Why do alcohol brands love road safety campaigns?

Alcohol brands road safety campaigns

To put it simply, brands get to look socially responsible without making alcohol the villain or dampen party spirits — more reasons emerge as we take a look at the patterns in execution of these road safety campaigns.

Drunk driving is a major cause of road accidents and fatalities. It’s a nuisance for law and order authorities, a nightmare for the medical fraternity, a topic of importance for NGOs, and an opportunity for companies that offer cabs for hire. Over the last few years, several brands across the globe have taken these factors into account to come up with road safety campaigns as part of their corporate social responsibility. They use these campaigns to promote the sentiment of responsible drinking among their consumers — without giving up on the fun of enjoying a night out. In some cases, zero alcohol products are also promoted.

Partnerships To Amplify Message

One of the most common strategies for alcohol brands is to partner with non-profit organisations and sometimes even government authorities to create campaigns about road safety. This helps them become part of and creatively contribute to credible conversations against drunk driving. They are able to do their bit and earn the respect of those who are at the forefront of driving the cause.

In a recent campaign, Anheuser-Busch partnered with Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Uber to come with a campaign that said that you can’t come home drunk if you don’t drink to the venue at all. You can simply take a cab on your way in. Uber’s role in the campaign was linked to in-app discounts that people could avail during the promotional phase — the step was to incentivise the use of cabs to travel on nights when people would likely get drunk.

News That Helps With Credibility

In India, an excellent example of a full-fledged road safety campaign could be seen in the result of a partnership between Diageo and Network18 (FirstPost). The campaign included a minisite where people could register to pledge that they would follow the road safety rules and several social media posts on the importance of refusal to drive when a person was under the influencer of alcohol.

The most important part of the campaign, however, was the use of the publication’s credibility to add value to the campaign. As a news organisation, Network18 was able to support the campaign with panel discussions, interviews of authorities, statements by ministers, and collation of general public sentiments. All of this was done in the editorial capacity of the publication, helping the campaign’s scope grow manifold.

Also Read: Surrogate Advertising: Brands that marketed alcohol without marketing the ‘alcohol’

Emotions & Storytelling

There are many occasions where brands don’t release videos for such campaigns — instead opting for in-app discount partnerships with cab for hire brands or funding offline awareness efforts of government authorities. However, sometimes they do expand the scope of storytelling with campaigns featuring famous personalities and a narrative that is bound to stay with people for years. Emotions and music are at the heart of such videos.

One such example being the Heineken campaign featuring F1 World Champions, Keke & Nico Rosberg.

With such campaigns, alcohol brands are able to portray themselves as responsible businesses that care about their consumers and would do all they can do to ensure they stay safe. They incentivise safety with the help of discounts as well as use their monies and reach to help authorities amplify important messages. With such steps, they get the opportunity to get into the good books of everyone who is capable of criticising the impact of their products. Clearly, they have a lot to gain — and love!


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