Project Roadblock, TVB and the Ad Council celebrate 15 years of saving lives

To make American roads safer during the holiday season, the Television Bureau of Advertising (TVB) and the Ad Council have introduced the 15th annual ‘Project Roadblock’ anti-drinking and driving effort, the largest annual TV station-supported initiative of a single public service campaign.

Under the ‘Project Roadblock’ banner, local broadcast TV stations donate airtime to support the national ‘Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving’ public service advertising (PSA) campaign from the Ad Council and the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Since 2004, local broadcast TV stations have participated in ‘Project Roadblock’ by airing Buzzed Driving Prevention PSAs between December 26 and 31, including a simultaneous airing on New Year’s Eve at 10pm local time. To date, local broadcast TV stations across the nation have donated over $66m in media to support this effort, including $7.9m in 2017 alone.

“The dedication local broadcast TV stations show to this lifesaving message every year is truly remarkable,” said Lisa Sherman, president and chief executive officer of the Ad Council. “We’re so proud to celebrate 15 years of Project Roadblock and keeping our communities and roads safe during the holidays.”

This year’s effort uses some humor to get the point across. In ‘Holiday Party,’ a man waits with drink in hand for the valet to bring his car. As he stands, a woman joins him, who he recognizes as “Christina from accounting.” The conversation then gets weird, as the man regales the woman with his breakup with a similarly named woman. As she flees in disgust, another co-worker comes over and chides him for being buzzed and oversharing. The man then wises up and uses his phone to call a car rather than risk driving in his condition.

Participating stations will exclusively debut the new TV spot, created pro bono by media and creative agency OMD and production company HYFN. It’s the first in a series of seasonal PSAs created by OMD to be released throughout the year, all of which end with the tagline “Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving,” reminding drivers to find a safe way to get home instead of getting behind the wheel.

“The holiday season should be one of the happiest times of the year, but when drinking and driving mix, it turns into one of the deadliest ones,” said NHTSA deputy administrator Heidi King. “For 15 years, Project Roadblock has been spreading the message through donated airtime on TV stations across the country that Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving, helping us ensure Americans have a safe season on the roads.”

In recognition of Project Roadblock’s 15th anniversary, the Ad Council and TVB are conducting additional outreach to TV stations in the 15 states that accounted for nearly two-thirds (65%) of all alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in 2017: Texas, California, Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Michigan, New York, Arizona, Alabama, Missouri and Tennessee.

“Local broadcast TV stations strive to provide integral news and lifesaving information to their communities every day,” said Steve Lanzano, president and chief executive of TVB. “Proudly participating in Project Roadblock since its inception 15 years ago, local broadcasters have increased awareness of this critical initiative and helped make roads safer across the United States during the holidays.”

Over 1,000 local broadcast TV stations from all 50 states have already pledged their support for Project Roadblock 2018.

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