CAA’s poppy distracted driving campaign

Who: The Canadian Automobile Association, with One Twenty Three West for strategy and creative, Colossale for production (Kid. Studio directing), Cult Nation for audio.

What: A new distracted driving awareness campaign, “Do it All Before You Drive.”

When & Where: The campaign is in market now, running across online video and social media.

Why: Drivers being distracted by technology remains a major safety issue on Canadian roads. CAA data shows that nearly half (47%) of Canadians have typed out or used the voice memo feature on their phone to send a message while driving, and another 47% have programmed a destination on their GPS or mobile device. According to the CAA, drivers who are distracted are eight times likelier to be in a crash or near-crash event than non-distracted drivers, and four times more likely to get in an accident.

How: Much of the advertising in the road safety category tends to focus on the negative implications of distracted driving, driving while drunk/high etc. That typically means lots of carnage, and twisted metal, and/or shots of mangled bodies and grieving families.

This campaign, though, takes a decidedly sunny approach to solving the problem, using an ear-worm of a song that reminds people to perform all of the routine things they often do while driving—setting a destination on the GPS, adjusting the temperature and/or seat controls, finishing a burger, or personal grooming, etc. —before they actually set off on the road.

The team of Colossale and Kid. Studio have previously shot music videos for the likes of the Drake, Post Malone, and The Chainsmokers, while Cult Nation helped set the lyrics to a poppy, upbeat song that wouldn’t sound out of place in a club.

“We wanted the phrase ‘Do it all before you drive’ to stick in people’s heads, and be super memorable… Something people would remember when they start up their cars,” associate creative director Gerardo Agbuya. Added ACD Jesse Wilks: “I’ve heard the song maybe a thousand times at this point and I’m not even sick of it.”

Social ads feature messages like “Adjust every setting before you start jetting,” and “Get your safety features down and text your ma’ something profound.”

And we quote: “We know from past work that positive reinforcement works a lot better than wagging our fingers and saying don’t do this or don’t do that. And the nature of distractions has evolved with vehicles. It’s not just the phone anymore. It’s the massive dashboard screens, it’s all the new features, it’s everything in the car.” — Ian Jack, vice-president of public affairs, CAA National


Chris Powell