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The Eyes Have It (1958)


Produced by Movietone for the Australian Road Safety Council, this black-and-white cinema advertisement features cricketer Keith Miller. It illustrates the importance of observation and concentration in both the game of cricket and for road safety. The advertisement uses cricket analogies to carry its safety message to drivers and pedestrians on the road. It ends with a direct address to camera by Miller who concludes, if you want to be 'not out in the game of life’, play it safe and remember 'the eyes have it’.

Curator’s notes

Between the late 1940s and late 1950s, car ownership in Australia had increased from one in eight people to about one in four, and with it came increased traffic in built-up city centres. In this context it is easy to see why raising public awareness of driver and pedestrian concentration on the roads would have been a core component of road safety campaigns at this time.

The choice of Keith Miller as the advertisement’s star is inspired. By the late 1950s, Miller had become one of the country’s most loved and well-known cricketers of the postwar period. An accomplished all-rounder with a strong build and a handsome appearance, Miller was popular both within and beyond the cricket arena (cricket enthusiast Michael Parkinson once said 'the women loved him and the men wanted to be him’).

The structure of the advertisement is built around Miller’s wide appeal and draws analogies between cricket and driving. Some of these may seem a little clunky and corny to us today ('if you want to top score as a pedestrian’ and 'don’t let distractions get you caught out’, are two standouts) but they effectively convey the core message about keeping your eyes on the road and watching out for dangers amongst the traffic.