The Utah Department of Highway Safety hired R&R Partners to promote a simple—and commonsense—message during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday.
Don’t drink and drive.
Over the last five years, there have been 23 alcohol-related crashes on St. Patrick’s Day, placing it among the top three deadliest holidays in Utah. The team at R&R Partners understood the need to create a behavior change among St. Patrick’s Day celebrators—seems like an easy task—but how does one take a decade-old message that nobody pays attention to anymore and re-say it in a way that changes behavior, especially during a holiday that has become synonymous with alcohol?
On the evening of St. Patrick’s Day, R&R launched the latest DUI prevention campaign with the help of statewide law enforcement and strategic partnerships with local bars and taverns. Uniformed officers and local actors dressed as living statues of the Saints of Sobriety, including: St. Haylor of Cab, saint of wise travelers; St. Cristyl O’Clearhead, saint of responsible drinking; and St. Alweis the Appointed, saint of designated drivers, stood outside entrances to bars/taverns, urging patrons to celebrate responsibly. Those patrons who pledged to get home safely received a coin from law enforcement, and when deposited in the statue’s hat, activated an interactive performance by the living saint statue. To assist in additional awareness, each bar also placed a stained glass display at their location to communicate the importance of sober driving on Utah’s roads.
Yes, it’s another obvious observation, but it’s also the key to R&R’s drunk driving prevention success. If people get so drunk that they can’t remember their names, how can somebody expect them to remember a TV commercial they saw last week telling them not to drink and drive? Instead, R&R Partners’ push to advertise as close as possible to the point of decision—that moment between when people finish their last beer and pull out their car keys—is vital to immediate behavior change.
In one day, a marketing investment of approximately $10,000 turned into nearly $100,000 worth of local media attention and roughly 1.3 million of news media impressions. And even more impressive is that for the first time, Utah had zero alcohol-related accidents or fatalities for the St. Patrick’s Day holiday. Trooper Lawrence Hopper from Utah Highway Patrol shared, “We wanted to find a way to drive down the number of alcohol-related incidents on Utah roadways, but do so without ending the good times and celebration. With the help of R&R, we not only reached our goal, but surpassed it, creating a community-wide movement that altered the way both patrons and bar owners think about holiday celebrations.”
By partnering with local businesses, placing timely messages at the point of consumption, and creating innovative and creative DUI prevention messages, R&R Partners created a new best-practice in social norms marketing. For a message that hasn’t been newsworthy in decades, that you shouldn’t drink and drive, that’s pretty good.