National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Ad Council Launch First-Ever Public Service Campaign Targeting Underage Drinking and Driving
Nearly One-Third of Young Drivers Killed in Traffic Crashes Have Alcohol in Their System; New PSAs Depict Drinking and Driving as the Ultimate Party Foul
PR Newswire, Washington, D.C., October, 19, 2015
As part of National Teen Driver Safety Week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Ad Council announced today their first national public service campaign designed to prevent underage drinking and driving. Following the success of iconic campaigns including “Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk” and “Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving,” the new public service ads (PSAs) were unveiled this morning by Mark Rosekind, Administrator for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), at the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) Teen Safe Driving Summit in Washington, DC.
“One teenage death from drinking and driving is too many,” said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind. “Our goal with this campaign is to raise awareness among teenagers that drinking and driving is one of the worst mistakes they can ever make, with deadly consequences that can’t be undone.”
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among teens in America, and almost half of teens killed in crashes are the drivers themselves. Despite a minimum legal drinking age of 21 in all 50 states, almost one-quarter of young drivers involved in fatal traffic crashes had alcohol in their systems according to data from NHTSA.
In a first for NHTSA and the Ad Council, the television and online PSAs were filmed entirely on an iPhone and portray underage drinking and driving as the “ultimate party foul.” Scenes demonstrate that while “party fouls” like spilling a drink or tripping over a lamp in front of your peers can be dangerous and embarrassing, the consequences to drinking and driving underage are far more serious and long-lasting. The campaign was created pro bono by New York-based ad agency Merkley+Partners and will include television, online, outdoor and web banner ads. Additionally, the campaign will later unveil a branded emoji keyboard, available on both the iOS and Android platforms, developed pro bono by Swyft Media.
“The Ad Council has been working to prevent drunk driving since the 1980s and we’re looking forward to having an impact on the next generation with this new campaign,” added Lisa Sherman, Ad Council President and CEO. “At an age when adulthood finally feels within their grasp, we need to encourage teens to recognize the dangerous consequences of drinking and driving and the impact it can have on their futures.”
The ads direct audiences to the campaign website on Tumblr, ultimatepartyfoul.org, where they can learn more about the consequences of underage drinking and driving and find tips on how to avoid drinking and driving. The website also includes an Excuses Generator which provides language for teenagers if they don’t know what to say to friends who have been drinking and are planning on driving. The campaign will be supported by a dedicated Instagram profile, launching later in the year, and across NHTSA’s Facebook and Twitter channels. According to the Ad Council’s model, the new PSAs will air and run nationwide in time and space entirely donated by the media.
“The aim of this campaign is to help young people become more aware of the serious consequences of underage drunk driving,” said Andy Hirsch, Chief Creative Officer/Chairman of Merkley+Partners, “We are all motivated to help save lives on our roads and highways.”
The Ad Council and NHTSA are long-standing partners on the issue of drunk driving. They launched their first public service campaign in the 1980s with messaging that evolved into “Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk,” an iconic tagline that continues to be recognized by 90 percent of American adults. In 2005, the campaign was refocused to target those most likely to drive impaired with the tagline “Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving.” Demonstrating the power of the Buzzed Driving message, between 2005 and 2013 the percent of young men who said that they would always get a ride, take a taxi, or use public transport rather than drive if they felt buzzed increased from 38 percent to 47 percent.
National Teen Driver Safety Week (October 18 to October 24, 2015) is a nationwide effort to raise awareness and seek solutions to preventable teen deaths and injuries on the roads. Underage drinking and driving was identified as part of NHTSA’s “5 to Drive” campaign – an effort to challenge parents to take time to talk to their kids about five dangerous driving practices, including cell phone use and texting while driving, speeding, not wearing a seatbelt, and carrying extra passengers. For more information about National Teen Driver Safety Week and the “5 to Drive” campaign, visit www.safercar.gov/parents.
For more than four decades, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has served as the key federal agency charged with improving safety on our nation’s roadways. As part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, NHTSA is working to reduce traffic-related deaths and injuries by promoting the use of safety belts and child safety seats; helping states and local communities address the threat of drunk drivers; educating road users about the risks associated with distracted driving; regulating safety standards and investigating safety defects in motor vehicles; establishing and enforcing fuel economy standards; conducting research on driver behavior and traffic safety; and providing consumer information on issues ranging from child passenger safety to impaired driving. For more information, visit www.nhtsa.gov.
The Ad Council
The Ad Council is a private, non-profit organization with a rich history of marshaling volunteer talent from the advertising and media industries to deliver critical messages to the American public. Having produced literally thousands of public service campaigns addressing the most pressing social issues of the day, the Ad Council has affected, and continues to affect, tremendous positive change by raising awareness, inspiring action and saving lives. To learn more about the Ad Council and its campaigns visit adcouncil.org, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or view our PSAs on YouTube.
Merkley+Partners is a full–service marketing and advertising agency providing strategic direction to clients and creating print, broadcast, digital, social, viral, brand identity and CRM programs. Merkley services clients across a range of categories including packaged goods, automotive, financial and pharmaceutical. The agency was founded in 1993 and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Omnicom Group Inc., a leading worldwide communications company.
About Swyft Media
Swyft Media helps brands and advertisers become a part of the world’s largest conversation by creating and distributing branded content that consumers want, love and share with friends across a wide variety of mobile apps. To date, Swyft has worked with more than 300 popular global brands such as 1-800Flowers, MillerCoors, Sony, Interscope Records and SEGA to create deep consumer engagement through branded emoji and keyboards. The combination of Swyft’s mobile marketing platform and expertise helps brands and advertisers drive highly engaging, measurable and amplified campaigns, with the opportunity to reach nearly three billion consumers worldwide. Through its relationships with approximately 60 application partners, Swyft boasts one of the largest opportunities for brands to reach younger consumers in way that feels natural and unobtrusive. For more information, visit: www.swyftmedia.com or follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Swyft Media Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Monotype Imaging Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ:TYPE).