Case Study

New York State STOP-DWI Foundation Campaign

Everyone knows that driving while impaired can have life-altering consequences. But the decision to actually get behind the wheel after drinking or using drugs is often made in the blink of an eye and with clouded judgment. How do you reach people before that crucial moment?

New York State (NYS) STOP-DWI Foundation program created an app-based “Have a Plan” campaign to get out ahead of these foggy, hasty decisions. By encouraging young people to set up a plan before indulging, the foundation’s goal is to reduce substance-related fatalities and crashes across the state.

The results over the past decades have been amazing—reducing impaired driving fatalities by more than 70% since the program’s inception in 1981. To translate the same message and progress to new generations of drivers, NYS STOP-DWI Foundation and Column Five have partnered on content that helps today’s drivers remember to plan ahead.
70% Decrease in impared driving fatalitis

The Ask

Armed with a campaign theme and an app, NYS STOP-DWI Foundation needed creative material that struck the right balance of serious and helpful—and just as importantly, needed something that young people would actually want to look at.

To this end, our team was asked to repurpose the visual style away from jarring colors and broken windshields into an engaging, empowered look and to then create content that shined a positive light on acting responsibly. We also helped to expand the foundation’s approach to paid media amplification by tailoring content to specific target audiences.

By The Numbers

In order to ensure that our message was delivered to the right people, we used targeted social placement for 3 visually appealing animated videos, which added a whole new audience to the Foundation’s usual approach of in-person presentations and website traffic. Our content was found to resonate with our audience leading to meaningful conversations as well as a significant uptick in the number downloads of STOP-DWI Foundation's “Have a Plan” app. Here are the full results after 1 month:

increase in “Have a
Plan” app downloads
video views
unique visitors

average CPC
social engagement actions



Push beyond “just don’t do this” message by presenting positive and empowering reasons not to drive while impaired.


Communicate a serious life-or-death issue without fear-mongering or victimization.


Develop a design style that works across multiple formats and is targeted to a younger audience without appearing juvenile.

Our Approach


To appear more approachable and avoid the scary motifs that saturate typical marketing around this type of program, we pitched a loose and sketchy illustrative style with a rounded, vibrant color palette. The animation style leverages the organic line work to give objects a dynamic and painterly effect. This helped to add an unsteadiness that simulates the effects of being under the influence, while also portraying a feeling that this story is dynamic and ever-changing based on the risks and decisions that happen in such moments.


Through a mix of motion graphics and infographics, we created content that fit easily into the foundation’s main methods of outreach.

This included shareable videos for their social media, a practical checklist and flowchart for anyone planning to party, printed informational brochures, and a video reporting on the historical success of the program.

Host Infographic
Plan Infographic


In addition to the increased number of “Have a Plan” app downloads, the uptick in web traffic, and hopefully more decisions to get home responsibly, a huge part of the success we have seen in this project has been the trusted client relationship we’ve built with NYS STOP-DWI Foundation.

A highlight of this partnership was an invitation for C5 to present our work at the 2017 statewide New York Stop-DWI conference, where we met many more friends working on this issue.

The Next Chapter

Our partnership with NYS STOP-DWI Foundation isn’t finished. Having just renewed our contract for 2018 content and strategy, we’re excited to dive deeper into the data collected by the foundation and continue producing messages that move people to make better decisions that can save lives.

“Our experience working with Column Five has exceeded all expectations. We challenged the team to transform traffic safety statistics into a story that would change people’s behavior and they delivered. We love working with Column Five because they help us think way outside our normal box. The C5 team is regularly proposing ways to help our message feel fresh and modern, and the illustrations and colors make our materials stand out to a younger audience. We have been able to create messages for all of the interested parties, and we can't wait to create more this next year in order to reduce the number of impaired driving related crashes, injuries, and fatalities!”

Chris Marion

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