After more than 20 years, the Ad Council and the U.S. Department of Transportation are benching for now one of advertising’s most recognizable slogans: "Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk." The new tagline: "Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving."
During the holiday season, public-service announcements bearing the new tagline will premiere exclusively on local broadcast TV as part of Project Roadblock, a continuing partnership between the Ad Council, a nonprofit advertising organization, and the Television Bureau of Advertising (TVB), a local-broadcast-sales trade group. Most spots will be 25 seconds followed by a five-second tag featuring the slogan, which will dissolve into the words "Project Roadblock: Local TV Puts the Brakes on Drunk Driving." The spots will air nationally after the holidays.
"We got a fast start right out of the gate," said Abby Auerbach, executive VP of TVB. "We expect to easily surpass the 517-station mark of last year."
In the New Year’s 2004 campaign, the Ad Council and TVB persuaded 517 TV stations to contribute their extra inventory during the holidays for airplay of a series of Project Roadblock spots called "Innocent Victims."
Stations in 86% of the designated market areas participated, ensuring that nearly anyone who watched TV on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day saw the spots.
Nielsen’s Sigma Data system determined that the spots ran 18,207 times, yielding a five-day total of $3.4 million in donated time. A post-campaign Nielsen study found that 38% of respondents knew of the campaign and 25% percent of those had spoken to a friend or family member about it.
Advocates believe the campaign has saved thousands of lives: According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, alcohol-related traffic fatalities totaled 17,013 in 2002 versus 26,173 in 1982.
TV-industry insiders understand the double meaning in "roadblock": a term stations use when they book advertising so that viewers cannot avoid seeing it.