In Alaska, as in many colder climate states, the months from May to September are referred to as 'construction season', since most road construction must be conducted while the ground isn't frozen. The high volume of road construction in such a short period of time means crews work around the clock, and the public must adjust driving habits to accommodate the corresponding traffic impacts. Research indicates that drivers fail to pay enough attention in road construction zones due to distracted driving, stress and rushed driving, resulting in more than 40,000 injuries in work zones each year. The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) recognized the risk its road construction workers faced each day. It needed a way to promote worker safety and raise awareness among the driving public to mitigate the high risks for workers and drivers.

Focusing on the Solution

Spawn's insight was that drivers needed a compelling reason to pay attention and use caution in construction zones. We knew it was important to connect through something personal - something with heart - instead of just another fear tactic (threatening tickets and fines for breaking the law). We believe that our audience had a common connection to the men and women who risked their lives everyday when they went to work at road construction sites. These workers are real people, friends and neighbors with families and loved ones to come home to safely each night. We also knew that our audience overlooked this truth as they rushed through construction zones (distracted by kids, the phone, even emails).

Giving People a Reason to Care

Spawn decided that the best way to effectively connect with our audience and increase safe driving habits was to highlight real Alaskan construction workers in cherished moments with their families, bringing to light what's at risk when drivers are negligent or reckless in construction zones. It was clear that the campaign demanded high quality photography in order to effectively tug at hearts. We featured real Alaskan project engineers - one greeting her daughter after a ballet lesson, another roughhousing with his boys - and many other scenes of parents with their kids. The advertising put in context the dangers these workers faced on a road construction site each day, seen through the lens of a parent's touching relationship with his/her children. The ads reminded our audience that construction was not just an inconvenient delay, but one with real human beings at risk. Ultimately we believed that this would make drivers more attentive and careful in construction zones.

Results: Inspiring a Powerful Awareness

Our strategy emphasizing the humanity behind road construction projects was a new message for Alaska DOT&PF that worked. In a post campaign survey, 75% of respondents recalled the campaign, an exceptionally high response given the 3-month campaign timeframe. Our media reached 80 percent of our audience an average of 11 times, surpassing planned goals. The digital campaign generated 3.2 million impressions. And DOT&PF projects in Southcentral Alaska had zero deaths during the construction season - the most important result of all.

American Marketing Association - Alaska Chapter

Prism Award

Advocacy Campaign of the Year