RK Venture

Blog Entry

ZeroProof, New Mexico’s underage drinking awareness campaign, is getting national attention. RK Venture’s campaign combats the serious problem of underage drinking which can cause a host of problems including traffic fatalities and crashes.

Last year the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) presented at the 2017 Strategic Communications Forum in Washington D.C. to communicate our state’s plans and network with our colleagues. The National Law Enforcement Liaison Program (NLELP) were impressed by the ZeroProof campaign, its unique positioning and strategy, and chose to publish it as their lead article in the Law Enforcement Liaisons (LELs) newsletter, a publication whose mission is to promote national highway safety programs, initiatives and campaigns.

Using Technology to ENDWI


RK Venture has been working with the New Mexico Department of Transportation to help end drunk driving since 2006. In 2012, in an effort to engage its audience more, a new brand, ENDWI, was launched. The results speak for themselves. Since RK Venture began working on the campaign for NMDOT, New Mexico has moved from number 49 on the nationwide list of unsafe state roadways to below 30. In 2004, there were 219 DWI-related deaths on New Mexico’s roadways; in 2015 this number was reduced to 113, an almost 50% decrease.

Even with these positive results, there are still too many drunk driving fatalities each year. How to change the behavior of drivers and inculcate the doctrine of not drinking and driving as a social norm will be the goal until there is zero drunk driving fatalities.

Technology and social media are being used to their fullest to help spread awareness to the ENDWI program. A redesign of the website and upgrade to the mobile app have just been launched. The goal is to engage people to actively get involved in the ENDWI program and set good examples for others to follow. The website has a more responsive design due to the trend of people using mobile devices more to access websites. The mobile app now includes push notifications that will inform users of super blitzes (added efforts by law enforcement around holidays), statistics, preventative measures, and reminders to plan ahead. There is also a designated driver update. Users can create a list of designated drivers from their contacts to more easily arrange safe rides. The app works with the user’s phone apps to send messages through social media (Facebook, Facebook messenger, Twitter) or networks like WhatsApp, text and phone.

Users can lead by example. As Art Markman stated in the Harvard Business Review, “You can only learn a new habit when you actually do something.” (Emphasis his.) By empowering people rather than just persuading them, use of the app reinforces good behavior as well as shares that behavior with a peer group. When a user posts on Facebook through ENDWI about planning their next outing and needing a designated driver, they and others are interacting rather than just thinking about the idea of not to drink and drive. Planning ahead for a night out can become a social norm perpetuated by good habits and good examples.

Statistics can change behavior. So can fear. Seeing in numbers and infographics on how drunk driving effects the community can be sobering. Having constant access to this in a format that is not only instructive but also sharable can help spread the message that it is not tolerable to drive drunk.

Good behavior can also be reinforced by rewards. When someone drives home sober, there is no reward for just doing the right thing. But by creating a community through technology, people can share their smart decisions and be proud to belong to a program that can help end the misery. By engaging with friends, family and colleagues, being a good example is the reward.

Lee Gallegos, RK Venture’s Social Media Coordinator, uses social media to not only extend the reach of the ENDWI campaign, but to support the cause with community conversation and technological possibilities. "We are always exploring ideas in creative and technical capacities with both our clients and their audiences in mind. People are consistently experiencing new knowledge on a very personal level with their on-hand mobile devices—so much that a majority of the Internet is being shaped around small, dynamic and interactive experiences. Our team at RK Venture aims to create meaningful bridges of information, conversation and interactivity amongst our clients, their audiences, and the world we live in."

Social marketing and the use of technology complement the efforts of the ENDWI campaign and help build awareness, peer influence, set good examples and provide easy access to information. Our goal is empower people to make the decision to plan ahead when they know they’ll be drinking. 

Advertising can help solve problems through good branding and communication. We have a clear problem. Too many families suffer from drunk driving crashes. How to change people’s minds before they get into their car will always be our cause. Now we have a better point of purchase. We can reach people on their phones, while they’re out, before they get into their cars or even take their first drink.

Rachel Kennedy