?