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Office of Traffic Safety

Public Relations, Advertising, and Marketing Program

The driving forces behind OTS’s marketing and public relations programs are information, engagement and communication. We first must engage the public’s interest, to bring them in and open them up to be receptive to communication. We do this through multiple and continuous earned media, active outreach, paid media, and social media connections to the public. After they are engaged, effectively communicating the importance of the life-saving benefits of traffic safety is paramount. By first raising public awareness, followed by social norming, OTS is able to contribute a significant positive change in traffic safety behavior and culture over time. Through public awareness and social norming programs such as “Click It or Ticket,” “Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving,” “DDVIP,” and “Silence the Distraction,” often conducted in conjunction with enhanced law enforcement at the local level, this traffic safety mission was successfully accomplished. OTS continues to be a primary resource for the public, researchers and the press for traffic safety information, best practices, statistics and linkage to other resources. The increase and expanding use of social media is allowing us to reach new members of targeted audiences. OTS currently has very successful and dynamic presences on Facebook and Twitter, with reaches into YouTube and Instagram. With the continued collaboration of and partnership with other agencies, private sector businesses, community organizations, and law enforcement agencies, the vision of OTS will continue in the successful extension of the message of traffic safety to the people of California.

PUBLIC RELATIONS, ADVERTISING, AND MARKETING PROGRAM AREA GOALS

  • OTS Marketing and Public Affairs supports the OTS mission of reducing deaths, injuries, and economic losses resulting from traffic crashes by creating and implementing comprehensive public awareness programs designed to improve and encourage safe driving practices statewide. In addition, these efforts are intended to make safe driving the behavior of choice for all Californians, including at-risk and under-served communities. OTS recognizes the challenge of reaching a diverse and widespread population of over 38 million people, including 24 million licensed drivers, and creates its public awareness efforts to best and most effectively reach them. OTS strives to be the primary source of traffic safety information, of all forms, for the news and information media.

2015 PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

Holiday DUI Crackdown Campaign

In FFY 2015, OTS updated from its previous DDVIP (Designated Driver Very Important Person) limited feature web based app to a full featured mobile app. As a way to generate buzz for the app and DDVIP campaign, OTS worked alongside its partner, iHeart Media, to promote the programs at major concerts in Los Angeles and Sacramento, and officially unveiled the app at a press conference launch in tandem with the annual December DUI Crackdown.

The campaign received a great deal of interaction and media coverage which exposed the message of safe and sober driving on a statewide level. The app obtained nearly 9,000 downloads in the time leading up to, during, and immediately following the campaign events in December. The app garnered an additional 9,000 downloads for a total of 18,000 downloads by the end of FFY 2015.

Distracted Driving
OTS changed the theme and messaging for its distracted driving campaign effort to “Silence the Distraction,” to get drivers to turn off, put out of reach, or at least silence their cell phones while driving. The April, full month television, radio, and internet paid media campaign generated more than 125 million impressions and nearly $3.1 million in added value.

The campaign mounted a tour of 11 community college campuses throughout California with the goal of increasing public awareness about the dangers of distracted driving. Using text message “emoji”-filled collateral and “lingo” associated with text messaging to target teens and young adults, OTS simulated distracted driving in a safe and age-relevant way by holding timed basketball shooting contests while participants simultaneously sent and received text messages on hand held devices. Additionally, 24 campaign banners were displayed in movie theatres statewide to continue to promote campaign messaging. The campaign received a great deal of interaction and media coverage which exposed the message of safe and distraction-free driving on a statewide level. Coverage of the events resulted in additional earned media in the Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Fresno areas.