The Mumbai Traffic Police in India finds an innovative solution to honking with ‘Punishing Signal’ by FCB Interface

Ads, Creativity

Mumbai is one of the noisiest cities in the world. And a lot of this noise can be traced back to cacophony at the signals. Mumbaikars (the locals in Mumbai) honk even when the signal is red! Needless to say, this noise pollution is making the city alarmingly unhealthy to live in. To tackle this honking menace, the Mumbai Traffic Police, in partnership with FCB Interface came up with an innovative solution called The Punishing Signal.

This is how it works. Special decibel meters were connected to traffic signals across the island city. When the decibel exceeded a dangerous 85dB, the signal timer would reset itself… forcing the people to wait longer at the signal! Thus ‘punishing’ them for their impatience with the message, honk more, wait more!

“Honking is bad habit and an act of traffic indiscipline. Unfortunately, many Mumbaikars indulge in reckless honking. Honking causes noise pollution, hurts the eardrums, increases heart rate, creates traffic confusion and causes stress. Unnecessary honking is a menace which everyone recognizes but does little to curb. This small experiment is one of many attempts by Mumbai Police to create better road discipline in Mumbai. Hopefully, it will encourage Mumbaikars to honk less, and create a noise-free and stress-free commute,” said Mr. Madhukar Pandey, Jt. Commissioner of Police (Traffic), Mumbai Police.

As a part of the campaign, the first leg of activation was tested in Mumbai at important junctions that are most prone to heavy traffic such as CSMT, Marine Drive, Peddar Road, Hindmata and Bandra. And the film gives one glimpses of the confused honking Mumbaikars who honked, waited, honked and learnt it the hard way, that honking is not the way out.

Shedding light on the creative idea, Robby Mathew, Chief Creative Officer, FCB Interface, said, “Sometimes, the stick works better than the carrot. And a signal that gave us a gentle rap on the knuckles for honking unnecessarily, seemed like a good idea to me.”

Adding, Rohit Ohri, Group Chairman and CEO FCB Group, said, “We have been partnering Mumbai Police for many years now. Noise pollution is a big problem in our cities. This new initiative is a fantastic creative solution for bringing about awareness and a behavior change amongst the drivers in Mumbai.”


Client: Mumbai Police

Creative Agency: FCB Interface

  • Creative Team: Fred Levron, Robby Mathew, Mukesh Jadhav, Rakesh Menon, Ravi Ananthan, Mayuresh Vengurlekar, Siddharth Kutty
  • Media Team: Dhruv Jha, Amit Raina
  • Account Management: Shailesh Gupte
  • Social Media : Rahul Shenoy, Shreyas Deshmukh
  • Films Team: Alpa Jobalia, Mazhar Khan
  • Director of TVC: Akshay Nair
  • DOP (of the TVC): Sujay Pawar
  •  Producers: Sukirth Rao, Archana Sarkar, Shwetabh Mishra

Production House: 30ML Ideas Production

  • Music Partner: Saregama

FCB Interface, a part of FCB India Group, is one of the fastest growing agencies in India. Started as a second agency of the FCB Group, FCB Interface today is amongst the leading agencies in India. The agency offers full-service capabilities with end-to-end mainline and digital solutions, and has an impressive client rooster, across multiple sectors. It has won numerous awards for its creative and strategic effectiveness. With offices in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Kochi, the agency focuses on creating “Never Finished” campaign ideas for brands. Ideas that reflect a deep understanding of the brand’s bedrock – its storied past, a respect for the present and an anticipation of the future potential.