The Best Drink Driving Social Media Campaign Ever

If someone told you about a heartwarming drink driving YouTube video, you probably would laugh at them and rightly so. Normally the people behind these initiatives, like the RSA in Ireland, attempt to scare us from driving under the influence of alcohol by depicting crash scenes and quoting shocking statistics about road deaths - but not this time. 

Instead Budweiser and advertising agency Momentum did something different. They played on drivers emotions using a cute labrador puppy in the good old Budweiser fashion!

This Drink Driving Video Is Brilliant - Budweiser "Friends Are Waiting."

The video did not air on television, it was originally posted on YouTube and shared on other social media sites. Budweiser created a mini social media campaign after the release of the video on YouTube and it was extremely successful! 

The positive social media response of the campaign was outstanding:

  • YouTube: 20,000,000+ views and counting
  • Facebook: 87,819 Likes; 108,727 Shares
  • The video went viral and was featured on AdAge, BuzzFeed, Mashable, Huffington Post and more.
Twitter Post

How and why did Budweiser do this? 

Below is my analysis of the social media campaign video (purely my opinion, I have not gained any insights from Budweiser.)

Description of Campaign:
The Budweiser 'Friends Are Waiting’ campaign, is an emotional social media marketing campaign that promotes road safety as well as the drinking of Budweiser. The video pulls on the audiences heart strings as it shows a broken hearted labrador whose owner never came home after a night of drinking Budweiser. Similarly, the other online aspects of the campaign also use the labrador to play with the target audiences emotions. The campaign contains a clear message; drink Budweiser but don’t drink and drive. The campaign was launched to promote Budweiser’s Global Beer Responsible Day. The campaign instantly went viral, the video receiving over ten million views online within a number of days after.

Target Description:
The target audience of the campaign is young people aged between 21 and 30 years of age, particularly men of that age. The campaign targets both new and existing Budweiser customers.

The video features a group of young people, mainly men, in their twenties throughout its entirety. Similarly, the banner on the Budweiser’s website also portrays a man in his twenties.

Budweiser Website

Budweiser Website

Target Problem:
The consumers target problem is that after drinking alcohol they may have the desire to drive home.

The video shows the dogs owner carrying bottles of Budweiser while walking towards a car with his friends. Later a car's headlights flash past but the owner never comes home.

Key Insight/Brand Message:
The key insight of the campaign is that Budweiser cares about its customers and their friends. It seeks to portray itself as a sensible brand that looks out for its customers. The campaign helps the company to for fill its corporate social responsibility and makes them appear responsible and not just out to make money.

In the closing sequence the video displays the text “Make a plan to make it home, your friends are counting on you - #FriendsAreWaiting”. It also uses the word “we”, to show that Budweiser are part of helping to get their customers home - together they and the target can change things. The social media aspect of the campaign also uses the same slogan “#FriendsAreWaiting” this plays on the targets emotions who respect and look up their friends.

The secondary insight is that young, trendy people who have lots of friends drink Budweiser.

The video shows the main actor, a young male Budweiser drinker who is popular; surrounded by his trendy, sensible friends, relaxing by the water, having fun at a barbecue and drinking Budweiser.

What they want the targets to do:
The video wants the target to drink Budweiser but be safe and not drink and drive. The campaign is not like typical drink driving campaigns that feature a car accident or shocking accident statistics. Instead, it looks to the targets values, such as their friends and dependents portrayed by the labrador in the campaign and how they would feel if something should happen to them. 

In the video time passes and the dogs owner does not return after leaving with the Budweiser. The music slows, the labrador is heard crying as it sits by the door and text on the screen reads “For some, the waiting never ended”. The audience can only conclude that something has happened the dogs owner and he will not return. It scares the target into thinking of the consequences of drinking and driving. In the event advertisement although it seeks more so to inform consumers about Budweiser's Global Beer Responsible Day the labrador is once again seen waiting for its owner.

Positioning Statement:
The positioning statement is that sensible people who value friends and life drink Budweiser. 

The text in the campaign “Your friends are counting on you” and in the social media “You’ve got friends waiting for you”, accurately portrays this positioning statement that those who drink Budweiser value friendship. In the final moments of the video the dogs owner arrives home, apologises to his dog and says “I decided I shouldn't drive home last night, I stayed at Dave’s”. This insinuates that sensible people drink Budweiser and get home safe. This ties in with the overall key insight of the brand appearing responsible.

The campaign seeks to emotionally engage the consumer. Like previous Budweiser commercials, a labrador puppy is used to gain an emotional response from the consumer. The target will have a positive emotional response to the puppy that will influence them in their future beer buying decision and their choice of whether or not to drink and drive.

The labrador is seen in almost every shot of the video as well as in social media images and on the website. In the video the target watches it grow up into and adult labrador. The target becomes emotionally attached to not only the dog but also the relationship between it and its owner. A question that will cross almost all consumers minds later in the video is; should anything happen the owner what will happen to the dog. It makes the target think of how their decision to drink and drive will influence those in their lives. This hidden message is reinforced by “#FriendsAreWaiting” and the Budweiser logo in the last image of the video and on social media.

What are your thoughts on this social media campaign? Do you like it as much as I do? Share your views in the comment section below or tweet @oconnorpadraig