Diageo - An integrated solution to a national problem


The Power of Choice


How Diageo’s The Power of Choice campaign saved lives on South Africa’s roads


South African alcohol consumers are some of the heaviest drinkers globally, according to data published by the World Health Organisation. So, it’s no surprise that historically, drunk driving is the primary cause of road fatalities in the country. With many 18- to 25-year-old consumers who drive and drink socially, perhaps feeling like they’re invincible to road accidents, Diageo, a leader in the spirits industry, realized this was an area where it could be a positive influence. Diageo wanted to help change the mindset and the behaviour of South African motorists towards alcohol and road safety, particularly within the younger generation.  



Building on Diageo’s global #JoinThePact programmeWE partnered with the company in May 2019, creating The Power of Choice campaign. The goal was to empower young adults to make smarter and better decisions regarding their safety and the safety of others around drinking and drivingTo bring the campaign to life and increase engagement, the campaign needed to secure pledges from young South Africans between the ages of 18 and 25 to refrain from driving while intoxicated. The target was to achieve 400,000 pledges by June 2020. 

WE kickstarted the campaign at Diageo’s production site at Isipingo, in South Africa, where its young employees could begin to spread the message to youths in their community. WE developed a targeted influencer approach working with South African actress Jessica Nkosi, actor Ntokozo DlaminiDJ SabbyIt also partnered with like-minded stakeholders such as the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD), media company Bar LeaderDr Musa Mthombeni and the Premier Soccer League  to name a few. This helped control the narrative around positive drinking (drinking responsibly and eliminate alcohol abuse), especially through Diageo’s non-profit Drive Dry’s social media community.



By engaging with the target audience of young adults through influencers, WE not only achieved the desired outcome regarding this important societal issue, the work saved lives and inspired thoughtful and necessary dialogues about drinking, safety and personal responsibility. The results included:  

  • A 25% decline year on year in road fatalities during the December 2019 holidays was reported by the Department of Transport  
  • 325,000 pledges to refrain from driving while intoxicated were achieved by the end of December 2019including 3,500 pledges gained by partnering with the Premier Soccer League and hosting a panel discussion where footballers spoke encouraged positive drinking in their communities
  • Increased following of Drive Dry’s social media pages (5% on FB, 4.3% on Twitter and 46% on IG)
  • Engagement rates of 1.647% on FB, 0.317% on Twitter and 4.25% on IG, over the six-month period