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Advertising / Julie Knew Her Killer

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Who are you prepared to kill?

"Like most victims, Julie knew her killer..."

Julie Knew Her Killer, otherwise known as simply Julie, is one of the most serious and infamous 1998 British road safety public information film directed by Roger Woodburn, which warns the audience about the importance of wearing a seatbelt at the backseat. The PIF was widely popular and very memorable to the community that it aired in numerous countries from 1998 to 2003.

The plot is about Julie simply driving her two teenage children to school. Both Julie and the daughter were buckled, but the son who was at the backseat wasn't. As Julie concentrates on the road, she is concerned that a white Ford Transit was tailgating her and tries to avoid it. Tragedy results as Julie meets her killer...

Originally by DETR note , it was later re-aired in 2007 as part of the THINK! campaign, albeit in a shorter 30 seconds advert, effectively replacing the previous "Backwards" ad.

Like most tropers, TV Tropes knew their examples...

  • Bait-and-Switch: The viewer is meant to assume that Julie's killer will be the person in the van, but is actually her son.
  • Cheated Death, Died Anyway: Julie survives being stalked, only to die anyway when she crashes and her son crushes her.
  • Creepy Stalker Van: The white Ford Transit who was tailgating behind Julie throughout the PIF is sure enough to think that it looks intimidating.
  • Cruel Twist Ending: ...and you thought it was all about the white van that's trailing behind her... ...until she fatally crashed into another car.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Anyone who can already see the son in the background unbuckled knew what the inevitable was gonna happen.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The moment Julie's son is thrown forward, which smashes her skull in the process, the only horrific violence seen was blood splattered on the windshield.
  • Kill the Cutie: Julie would technically count as one, when her son smashes her skull, and died instantly.
  • Minimalist Cast: If you don't count the driver in the white van, the ad only features just Julie and her two children.
  • The Nameless: Julie's children are not named.
  • Mood Whiplash: Julie goes from relieved to a sudden horrifically surprised expression, realizing what Tempting Fate she'll be in.
  • No Name Given: Julie's children's names are not revealed.
  • Safe Driving Aesop: "Belt up in the back. For everyone's sake."
    • THINK!'s version is just simply "THINK! Always wear a seatbelt.". Another variation was "Think about wearing a seat belt.".
  • Public Service Announcement: This PIF explains why you should always wear a seatbelt in the back of the car, not just in the front.
  • Screaming Woman: Julie's daughter who was screaming horrifically from the aftermath of the accident.
  • Sickening "Crunch!": You can hear a bone breaking sound once Julie's son fractured her skull.
  • Surprise Car Crash: Julie suddenly crashing into a parked car.
  • Use Your Head: Involuntarily, the son's head was thrown forward from the impact of the crash, smashing Julie's skull.
  • Wham Line: "It was her son."
  • Wham Shot: The sudden car crash.