Past drink-driving campaigns have focused, naturally, on the victims, but this has the effect of demonising the driver. However, my research showed that most people who drink and drive do so because of a lapse of judgement, rather than malice. In other words, they are ordinary people like you or I who made a mistake. A stupid mistake, yes, but a mistake nonetheless.
My idea is an integrated campaign that shows the real-time downfall of a man who made a mistake and drove whilst still drunk. The campaign centres around a 24 year old man, Tom. He’s an average guy from a good family. He works hard, buys flowers for his mum and likes seeing his mates. Think of it as a soap opera played out in ads.
The aim is to start a national debate, with traditional media sparking discussion and debate on social media, growing stronger as the campaign progresses. It is driven primarily by TV ads, but the story is supplemented by print, ambient and social media.
Stage 1- impact
The main focus of Stage 1 is to establish intrigue and a little confusion. The ads within Stage 1 simply show the character, Tom going about his life. We see him everywhere, doing the normal mundane things that we all do in everyday life. The ads have no explanation, voice-over or branding whatsoever - they are merely a documentary style observation on a regular bloke. By omitting any branding of any kind, the aim is to create intrigue and mystery. I want Tom to become the topic of national conversation: “What was all that about?” “Who is this bloke?” “That was weird” etc.
Because of the simplicity & sheer mundane nature of each scenario, the ads will work equally well as TV or print ads. The TV ads for instance, lend themselves to shorter durations (5 or 10 seconds) but would cause quite a stir at 30 second lengths if, for instance, all we saw for the entire duration was Tom eating his breakfast.
Each ad contains the hashtag #Tom, which has the dual purpose of connecting the campaign and also directing discussion on social media, so that people can discuss theories etc.
Stage 2- Character development
Stage 2 seeks to build on the interest generated during Stage 1, by giving Tom more personality.
It achieves this by showing him in situations with which the general audience can empathise with him and start to see the good, normal guy. These may be scenarios where he engages with other characters - for example at the pub with friends or enjoying a Sunday roast with his family.
Its important to show Tom to be a normal, everyday guy, one that people can easily relate to. He could be you or I. This connection makes the eventual downfall and fallout from Tom’s drink-driving conviction all the more real and relevant to the audience.
TV Ad 1
TV Ad 2
Other possible television adverts
Tom at work
We see Tom going to work as a Postman. He goes into the warehouse on a morning and organises the letters along with his colleagues. The radio is playing over a speaker and Tom and other co-workers poke fun at a colleague singing along badly.
Tom on a date
Tom takes his girlfriend Sarah on a date. Its only a cafe rather than a fancy restaurant but we see a softer side of Tom as he flirts with Sarah.
Five-a-side with mates
We see Tom playing a game of football with his mates (the same 5 from the pub). They are clearly not very good but are enjoying themselves nonetheless)
Tom at the football
We see Tom watching his local football team. He is sat in the stands with his grandad and his younger brother. They chat away and later we see them celebrating when his team scores.
Stage 3- downfall
Stage 3 begins with Tom going out to celebrate his friend’s birthday, like we all do. He has a few too many but nothing outrageous. He gets a taxi home. The next day, Tom drives to work as normal, but is pulled over the police because of a faulty break light. Tom is breathalysed and is over the limit. He is arrested.
Subsequently, we see his life fall apart. He has to go to court. He loses his licence. He loses his job. He loses his girlfriend. All because of one mistake. He didn’t think he was so drunk and perceived it to be safe to drive the short journey to work.
Developing on the social media usage established in Stage 2, Stage 3 sees Tom’s social media pages reflect his inner emotions, complementing the TV ads which focus more on the story of the fallout from his arrest.
In addition to this, ‘Tom’ would do several live streams on Facebook Live or on Periscope, where he expresses his regret, embarrassment and frustration. People are able to put questions to him live, and he will respond in a way that continues to impart the overall message of the campaign; that everybody is just one stupid mistake away from being a drink driver.
Other examples of ‘fallout’ adverts could include:
-Tom calling his girlfriend to tell her
-Release from custody and argument with girlfriend
-Tom losing his job
-His girlfriend leaves him
-He is forced to sell his house and his car because he can no longer afford it (due to job loss)
After the main campaign has finished, we continue to see small glimpses into Tom’s life throughout the year, showing how his life continues to be effected by his decision to drive that morning.