June 14, 2012
A Morningside College class project to create an advertising campaign against drunk driving has turned into a real effort to save lives. The campaign recently got attention at the state level, receiving funding to expand its reach.
Back in the spring of 2010, Dr. Pam Mickelson, professor of business administration, challenged her advertising class to develop a marketing campaign to support a good cause. The students settled on the topic of drinking and driving, and then worked in small groups to explore different approaches. In the end, they brought together their best ideas to create “Sober Driving Saves: Live to Have Fun Again.”
The campaign features vanity license plates with messages like “SBRDRVR,” “KEYZPLZ” and “DUIKILS” that were created by Cara Anderson, a 2011 graduate, in a graphic design course the previous semester taught by art instructor John Kolbo. It also shares facts about drunk-driving deaths, the amount of alcohol in a party cup and the cost of an OWI. It reaches people through everything from posters and table tents to key chains, air fresheners and ice scrapers.
Throughout the class, students worked with professionals who deal with substance abuse issues on campus and in the community. These professionals were so impressed by the final product that they provided funding to help the students implement the campaign at Morningside College and at local bars. They also helped the students get their message up on three billboards in Sioux City.
Last fall Anderson went with Mickelson to Des Moines to present the campaign to the Iowa Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau (GTSB). They were awarded $8,000 to take the campaign to 10 colleges and universities around the state, and they were invited to present at the annual traffic safety conference in April. Police officers supporting the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls and St. Ambrose University in Davenport were among the first to seek campaign materials. Along with Anderson, other alumni and students continuing to help with this project are Katie Brannen and Heidi Lieber, both 2011 graduates, and students Kelsey Martin and Becca Hansen.
“This program has the potential to reach thousands of college students throughout Iowa delivering a very serious and life-saving message,” said Mick Mulhern, program administrator/youth coordinator for the GTSB.