In the past, the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) had relied heavily on video to spread the word to the Golden State’s drivers on safe habits, reminding them how seemingly small actions, such as texting and driving, could have big consequences. But when they started looking for ways to connect directly with their audience — drivers in their cars — OTS knew that video would be too distracting as a medium. The team searched for an option that could be impactful without compromising safety and that would offer a wide reach to help them connect with as many of California’s drivers as possible. OTS chose to partner with Waze for its innovation in advertising and extensive reach.
The right platform for a helping hand
When developing their messaging, OTS decided to separate the voice of their “Go Safely, California” campaign from the type of communication Californians were used to hearing from governments. Rather than an authoritative, “finger-wagging” reminder, they wanted the safety tips messaging to have a more consumer-oriented look and feel — and to resonate with younger audiences. More than an alert about the law, the outreach should be a helpful brand reminding you to do the right thing. In that sense, partnering with an app like Waze that was already assisting drivers in getting from A to B seemed like a natural collaboration to the team.
A perfect medium for the message
Through Waze, OTS launched a mix of three different messages to drivers, offering important reminders such as maintaining distance from cyclists and keeping their eyes on the road. The ads used minimal wording but included a “Save for later” feature, which a driver could quickly tap if they wanted to learn more about the safety tips once no longer behind the wheel. “Waze does display advertising in a way that’s impactful and interesting,” says Ginny Blankenfeld, Digital Media Director at un/common. Once the campaign results rolled in, un/common and OTS saw that audiences felt similarly.
We’re not really trying to drive traffic, but we do want to spread information. The campaign definitely exceeded expectations in terms of the amount of people who clicked Save for Later, and reviewed the message again.
Ginny Blankenfeld, Digital Media Director at un/common
From spreading awareness to sparking interest
Although the main goal behind OTS’s campaign was to simply have as many eyeballs as possible on the message, the team noticed that drivers were interested in exploring more and engaging with the content later on. Out of the 1.3 million impressions OTS reached with the Waze Takeover campaign, they were surprised to see a save rate of 0.3%, exceeding their benchmark of 0.1%. 461 drivers went back to read through the information on the website, which, says Ginny, ”contains a lot of statistics and information that most drivers probably don’t know, but should.”