February 21, 2018 8:36 pm

Edmonton police use 90s pop songs to spread public safety messages online

WATCH ABOVE: The Edmonton Police Service's Twitter account has been getting more creative and more musical lately. Emily Mertz looks at why and what impact it's having.

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The official Twitter account for the Edmonton Police Service (EPS) has been getting clever and creative — and a little bit musical — while using the social network lately.

Edmontonians who follow @Edmontonpolice are used to seeing alerts about crimes, collisions, road closures and arrest warrants. What we’re not used to seeing: messages inspired by Backstreet Boys lyrics.

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Over the last several months, Tweets from police have included home safety reminders which are adapted versions of the Friends theme song, Donna Summer’s She Works Hard For The Money, Backstreet Boys’ I Want It That Way and a scam warning to the tune of Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart.

READ MORE: Police rap battle about winter driving takes off on social media 

“And we need you now tonight. And we need you more than ever. If you only lock up tonight, you’ll be locking up forever,” reads one Jan. 25 message that was liked more than 435 times.

Another tweet about bad winter driving conditions on Jan. 11 used a Mario Kart reference and was liked more than 8,200 times.

“If you slip off the road, a Koopa won’t lift your vehicle and put you back on track within seconds,” it reads.

The brain behind these messages is surprised by the huge response.

“It’s fun and relaxed but we still get the safety message out,” said EPS social media coordinator Landis Kine Donahue. “It’s just a new way — humorous and attention grabbing in a positive way — but definitely lyrically based,” she said with a laugh.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan RCMP rhyme about winter road safety 

The main goal, she said, is to have that safety message reach as many people as possible.

“We can put out as many messages as we want about… road conditions but when you throw in a spin to it… Mario Kart goes through generations of people. I think that just kind of tugged at the heartstrings of everyone’s childhoods. Yes, we should be safer on the roads but here’s a fun way to get the message out.”

Kine Donahue said the 90s pop tune-related tweets are the most popular and she’s even fielded song requests.

Total Eclipse Of The Heart was actually a request from a citizen… and I had to because I love that song.”

She’s used the fun approach to spread the word about the “9 p.m. Routine” — a reminder to citizens to lock up before bed — as well as common scams.

“We’ve put out the message over and over again — warnings, CRA scams, bitcoin scams, iTunes gift card scams — but people are still falling victim… I used the lyrics, ‘you work hard for the money’ and turned that into just a warning: You work hard for your money. Keep it safe and here are some warnings about scams that are trying to take the money you worked hard for.”

READ MORE: Edmonton police connect with citizens through social media 

It seems the creative spin is helping familiar messages cut through the noise and resonate with the public.

“For an organization, especially in policing, to be able to have a personality, I think that speaks a lot and it can break down some walls that people may have up towards a police service,” Kine Donahue said.

“I think that’s just refreshing.”

In addition to retweets and likes, Kine Donahue’s style is being very warmly embraced.

“People love this stuff,” she said. “I think it’s cool but I don’t know if everyone else does. From growing up in the 90s, they can tell I’m from the 90s, apparently,” she laughed. “People love the lyrics, people want to meet me, want to know who’s behind it, people want me to have a raise — [I’ve had] some marriage proposals.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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