New Budweiser campaign backed by ground-breaking research on designated drivers

Jul 29, 2013, 09:00 ET from BUDWEISER

Cutting edge ad ushers in new era in the fight against drinking and driving

TORONTO, July 29, 2013 /CNW/ - There has been a significant shift in the way today's young people view - and appreciate - designated drivers compared to a generation ago, according to new research† from Ipsos Reid that examines the social involvement and acceptance of young adult designated drivers in Canada.

Sponsored by Budweiser as part of the launch of its new digital ad campaign that celebrates and thanks the designated driver, the survey revealed that designated driving amongst young adults (aged legal drinking age to 34) is becoming common practice. In fact, the majority have either volunteered to be a designated driver (78%) or have been a passenger in a DD's vehicle (74%) in the past three years.

With more than 30 years of efforts and campaigns extolling the importance of designated driving, the results indicate that volunteering to be the DD or having a friend commit to doing so has gone from concept to action.

"This landmark piece of research revealed that designated driving is evolving as a social norm. We're at the stage where those of legal drinking age to 34 years old are making plans to get home safely and the designated driver is a key piece of the puzzle," said John Wright, Senior Vice President, Ipsos Reid. "This is the first time in our research that we've seen a strong congruency of feelings between designated drivers and passengers - there is a strong, shared empathy and support for the concept of designated driving."

Key highlights from the survey include:

From the Designated Drivers

  • Of the 78% of respondents who have been designated drivers over the past three years, they've done so an average of 19.3 times
  • 93% agree (59% strongly agree; 34% somewhat agree) that they want to protect their friends by being a designated driver
  • 87% agree (44% strongly agree; 43% somewhat agree) that when they are a designated driver it's because they want to protect their community
  • Only 55% of respondents agree that designated drivers get enough credit for the service they perform

"Does this mean the problem of drinking and driving has been effectively solved? Unfortunately not," said Wright. "But what it does indicate is that there has been a major shift over the past generation in the way young people view designated driving - from something they 'should' do to something the majority do as a matter of course and public safety."

What young adults had to say

  • 93% agree (50% strongly agree; 42% somewhat agree) that our communities need more designated drivers
  • 89% agree (45% strongly agree; 44% somewhat agree) that designated drivers make a difference in their community, similar to those who volunteer to clean up a local park or help out a food bank
  • 85% agree (39% strongly agree; 47% somewhat agree) that if designated drivers got more credit for what they do, more people would volunteer to be one

Budweiser launches new 'Thank You Designated Driver' ad

Reflecting the views of today's young adults, Budweiser has launched a new digital ad campaign leading into the August long weekend that thanks and celebrates the designated driver. The spot - aimed at those of legal drinking age to 34 years old - builds on a groundswell of public opinion that designated drivers make an important contribution to the safety of their communities and deserve greater, positive recognition.

Thank You Designated Drivers features a real-life designated driver who was surprised with a "thank you" tribute at a bar during a night out with his friends. The ad emphasizes the important role of the DD and the positive impact of designated drivers on their community.

"Budweiser's 'Thank You Designated Drivers' spot takes an entirely new and highly creative approach to the fight against drinking and driving with a positive, celebratory message," said Andrew Oosterhuis, brand manager, Budweiser. "Budweiser is building on the desire of Canadians to end drinking and driving. We know that people are motivated to do the right thing, and we want to recognize them for taking personal responsibility to volunteer as the DD and help keep our communities safe."

Awareness resulting from a variety of designated driver programs and other initiatives has contributed to a decrease in alcohol related impaired driving in Canada. Based on information from Statistics Canada, the rate of such incidents declined 56% between 1986 and 2011. However, Canadians still regard drinking and driving as a priority concern.

"Designated drivers protect more than the lives of the friends and family members who are their passengers - they help keep the roads safe for everyone. Canadians are increasingly recognizing that designated drivers make a valuable contribution and deserve to be celebrated as much as any other volunteer," said Oosterhuis.

To view the Thank You Designated Drivers spot now, visit:

† 'Designated Driving: A New Generation Comes of Age' was conducted by Ipsos Reid between July 5 - 15, 2013 on behalf of Labatt Breweries of Canada. For this survey, a sample of 1,318 Canadians (1,014 of whom have a valid driver's license) between the ages of 18/19-34 (depending on legal drinking age within a particular province) were interviewed online by Ipsos' Canadian online panel.  Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online surveys is measured using a credibility interval.  In this case, the survey is accurate to within +/- 3.1 percentage points had all Canadians, ages 18/19-34, been surveyed, and to within +/- 3.5 percentage points had all licensed Canadians in this sample universe been surveyed. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.
A designated driver is defined as the person in a group who has been designated as the one who will abstain from drinking alcohol so that he/she can drive companions home safely.

Editor's Note:  Artwork available upon request