Mullen Fights Drunk Driving

BOSTON Interpublic Group’s Mullen attempts to expand the focus of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s long-standing anti-drunk-driving campaign in TV and radio PSAs launched today. The effort is produced under the aegis of the nonprofit Advertising Council.

The work from the agency in Wenham, Mass., introduces a new slogan, “Buzzed driving is drunk driving,” and targets drivers who drink too much and drive, but do not consider themselves a hazard because they believe their alcohol consumption has been moderate.

Spots show 18-34 year olds in typical situations where they might drink a little too much—such as house parties, weddings and karaoke nights out with friends. (According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, almost 60 percent of all impaired driving fatalities last year were among people of that age group.)

Roy Orbison’s “Crying” is featured prominently on the soundtrack.

“The power of the campaign is that it basically ambushes the viewer,” said Michael Ancevic, svp, group creative director at Mullen. “Instead of preaching and pulling on heart strings, it behaves more like an alcohol ad that you’d see on a football game, but then it catches you by surprise. We need to suck you in with laughter and then make you feel that ‘Oh man, I’ve done that’ lump in your throat.”

Ancevic oversaw the effort and served as art director, working with copywriter Tim Cawley and agency producer Zeke Bowman.

“Buzzed drivers don’t equate themselves with the drunk drivers that they would condemn, even though the statistics show that their behavior can be just as dangerous,” said Peggy Conlon, Ad Council president and CEO, in a statement. “I am confident that this new creative will continue to change the culture as it relates to alcohol consumption and driving and communicate to buzzed drivers that even a few drinks can have devastating consequences.”