Think! Case Study

How we used social practice theory to challenge dangerous drink drive behaviour.

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In the UK, drink driving still causes 4 deaths every week, and thousands more are seriously injured. Previous UK road safety campaigns have traditionally focused on the dire consequences of drink driving, but the prevailing ‘it won’t happen to me’ attitude of this particular young male audience has meant such tactics have had increasingly less impact over recent years. We needed to find a new way to stop this audience drink driving. 


With peer dynamics central to young men’s decision-making over whether to drink drive or not, we saw an opportunity to influence the behaviour of the peer group on a night out, turning the friends from beery-eyed instigators into the in-the-moment enforcers of better behaviour.

So we came up with a funny way to get lads to stop their mates drinking. Taking inspiration from the infamous pottery scene in the movie Ghost, the idea is that you cradle your mate with the same love and affection that was seen in the film but in this case, you take your mate’s drink away from him. We invited brands and people who have influential followings to get behind the campaign. Our “Mates Don’t Let Mates Drink Drive” message was supported by a number of organisations. Partners included Kiss FM, Budweiser, Unilad and LadBible, who all gave support to this message. 

THINK! Drink Drive #matesmatter from VMLY&R London on Vimeo.


To date, the campaign has had over 7 million views, but most importantly has fundamentally forced young men to re-appraise how they act when mates their mates drink when driving. The work prompted a 15% increase in the social unacceptability of drink driving, and three in five young men have reported taking action to stop their friend drink driving as a result of the campaign. 

VMLY&R London

VMLY&R is a global brand and customer experience agency that harnesses creativity, technology, and culture to create connected brands. Named a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Global Marketing Agencies for five consecutive years, VMLY&R is made up of more than 12,000 employees worldwide with principal offices in Lodnon, Kansas City, New York, Detroit, São Paulo, Shanghai, Singapore and Sydney. The agency is behind award-winning campaigns for blue chip client partners including Colgate-Palmolive, Danone, Dell, Ford, Intel, New Balance, Pfizer and Wendy's.