New graphic ad campaign targets distracted driving

(CBS News) A new multi-million dollar ad buy is meant to shock and scare drivers into changing their behavior.

It's a tactic that works.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, studies in California, New York, and Delaware showed ad campaigns, combined with increased enforcement, caused hand-held phone use to drop by a third. The reductions were smaller in communities without the ad campaign.

The drunken driving ad combines the threat of punishment with humiliation.

American University professor Leonard Steinhorn says the most effective campaigns use shame, embarrassment, or humor rather than just fear and threats.

"De-legitimize the behavior. Make it seem like by doing that, people look at you and wonder, 'Where are you coming from?'" he explains.

In Australia, the "pinkie" campaign poked fun at men who speed by embarrassing them with a physical gesture that, in Australia, means a man is overcompensating for what he lacks.

The tag line: "Speeding. No one thinks big of you."

It's now a case study professor Steinhorn uses in his class.

"A far better approach is to make it seem embarrassing or unintelligent or something that people do that you don't want to be associated with, that it's sort of a stupid behavior," he says.

Whether this new, graphic, distracted-driving campaign can have that level of success will depend on how many get the message not to send one.


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment