Diageo North America educates against impaired driving ahead of Labor Day

The interactive online experience features real people sharing the consequences of driving while impaired.

Some people don’t consider the dangers of drinking and driving until it hits too close to home. But about 28 people in the U.S. die every day in drunk-driving crashes — or one person every 52 minutes, according to NHTSA.

Diageo North America hopes its interactive online tool, “The Wrong Side of the Road,” will educate people on the consequences of impaired driving before they decide to take the wheel inebriated. The alcohol company, which owns brands including Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff and Guinness, released the tool ahead of the Labor Day holiday weekend. 

The website, created with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research, features a series of online videos of real people sharing stories about driving while impaired. 

One man crashed his car on his way to work the morning after a night of drinking, and another drove while impaired to find his brother and a father crashed into a wall on his way to a high school football game.

Drivers were sourced from the company’s nonprofit partners with an intention to reach its target audience between 21 to 35 year olds.

The clips are set up like video-conferencing calls, making the videos feel like one-on-one conversations with the person. Users can click on questions for the drivers to answer such as “Did you feel pressure to drive?”, “What was going through your head?” and “How did your family react?”

Diageo tracks how much a user has learned from the experience with a pre-quiz about their feelings about impaired driving. After the videos, users take another assessment to gauge if their awareness on the topic has changed. 

After the virtual learning experience, users are directed to additional resources and information on impaired driving. 

“When we were thinking about how to make the biggest impact we focused on the theory of reasoned action,” Ana Fitzgibbons, director, Diageo in Society, told Campaign US. “We wanted to make sure we gave folks the opportunity to have what felt like a real and raw conversation with someone so that they could learn about decisions and consequences, and ultimately be empowered to make better decisions.”

The company hopes that 5 million people complete pre- and post-evaluations on the site. There are also plans to populate the site with more real-life stories.

Diageo previously launched “The Wrong Side of the Road” tool in the U.K. in May. The company plans to roll out the experience in additional markets including Ireland, Italy, Greece, Spain, South Africa, India, Nigeria, Mexico, Colombia and Dominican Republic over the next 12 months.

Diageo has a responsibility to promote responsible drinking, said Fitzgibbons, adding that the company takes its “role in society seriously.” 

“We want people to drink better, not more,” she said. “And sometimes that's empowering folks to make decisions for themselves. The more information that's out there, the more they can decide whether they even want to consume alcohol on any given night or not.”

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