Sunday, December 27, 2009

Thinking of Drinking and Driving? Deflate the Elephant!

Recently launched by the LCBO (Liquor Licensing Board of Ontario) the message is pretty clear.

If you are thinking of drinking and driving it's like the elephant in the room... or the 500lb gorilla or you name the object you feel most uncomfortable with and we all want to ignore.

I spend most of my time trying to teach the brilliance of a great concept. This concept is as solid as it gets. Teaching the idea of understanding your audience, your client and the message that connects them is never easy.

One of the things I am most proud of bringing to my advertising program was partnerships with industry agencies and the future AdLanders in our classes. Many of these partners have brought "live" briefs to our students as case studies for "experiential" and incredibly valuable learning opportunities. 

Two years ago DueNorth Communications brought to our freshman class one of their clients, the LCBO and the Social Responsibility Campaign. The brief was to create a full integrated campaign that would address the issue that are concern all of society, "Responsible Drinking" without using the same old themes that have become immune to most of the audience. 

Its aim is to help people feel more comfortable about intervening when friends and family are at risk of driving drunk. 

Audience Insight: We need to become more involved in the responsibility of our drinking patterns, those of our friends and those who can be effected by ones drinking. "We know it's wrong to over consume and drive", but... (insert own conclusion).

Client Insight: We are the only legal retailer/distributor of wine, spirits and beer in the province of Ontario. In addition we are the agency responsible for all licensing of establishments, events and celebrations in the province. The LCBO is the root of all sales and are simple a service.

Concept: Bring the conversation back to the audience, if you see someone over consume make the conversation start itself... enter the metaphor: "It's the elephant/gorilla in the room", you know it's there, you want to ignore it, but it won't go away unless there is an intervention.

The great part of this story is the that freshman class was right on the "sweet spot". Simple, yet smart... not on the scale and depth of what DueNorth created for their client the LCBO that launched in early December with a full scale integrated advertising campaign with in-store, traditional media and ambient executions. The video below is from the campaign launch of the $1.6-million campaign that will see ads airing on TV and running in magazines until the new year. 

Obviously there is no direct connection to the simplistic idea conceived by a group of first semester students and the fully detailed integrated campaign "Deflate the Elephant" LCBO campaign, that was ultimately the original creative done by Mike Jones and Dave Pigeon of DueNorth under Creative Director Karen Howe. The campaign offers many innovative ideas such as the website that has also been launched,, where people can learn tips and strategies for being a responsible host. The ads a very clear and very simple... the message is not lost. I take my hat of DueNorth.

In addition, I must note proudly that Dave Pigeon is also Seneca College Creative Advertising Grad from 2002 long before the program had these tremendous opportunities granted to us by various agencies.

Ahhhh, the future is truly bright when opportunity are presented to young AdLanders. Proof, they are young, they are smart and can think like they belong... even as early as their first semester.

I again remain very thankful to DueNorth and the many other agencies that bring "real world" learning opportunities to these freash young AdLanders. 

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