Second person deterring mate from drink driving. Hero’s the mate as saving his friend with colloquial tone, viral ad that uses comedy to frame a serious scenario. This will inform my approach to the second person influencing the carers need to take care of them self.
But neither alcohol nor cars, in and of themselves, cause crashes: the answer to combatting drunk driving is changing driver behaviour.
That’s where a hard-hitting, high-profile advertising campaign comes in – but it isn’t the easiest message to pitch, says Rachel Prince, principal advisor at New Zealand Transport Agency, when teenagers and 20-somethings are already the target of so much marketing as it is. “We’re selling a product that people do not want to buy,” she says. “It’s much easier to sell them something that they’re excited about.”
She says “a good science” goes into NZTA drink-driving campaigns, starting with a robust understanding of their target audience: who’s causing the harm, and why. “Gaining a really good understanding of that before we put a brief on the table to the advertising agency is key to getting something that’s relevant the other end … Knowing them thoroughly, and having some deep insights into why they’re not buying your product now, and what might make them buy it in the future.”
The “product” Prince refers to is not drinking and driving when the opportunity is there – and as she acknowledges, it can be a hard sell. “It’s basically, in a nutshell, ‘Don’t tell me how to live my life’.”
Lately, NZTA’s focus has been on targeting people on the periphery: those who have the opportunity to stop friends, colleagues or family from driving drunk. It’s the difference between the “bloody idiot” campaign of the late 2000s and the current “bloody legend” campaign – the carrot, not the stick (or the fear factor, as has historically been the case).
Prince says it was a sidestep for the agency, intended to channel the power of peer pressure for good. “Mateship is key for them,” she says of young men and as such, they’re likely to listen to their friends “if it’s couched in the right way”.
From research focus groups, she learned that friends don’t stop friends drink and driving for fear of creating an awkward moment. Prince rattles off some typical excuses young men gave for not intervening at the pivotal point: “‘We don’t want to kill the vibe’, ‘we don’t want to be the dick’, ‘we don’t want to look like the party-pooper’, ‘we don’t want to break the mood’.”
The key to alleviating the awkwardness was in using humour, she says – “coming up with tools that they could use to make it not an awkward moment but a humorous one, and still get the message across”.