Merkley+Partners, Ad Council Cry ‘Party Foul’ on Teenage Drunk Driving

By Erik Oster 

Merkley+Partners created a new campaign pro-bono for the Ad Council and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, addressing teenage drunk driving with “Party Foul.”

While the Ad Council has partnered with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on drinking and driving PSA campaigns for four decades, adding terms like “designated driver” to the American vernacular, this is the first effort directly addressing underage drunk driving, which is somewhat surprising given that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among teens in America.

Shot entirely on an iPhone (to simulate authenticity), the 30-second “Party Foul” shows a series of humorous party fouls with the message “Most party fouls are pretty dumb.” The voiceover then goes on to decry underage drinking and driving as “the ultimate party foul,” pointing out to teens that it could cost them their license and their freedom. In addition to the broadcast spot, the campaign also includes online, outdoor and web banner ads, as well as a dedicated Tumblr page. A branded emoji keyboard, developed by Swyft Media and available for iOS and Android platforms will roll out later. 

“One teenage death from drinking and driving is too many,” said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind. “Our goal with this campaign is to raise awareness among teenagers that drinking and driving is one of the worst mistakes they can ever make, with deadly consequences that can’t be undone.”


“The aim of this campaign is to help young people become more aware of the serious consequences of underage drunk driving,” added Merkley+Partners CCO and chairman Andy Hirsch. “We are all motivated to help save lives on our roads and highways.”