RK Venture

NMDOT Case Study

Federal statistics showed New Mexico was one of the worst of the 50 states on many traffic safety lists. It was clear that public perception made it acceptable to drink and drive. The challenge became changing social behavior, not just through the threat of punishment, but with a clear illustration between right and wrong, and the consequences attached to those choices. Reducing fatalities and increasing arrests was a short-
term goal. Changing negative behavior and the public’s acceptance of it became the longer-term goal. It was also important to solidify the various mixed messages the public was receiving into one multifaceted, yet creatively consistent message. Above all else, our challenge was quite simple: save lives on the roads and highways of New Mexico.

New Mexico has historically rated dismally in regards to drunk driving and other unsafe driving practices.
In collaboration with RK Venture, the New Mexico Department of Transportation undertook an aggressive plan of action to stem the tide of this damaging social trend. After seven years, positive results continue, as New Mexico has seen an increase of public awareness of the problem, and a sharp decrease in drunk driving related fatalities. The multidimensional work done by RK Venture continues to provide safer roadways for us all. 


RK Venture has employed a varied approach to reach the public. Speaking in the verbal and visual language of the target audience, television, radio, outdoor, and guerilla tactics were all used to provide a consistent, far reaching message. Targeting not only the demographic but also their influencers, executions utilized a varied emotional tone; sometimes serious, at other times humorous. Supplemental collateral material was distributed at safety and DWI checkpoints.

RK Venture first worked with the various jurisdictions to pinpoint the target demographic for our campaign.
21–34 year old Hispanic men were determined to be the biggest group of offenders when it came to DWI and other traffic safety transgressions. Through an intense scrutiny of existing reports, RK Venture discovered that there was no solid proof that any one strategy worked. It was determined that a multi-faceted approach, which targeted both the offenders and their influencers (often family members) had the best chance for success. The spotlight was placed not only on the anti-social behavior, but also on its consequences and effect on the individual’s family.

In 2011, when the governor's office transitioned from the Bill Richardson administration to the current Susanna Martinez administration, it was decided to reposition the anti-DWI efforts utilizing new terminology and an updated brand identity that could be taken and carried forward.

Research showed that there was some fatigue with the audience retention of the “you drink you drive you lose" brand messaging. RK Venture was tasked with a refocus of talking points in a much more direct manner. The new brand, ENDWI is intended to be much more participatory as it implored the audience to take an active role in our efforts to curtail drunk driving.

All creative was updated to include this much more direct message as well as the new graphic visual / new logotype, which was carried over across all platforms. The highly visible, easily recognizable brand graphics became part of the cultural / visual landscape of New Mexico beginning in the summer of 2012.

Some highlights of our efforts include:
1) The development and release of a free smartphone app called ENDWI. Created for both the iPhone and Android platforms, the app is a safe/sober driving toolkit, including a wealth of safe driving information, tips, a #DWI dialer, an interactive blood alcohol guide, a safe ride home easy calling function and memory/reaction tests, all with the intention of informing users about the dangers of drunk driving and providing real solutions to keep drunks drivers off the roads. The app launch was promoted through direct link web banner ads, and info cards emblazoned with QR codes that upon scanning would bring users directly to the download sites for the app. To date, over 17,000 free app downloads have been recorded.

2) The Dwight Goodman Personal Assistant campaign (ENDWI, DNTXT, BKLUP, 100 Days and Nights of Summer Campaign 2013)  included a strong media buy component, robust social media presence established across multiple platforms: Facebook, Twitter followers and YouTube account on which there are on-going posts and videos).

3) RK Venture’s MyInstead, an underage drinking prevention campaign, has had a resounding success. By stemming the tide of underage drinkers, we are preventing the development of further drunk drivers as these youths become adults. A multidimensional, social media heavy campaign, have garnered multiple, viral videos successes, including several that have reached audiences with over 10 million online views. Robert Archuleta, the NMDOT Traffic Safety Director, cited the success of our efforts: “The 2013 Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey released by the Department of Health shows that New Mexico no longer leads the nation for youth who take their first drink of alcohol before the age of 13, with an almost 15% reduction over previous numbers. I believe MY INSTEAD…has made [the] difference.”

Since RK Venture began work on the anti-drunk driving campaign for the NMDOT, New Mexico has moved from number 49 on the nationwide list of unsafe state roadways, down to number 33. In 2004, there were 219 DWI related deaths on New Mexico’s roadways; in 2013 this number was reduced to 134, an almost 40% decrease. The current annual numbers are trending to an even lower rate, with the percent of decrease on alcohol-involved fatalities in 2015 vs. 2014 standing at 22%.

There has been an increased public awareness of the many tactics used by law enforcement to combat unsafe and illegal behavior, particularly the DWI program, which has a 90% retention rate among the public. State officials have vocally applauded the success of the campaign, as have advertising industry awards shows. Our campaigns have garner dozens of Addy and Telly Awards over the years. Our social media efforts have garnered millions of views on platforms such as YouTube and Facebook, and we’ve had numerous news stories covering our campaigns, delivering substantial earned media for our client.

Our most recent ENDWI summer campaign titled, “What’s the Worst That Can Happen?”, is a prime example of this kind of success. The visual approach featured in the campaign was highly graphic and gruesome. The airing of the spot garnered both local and national press coverage, questioning whether it went “too far” in its depiction of the horrific, bloody results of a drunk driving crash.  Additionally, when the campaign was released via social media, engagement exceeded expectations, with over 160,000 YouTube video views, and over 570,000 impressions via Facebook, Twitter and media blog placements.

Thanks to the ongoing collaboration between RK Venture, NMDOT, and statewide law enforcement entities, the ongoing ENDWI efforts continue to have a positive impact throughout New Mexico, which has been lauded by numerous concerned parties. Peter Olson, a recent communications director for the Department of Public Safety commented, “I think we have really increased awareness of the problem of drunk driving, and that has helped.” Former New Mexico DWI Czar Rachel O’Connor said, “I think New Mexico has been really vigilant in reducing DWI fatalities, and there has been excellent public awareness. I think the public now knows that it is not acceptable to drive drunk.”