Don’t Fear the Reaper

By Kristy Laue
  • 02.05.18
  • 3 Min Read

Every year, the Big Game is packed with big moments – from amazing plays and “I’m going to Disneyland!” sound bites to water cooler conversations about left shark and wardrobe malfunctions. But it can also be filled with big mistakes.

Superbowl Sunday is primetime for impaired driving, with your chance of being in a drunk-driving-related crash almost double that of any other Sunday this month. And in the first hour following the game, crashes go up about 70%. Yikes.

Though scary, these stats mean it’s an opportune time to launch a new message for the South Dakota Office of Highway Safety. And with so many eyeballs watching the ads especially, we can make a bigger impact with consumers to turn those numbers around.

This year, L&S partnered with the Office to launch a new overarching campaign aimed at getting attention and changing behavior. Because let’s face it – consumers can be pretty set in their ways about buying a certain brand of soda or toilet paper, let alone their decisions behind the wheel.

To reach this audience we need to stand out, grab their attention and make an impact. According to a 1993 Journal of Marketing study, making people laugh can be one of the best ways to do this. In a nutshell, it concludes that “humor is more likely to enhance recall, evaluation and purchase intention when the humorous message coincides with ad objectives, is well-integrated with those objectives and is viewed as appropriate for the product category.”

Translation: we can increase recall and overcome resistance by making our message more relatable, approachable and less preachy.

So after hours of collaboration with both the L&S and Office of Highway Safety teams, we bring you our latest (and most unlikely) safety spokesman: Jim Reaper.

A take on the Grim Reaper, Jim Reaper serves as a constant reminder that when you’re driving or riding in a car, you’re never alone. Death is always riding shotgun with you, watching and waiting for you to screw up so he can “win.”


In addition to the spots that premiered during the Big Game, Jim will also pop up in bars, billboards, social media content and more to promote designated drivers, seat belt use and motorcycle safety. All with the message that you can beat Death – not cheat it – by making a smart decision to drive safe.

Head over to Drive Safe SD’s website for some fun Reaper reminder products and a view of our super spot in case you missed it. Then let us know what you think of the campaign. Remember: don’t fear the Reaper. Beat him at his own game.

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