Life Saving Campaigns

For more than a decade, UM leadership has generated extensive and positive media coverage for a variety of highway safety clients, working to reduce drunk driving, aggressive driving and pedestrian crashes.

A special challenge of perennial safety campaigns is enticing the media to cover issues that are not new and that the public already understands: Speed kills, drunk driving is dangerous and pedestrians are vulnerable. By creating innovative and interactive demonstrations of the dangers of unsafe driving, UM has enjoyed great success in resonating with the media and public.

A prime example was a highly-realistic demonstration of the catastrophic effects of aggressive driving. We staged a child mann

equin crossing a neighborhood street that was approached by a vehicle. With “Bobby” (our child dummy’s “name” to personalize the issue) positioned in the middle of a crosswalk, our demonstration vehicle hit the brakes at precisely the same location during two runs at different speeds. Bobby was unharmed when the vehicle braked at 25 mph (the posted speed limit), but was hit hard and likely suffered fatal injuries when the vehicle braked at 35 mph.

While the visual spectacle of a “child” being struck by a car was alarmingly newsworthy, the associated audio – the screeching of tires, the thump of Bobby’s torso being struck, the sound of his leg snapping – was just as visceral. Click here for WTOP’s story.

Other creative UM team executions include:

  • Creating and performing as superheroes Soberman and Soberwoman to encourage bar-goers to plan alternatives to drin
    king and driving. Arriving at bar districts in sirens-and-lights police motorcades, our costumed crime-fighters engaged bar-goers over PA systems and then mingled with partiers, quizzing them on how they were getting home and rewarding those with a safe plan. Our intrepid heroes used humor and drama to engage would-be drunk in this behavioral change initiative. Click here for a FOX-5 profile of Soberman and here for a YouTube video of Soberwoman’s escapades
  • Driving a car off a cliff and having it flip down a hillside with an adult dummy inside – equipped with cameras to show the effects – to demonstrate the effects of speeding/aggressive driving
  • Staging a mock sobriety checkpoint outside a jail and escorting media to follow a perpetrator though the booking process – finger printing, mug shot, booking – to vividly demonstrate the severe consequences of a DUI to the “it-can’t-happen-to-me” 18-34-old male campaign audience
  • Inviting media to actual night-time sobriety checkpoints, some of which have involved dramatic police chases of individuals trying to escape the checkpoints
  • Staging a zombie walk in which a group of individuals whose eyes were fixed on their phones “lurched” (in leg-dragging zombie fashion) across a busy Georgetown street to vividly demonstrate the dangers of pedestrians failing to pay attention to traffic

We succeed by intimately knowing how to deliver what the media needs – dramatic narrative, captivating personal stories, interesting trend data, compelling visuals and more – to choreograph events that turn clients’ issues into must-cover news.