For March Madness Partygoers, New PSAs Highlight “Warning Signs” to Prevent Buzzed Driving

As Americans gather at bars and in living rooms to watch the hugely popular college basketball tournament– often with a drink in hand– the Ad Council is launching a new series of public service advertisements (PSAs) for their ongoing “Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving” campaign. Impaired driving remains a persistent problem in the U.S., with over 10,000 people killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in 2016, according to the Department of Transportation. That’s approximately one person every fifty minutes.

The new PSAs, which were produced pro bono by media agency OMD, encourage young men to examine their own behavior by amplifying social warning signs many already know and associate with impairment. Whether texting too many emojis or taking one too many selfies, these subtle “warning signs” are recognizable to the target audience and serve as cues not to drive home.

The spots end by reminding drivers to take responsibility for their own decisions and find a safe way to get home instead of getting behind the wheel.

The integrated campaign includes online video, TV, and social components. OMD has secured placement for the spot across multiple media partners including Ad Colony, Barstool, CBS Sports, Evite, Ground Truth, PlaceIQ, Players Tribune Receptive, Tinder, Vox and Waze. Alongside OMD, HYFN provided production support throughout the campaign.

“By combining media insights about our target audience’s screen preferences along with social media intelligence around ‘buzzed’ signals, we were able to develop a creative platform that was inherently media-driven, and vice versa,” said John Osborn, CEO of OMD USA.

Creative assets have been distributed nationwide and will run exclusively in donated time and space, per the Ad Council’s model. Social-optimized versions of the creative will soon debut on Facebook and Instagram, courtesy of Facebook’s donated media support for the Ad Council.

To date, the campaign has resulted in a measurable increase in the target audience making safer choices. According to the most recent study available, between 2005 and 2013 the percentage 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.

“Our Buzzed Driving campaign has saved lives by changing attitudes and behaviors around impaired driving over the past decade, but this vital information still needs to be heard,” said Lisa Sherman, Ad Council President and CEO. “The power of the new creative is that it delivers a lighthearted but memorable message to anyone who considers driving after drinking.”

To take the interactive “probably okay isn’t okay” quiz, visit


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