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Thursday, May 6, 2010

New York: You The Man Campaign

New York City has become increasing safe for drivers in recent years. Only 256 traffic related deaths occurred in 2009, the lowest in city history. Approximately 10 percent of these deaths were caused by drunk drivers. While, lower than the national average of 32 percent, New York City officials find these statistics unacceptable.

New York City Department of Transportation knew that improving these statistics would take a different approach, than the drinking and driving campaign that had been running almost continuously since it was developed in 1983. This new program celebrates the cities designated drivers. Janette Sadik-Kahn, NYCDOT commissioner, explained that there are over 100,000 designated drivers in NYC. Taxi and livery car drives, bus drivers and train operators help to comprise this total. In spite of the abundance of designated drivers, "People will still drink and drive," explained Sadik-Kahn. "So, what we are trying to do is to really focus on celebrating each and every designated driver in the city."

The first-segment of the campaign is aimed at the demographic most likely to get behind the wheel impaired, males between 21 and 39 years of age. The major challenge in getting the message across is that, this particular demographic is also least likely to listen to or respond to a public service announcement. The slogan "You the Man" was derived to reward or celebrate the designated driver as opposed to punishing the drunk the driver. The NYCDOT said test results were positive for the slogan across racial and socioeconomic lines.

The Director of Strategic Communication, Dani Simons wanted to create a program that removed the barrier for people to drink and drive. Simons determined some of the reasons people drink and drive in New York City are to avoid waiting an hour a bus, the changes in weekend subway services, and to prevent walking around a possibly dangerous neighborhood late at night. One campaign objective was to find a way to combat these reasons. "You the Mans" find a ride feature does exactly that. The feature, enables anyone with a smart phone to type in their zip code and find the number of the nearest car service.

They took a different approach in the advertising for the campaign as well. They aligned drink and driving with embarrassing, regrettable drunken behavior. For example, many drivers can't relate to the consequences of drinking and driving. But, they can relate to waking up in the morning and being embarrassed over a drunken phone call or text message they sent. Who wouldn't want to have a sober friend around who could be the designated phone monitor? He would be the hero, or "the man" simply by preventing an action that would later be regrettable. The designated driver is viewed the same way. He's "the man" because he is preventing behavior that would be later be embarrassing and regrettable (never mind dangerous and possibly life-altering).

There is a Facebook page set up for the campaign, as well as a website (http://youthemannyc.org/) video portraying the designated driver as the hero of a successful night out. They are also running internet ads on Evite, Club Planet and Google searches for bars and clubs. Additionally, there are ads running on local radio stations Thursday through Saturday from 5-9pm.

The campaign kicked off Super Bowl Weekend. One of the sponsors of the campaign is Heineken. Heineken teamed up with the NYCDOT to promote the campaign by designing coasters and distributing them to bars. One side of the coaster read, "You the Man" the other side read, "Be the man. Be the designated driver." This is an extremely targeted campaign to reach the targeted demographic where they live. The entire campaign is being executed with a budget of less than $1 million.

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Posted by NSC - Traffic Safety at 1 Comments


Anonymous Jake Sprovi said...

This is a great campaign! They also have a cool website that has some of the commercials and interactive quizzes. This would be something cool to do nationwide.

June 23, 2010 at 9:56 AM 

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