Most people are aware of the risks associated with drinking and driving. However, there is a hard-to-reach group, often young, who still choose to ignore them.
Each year, around 90 people are killed and 400 seriously injured in alcohol-related crashes. Crash and casualty numbers involving young adult (20-29 year olds) alcohol-affected drivers have remained consistent in recent years, with around 170 fatal and serious injury crashes each year.
The overall Safer Journeys strategy encourages a safe system approach to road safety. A safe system is where we acknowledge that people are not perfect or invulnerable, that drivers can and do make mistakes, but that the penalty for making the mistake should not be death or serious injury. Factoring this in, the campaign targets the broader circle of the drinking driver’s mates, rather than solely focusing on the drinking driver.
The primary audience is young males, 20 – 29 years old, who predominantly live in rural and provincial parts of NZ. These guys have developed a level of complacency towards drink-driving – it is commonplace, habitual and acceptable.
They know what the limits are and that drinking increases their chances of having a crash. They also know the likelihood of being stopped by Police, but they continue to drive after drinking, and often after drinking a lot. They’ve been drinking and driving for years, as their families and friends have done before them.
They also know how to have fun, and socialising and drinking is a big part of their lives. The benefits of driving after drinking, such as freedom of mobility or getting home to their own bed, outweigh any risks they see.
These guys live to get out with their mates doing the things they love - hunting, fishing, surfing etc. But they also have work goals and life goals like the rest of us, and they often have partners and children so they live to be a good father and a good person too.
This ad plays on the insight that good mates protect their mates. Rather than targeting the drinking driver directly, this campaign targets the driver’s mates, and gets them to question their apathy toward letting their mates drive drunk.
Our research shows that these guys can find it awkward to face their mate with the idea that he may be too drunk to drive. While they may have attempted to intervene in the past, the stories shared were more often about their failures than their successes, e.g. "There was a chance for me to stop him and I tried to take the keys off him, and then I gave them back to him." Ultimately stopping a mate from driving after drinking becomes too hard; it’s easier to give in.
The campaign aims to give these young guys a reason to feel okay about stopping their mate from driving drunk. It acknowledges that it’s never going to feel particularly easy or great, but irrespective of any awkwardness, it’s worth it. Ultimately, the campaign aims to show that intervening makes them a really good mate – true mates don’t let mates drive drunk.
When tested with the target audience, the ad was found to be highly relevant for them. Specifically, they could clearly see the reasons to step in and stop a mate from driving drunk.
The campaign launched on 29 July 2018.