GMMB Response to WRAP

Contact: Will Taliaferro,

Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP)

From 2018 to 2023, GMMB and Lake Research Partners (LRP) worked with the Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP) and the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles on the statewide Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign—formerly known as Checkpoint Strikeforce. The research-based public awareness campaign seeks to prevent, deter, and reduce drunk driving incidents in Virginia by targeting the high-risk audience of men ages 21-35 with messages about DUI enforcement, the risks of drinking and driving, and the importance of planning a safe ride home.

The Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign is driven by research. Each year, LRP fielded a pre- and post-campaign survey among 600 young men ages 21-35 who have a driver’s license in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The survey featured measurable questions on perceptions of drinking and driving, campaign recall, and information consumption. Survey results and focus group insights from 2015 and 2023 played an integral role in how the campaign evolved over the years.

GMMB developed the Act Like It campaign based on two primary insights uncovered by LRP in 2015 in audience focus groups: 1) young men view drunk driving as immature, irresponsible behavior inconsistent with how they see themselves; and 2) humor is an effective messaging tool for young men. The campaign features a ‘man-baby’ character who demonstrates how immature and irresponsible it is to consider drinking and driving. Supporting characters including friends, his girlfriend, and a police officer guide the man-baby in the right direction, reminding young men, “if you’re old enough to drink, Act Like It” and get a safe ride home. Year-over-year, we adapted the campaign to fit the changing landscape, factoring in COVID-19 challenges, perceptions of law enforcement and the popularity of ride-share services.

To reach our audiences of both English and Spanish-speaking young men, we deployed the campaign message through the surround-sound tactics of paid, earned, and social media and community partnerships. GMMB’s paid media team developed a digital-first paid media strategy to meet our audiences where they spend their time: on social media, dating, and gaming apps and on TV and audio streaming platforms. We supplemented digital tactics with out-of-home placements in restaurants and bars, liquor stores, and concert and sports venues, where the messaging is most timely and relevant. GMMB leveraged our relationships with paid media vendors to deliver targeted added value for WRAP across the media buy.

LRP’s annual audience surveys show that community leaders like doctors, government officials, and law enforcement are trusted sources for our audiences. GMMB worked with WRAP and Virginia to plan and execute annual launch events, leveraging partnerships with the Virginia Governor’s Office, the Virginia State Police, and VCU Health in Richmond to amplify campaign messaging. We coordinated on event logistics with venues and partners, developed talking points for campaign spokespeople, and created campaign collateral to showcase the creative in person.

Ahead of key campaign dates around Labor Day and the winter holidays, we conducted successful outreach to media outlets across the state to secure broadcast, digital, and print coverage of events and the campaign message. We worked with radio partners to conduct radio media tours and to distribute audio news releases, featuring campaign spokespeople from WRAP, the DMV, and the Governor’s Office. We also developed a social toolkit, featuring graphics, messages tailored for social media, and the #ActLikeItVA hashtag, to encourage partners to amplify campaign messages on their own social channels throughout key enforcement dates.

GMMB secured an estimated total of 249 million paid impressions and a reach of 308 million audience members through earned tactics for WRAP. Annual survey results from LRP show that campaign recall for Act Like It has more than doubled since 2020 (from 41% to 87%) and those who recall the campaign were 12 points more likely than those who didn’t to plan a safe ride home “often.”