CAA reminds Gen Z that they should do anything but drive after consuming edibles (even pet a blankie)

Who: One Twenty Three West and CAA, with Revolver Films, Cycle Media and Pirate for sound. Media by OMD.

What: “Do anything but drive,” a new campaign reminding Gen Z drivers why they shouldn’t drive high, with a specific focus on edibles. One Twenty Three West won the CAA account last fall, after “Role Reversal,” a campaign developed for the BCAA, got picked up by associations across the country.

When & Where: The campaign launched Sept. 14, running nationally through the rest of the year. Media vehicles include TV and paid social, with an emphasis on media channels that skew young, such as Twitch.

Why: Because high driving is a key safety issue for CAA, and while members of Gen Z tend to be socially conscious and understand the dangers of driving drunk, they often don’t make the same connection when it comes to cannabis and edibles.

According to new research, 20% of Canadians 18-24 say they have either driven high or been in a vehicle with a high driver. Edibles compound the issue because it takes longer for their effects to be felt and they last longer.

“[Edibles] really kind of turn up the dial on the danger of getting behind the wheel,” says One Twenty Three West creative director Kate Roland. “We really need to get them thinking that if they use edibles, it’s kind of the same thing as drinking, and that they need to plan ahead.”

How: The campaign is built around three spots (two :30s and a :15), each featuring someone who has taken an edible and is now engaged in an activity other than driving. Emma, for example, has put on her friend’s dress and is staring at herself in the mirror, while Jessie chose to pet his friend’s dog (actually a blanket) and a paranoid Jake thinks he’s being followed by the driver from his ridesharing service.

All of the spots end with the super “If you do edibles….” accompanied by a scrolling list of the various things people can do while high (party, binge watch, text, eat, game, chill, etc.) before ending with the phrase “do anything but drive.”

The campaign brief was to deliver a message about how edibles affect users without resorting to fear tactics, says Roland. Research showed that Gen Z’s tend to tune out messages highlighting the dangers and potential negative consequences of using cannabis, so it was important to find a more relatable way to communicate the message.

All of the ads are bathed in a gauzy, colourful light that Roland says is specifically designed to mimic the ethereal feeling of being high. “We really wanted to evoke that feeling of being on an edible, but didn’t want to take it too far,” she says.

And we quote: “In our campaign we try to take a light-hearted approach to reality, which is that cannabis edibles are now legal and some young people will take them.” — Ian Jack, vice president of public affairs, CAA.

Chris Powell