Drink Driving

Designated driver campaigns

Since the first designated driver campaign was run in Belgium in 1995, the concept has spread across Europe and then across the rest of the globe. The simple concept behind the initiative is that groups of people decide, before going out, who the designated driver is in their group. That designated driver is committing to not drinking and taking on the responsibility for ensuring the friends get home safely. Whilst the basic concept is simple the campaigns have developed into sophisticated initiatives, using different techniques to pass on the message against driving and employing increasingly sophisticated means to keep the message fresh, effective, understood and followed by consumers.


The BOB campaign in Belgium was the first ever designated driver campaign and became the template for such campaigns across the rest of Europe and the world. It is today a partnership of the Belgian Brewers with the Belgian Road Safety Institute (BIVV/IBSR) and Assuralia, the insurers. The BOB campaign’s main message is to always have a designated driver. It has been replicated in 16 other European countries with support from the European Commission. The campaign has been constantly updated over the years and is well represented on social networks, for example Twitter. It has also evolved from a seasonal campaign to a longer running campaign, not just over the summer and the New Year period but also throughout the year. There are also regular efforts to keep the campaign fresh and impactful. The 2012 Christmas campaign featured the message “3 bises pour BOB” (“3 kisses for BOB”) and was displayed along highways as well as on television. A special “BOB kit” was sent to companies giving helpful tips for the safe return of their employees after a New Year’s reception or company party. In 2014 the campaign built on the new verb “bobber”/”bobben” (“to BOB”), meaning ‘agreeing before you go out who will bring the rest home safely’, with celebrities fronting the campaign and the slogan “Drinking and driving. Not funny!”

BOB campaign in Belgium was the first ever designated driver campaign  BOB campaign in Belgium was the first ever designated driver campaign


In the Netherlands the BOB campaign is supported by Dutch brewers and the other producers, in co-operation with the Netherlands Safe Traffic Organisation, Ministries of Transport and Health, Welfare and Sport, Royal HORECA Netherlands, NIGZ (Health Institute), NOC * NSF and Team Alert. In 2012, the campaign was extended to sports canteens in which the sport associations are also involved and supported by a television commercial and other road side messages. At the end of 2012 another new element was the targeting of middle aged people visiting friends and relatives at home, delivering the message that they too should organise a BOB before they leave.


In 2014, 176 alcohol checks took place all over the Netherlands, with 37,000 breath tests, 28,000 key chains distributed, and 105,388 contact moments with drivers. BOB teams were present on 161 days at events, leading to 101,883 breath tests being taken. Following its Facebook launch at the end of 2012, in 2014 BOB on Facebook had already reached 18,000 likes compared to 15,800 in 2013.

BOB campaign in Belgium was the first ever designated driver campaign  BOB campaign in Belgium was the first ever designated driver campaign  BOB campaign in Belgium was the first ever designated driver campaign


“Pass the Wheel When You Drink” is a campaign of the Romanian brewers association, Berarii Romaniei recommending drivers not to drive after drinking alcohol. It is run in co-operation with the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Road Traffic Police Authority within the General Police Inspectorate of Romania and the National Audiovisual Council. In 2012, the new media partner was a well-known Romanian radio station and the idea was that using a pair of alcohol goggles five DJ’s from the radio station were invited to try to drive a car. The “experiment” was shared with their fans during their radio shows or on Facebook pages. The “experiment” was also filmed and posted on the Facebook page “Iubesc berea”. In 2013, with the same concept and partners, TV was used to promote the campaign, based on a media plan. The spot was a collage made of previous years’ campaigns. In this way, there were 1,119 broadcasts on the main Romanian TV stations, between December 2013 and January 2014. In 2014, an animated TV ad was developed targeting drivers between 18 – 35 years of age. The ad pictures a night out, dancing and drinking, up to the moment when the friend who did not drink is called to drive everybody safe back home. The ad was broadcast during December 2014 and January 2015 according to a media plan of almost 1,500 showings on 13 TV stations. The campaign stated that “what certainly is neither perfect nor normal is to drive your car home after you drink. So you should rely on a friend who did not drink alcohol that night. Pass the steering wheel when you drink!” In 2015, the same animated TV advert as in 2014 was broadcast between December 2015 and January 2016 according to a media plan of almost 2205 showings on 29 TV stations. The audience was over 813,000 persons of the target 25-35 ABC1 urban, 63% men and 37% women.

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