Raising Awareness in the Media

28 Mar

As a PR/Ad major, I thought it would be appropriate to dedicate this post to some of the advertising, nonprofits, and government programs out there that work around the clock to generate public awareness in a combined effort to reduce alcohol-related accidents and fatalities.  April is regarded as National Alcohol Awareness Month every year; that’s just a few days from now!  So spread the word!  National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month is December.  In my opinion, we should be exercising awareness and prevention every hour of every day of every month.

Some data I found while researching the topic:

Television ads for alcohol products outnumbered “responsibility” messages by 32 to one.  From 2001 to 2003, the industry spent $2.5 billion on television product advertising, and only $27 million on “responsibility” programs.

The number of distilled spirits ads on cable networks grew 5,687% between 2001 and 2004, from 645 to 37,328. Distilled spirits spending on cable network advertising grew 3,392%, from $1.5 million to $53.6 million in that period. The number of cable network alcohol ads that exceeded the industry’s 30% underage audience threshold nearly doubled to 18,027 in 2004, up from 9,235 in 2001.


On a lighter note, in 2010, the U.S. Government spent $13 million for just one advertising campaign to publicize increased enforcement through the Labor Day weekend.  Other non-profits and programs have also been shelling out big bucks for the cause.  The efforts against drunk driving are growing in every way, shape, and form.  During recent years, the California Highway Patrol has been successful in reducing the number of deaths and injuries caused by drivers under the influence through enforcement and extensive education and public awareness programs.

“‘Sober Graduation’ is both a title and an objective. This program was established by the Department in 1985 and has been recognized internationally as an effective anti-DUI program targeting high school seniors and raising their awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving. Each year Division and Area Public Affairs Officers assist participating schools by attending rallies and fund-raisers to disseminate promotional materials with anti-DUI messages. Public Service Announcements (PSAs) showing the consequences of drinking and driving are provided to CHP public affairs officers for presentation at school rallies. In addition, many public affairs programs feature accident scene reenactments that offer a strong message to students about the very serious consequences of drinking and driving.

The Department’s dedication to reducing DUI-related traffic accidents is also shown in its support of the Designated Driver program. Designated Driver is designed not only to educate the public about the dangers of drinking and driving, but also to encourage and reward those who choose not to drink in order to safely drive others home. The Department and allied agencies work together with community organizations to distribute promotional materials such as posters, window stickers, key chains, water bottles, T-shirts, and glasses that feature the designated driver program. Special items such as polo shirts, and drinking glasses have also been presented to participating bars and restaurants. The Department has also provided ‘Designated Driver’ Public Service Announcements for broadcast on local radio and television stations.”

Innovative, clever, and attention-grasping ads are always popping up throughout our communities, whether it be through a gruesome PSA or a trippy optical illusion on a billboard.  Even some of the world’s largest alcohol manufacturers have shown their support for the movement.  Take a look:

A smart one where the company printed a graphic on the crown of their bottles. On opening the crown, the graphic of the car appears to be distorted and on the reverse of the crown you have “Don’t Drink and Drive message”.

Specially designed Guinness cans created a “double vision” sensation and were distributed as a part of an “enjoy responsibly” campaign.

A Heineken ad that reads, “when you drink your reaction time slows down.  Don’t drink and drive.”  Pretty straight forward.  The one below is humorous but definitely gets its point across.

Here are some of my favorites I came across while doing research.  The outdoor advertising is most effective in my opinion.  The one below is incredibly creative; a restaurant attached printed wheels to the regular chairs with the message “Don’t drink and drive this festive season.”  It was a beautiful and clever graphic representation of how quickly life can change if one gets behind the wheel after drinking.

The “bleeding” coasters above were an interesting concept….the dye from the coaster turns red as it gets wet from the beer glass.

Which ad do you like most and why?


4 Responses to “Raising Awareness in the Media”

  1. jamienicoledonovan March 31, 2011 at 11:07 am #


    I’d have to say that it’s a toss up between the “Reserved for Drunk Driver” parking spot and the blood coasters for my favorite ad. I am absolutely an image addict so to see a visual representation of the effects of drunk driving is highly intriguing to me. I have had multiple friends/acquaintances who have unfortunately made poor decisions and suffered the consequences of having DUIs. I do not support their decisions to drink and drive, but I do support them as individuals who need help with a serious problem. I am really excited that you are handling this issue with unapologetic honesty and in your face tactics.

    Thank you for taking readers down the right road,


  2. selenaslavenburg March 31, 2011 at 7:22 pm #


    So when our blog topics first came out, after writing 2 of my posts I went to look at yours. Then i forced myself not to read it until the very end, because I thought it would be interesting to see how differently we tackled the same subject. And I am SO impressed! Your blog is great. It is different from mine, and now that I’ve read through all of it it’s left me with even more perspectives on the issue.
    Also, I found it so neat that we both actually used the exact same phrase in one of our posts “be the change you want/wish to see in the world”.
    I’m glad we are both tackling this subject, it needs the attention.

    p.s. my favorite campaign is the beer bottle cap “don’t drink and drive”

  3. noellefreeman March 31, 2011 at 9:55 pm #

    The media is the answer! Entering the advertising world, I have set my personal boundaries on what I will and will not advertise, in terms of alcohol. With the advertiser’s help, you will be able to combat this issue. Their needs to be stricter laws and regulations on alcohol advertisements. With the help of the media, you will be able to see you change!

  4. Taryn Langton March 31, 2011 at 10:11 pm #

    I love all of these ads. I’ve seen a few of them before, but I’d have to say that my favorite is the bathroom line-up installment. It literally gets right in their face and reminds them the consequences of drinking and driving which is very powerful. I find hope in the fact that the advertising industry is making an effort to raise awareness for a problem that they also perpetuate.


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