Decreasing Fatalities by 20%

South Dakota Office of Highway Safety

It’s true – whenever you drive, a stealthy passenger is always riding with you, waiting for you to slip up. It’s Death. And it’s a nefarious reminder that doing a few simple things, like buckling up or putting down your phone, can save your life on the road.

L&S partnered with the South Dakota Office of Highway Safety to bring this reminder to life, but not in a dark or preachy way. The worst offenders of drinking and driving, seat belt usage and distracted driving tend to be young males who respond better to humor than scare tactics.

  • 2018-2022
  • South Dakota AAA Award: Gold, Collateral
  • South Dakota AAA Award: Gold, Film, Video & Sound
  • Telly Award: Bronze, Regional TV
  • W3 Award: Silver, Social Campaign Series
  • ADDY Award: Best of Class, Public Service, TV
  • ADDY Award: Best of Class, Cross Platform Campaign
  • ADDY Award: Best of Show, Cross Platform Campaign
  • ADDY Award: Gold, Public Service: Film, Video & Sound
  • ADDY Award: Gold, Campaign
  • ADDY Award: Gold, Public Service: Campaign
  • ADDY Award: Gold, Public Service: Collateral
  • ADDY Award: Gold, Public Service: Online/Interactive
  • W3 Award: Silver, Integrated Campaign for Marketing
  • W3 Award: Silver, Government Website
  • District 8 American Advertising Award: Silver, Campaign
  • ADDY Award: Gold, Cross Platform Campaign
  • ADDY Award: Gold, Television
  • ADDY Award: Gold, Street Team
  • USEOW: First Place, Radio & TV PSA Categories
  • AAMVA PACE Award: Overall Campaign
  • AAMVA PACE Award: TV Commercial or PSA
  • Telly Award: Silver, TV
  • ADDY Award: Gold, Social Media Campaign
  • W3 Award: General Marketing - Mobile Advertising
  • ADDY Award: Gold, Public Service: Television
  • ADDY Award: Best of Class, Public Service: Television

Cue Jim Reaper – a fresh take on Death.

Jim Reaper in a grocery store

don’t fear the reaper

Beat him at his own game.

Jim Reaper (a low key, more approachable version of the Grim Reaper) has one goal: to get attention and change behavior by showing up in humorous driving situations. From distracting you on the road to tempting DDs with drinks, Jim is always trying to make smart drivers slip up. And when they thwart his tricks, he loses.

By making our message more approachable and memorable, the South Dakota Office of Highway Safety can make a greater impact across several safety campaigns with an unlikely spokesman.

Jim Reaper makes an appearance across video ads for seat belt safety, drinking and driving, and motorcycle safety.

Safe Driving website mockup
Safe Driving website mobile mockup
OHS mobile mockup
OHS mobile mockup
OHS mobile mockup

death is surprisingly social

For the Jim Reaper campaign to really work, it needed to live beyond great video spots. So we’ve made Death appear everywhere. Jim Reaper’s ominous presence has popped up on mirror clings in bar bathrooms, posters, print ads, outdoor placement and radio. Jim even has his own line of branded driving products reminding drivers to beat Death, not cheat it.

Jim Reaper mirror cling
OHS drink coster mockup
OHS air freshener mockup
OHS magazine ad
OHS magazine ad
OHS branded collateral
Jim Reaper banner
Jim Reaper banner
Jim Reaper banner

The Reaper’s silly personality (and amazing manicure) might not be what our audience expects from a state agency, but that’s why he garners so much attention. Jim’s character is extendable to all social platforms and draws the attention of several audiences.

celebrate #nationalbeerday with your favorite brew, but only if a dd is part of your crew.

Jim Reaper beer gif

Fill your memorial day weekend with red, white, blue and safe driving, too.

Jim Reaper Leave Death Behind gif

death at your door

The Reaper even accompanied our team to events across the state, including outdoor festivals, craft beer tasting events and the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally – the perfect place to remind people Death is only one bad decision away. We took a trailer on the road so people could meet death – literally. He handed out snacks and canned water (named “Reaper Tears,” of course) with a safety message to thousands of rally-goers. Several months later, he was spotted barhopping on Super Bowl Sunday, catching game-day fans by surprise and getting attention from the local media to spread a safe-driving message on a day known for DUIs.

Beat Death Don't Cheat It Tank
Drive Safe Trailer Display
OHS activation merch booth
OHS Jim Reaper activation
OHS activation dive safe tent
DriveSafeSD Jersey
Jim Reaper
Jim Reaper holding reaper ads

beating death with lower fatalities

The “Jim Reaper” campaign launched during the 2018 Super Bowl – one of the biggest drinking occasions of the year – and since, we’ve seen fatalities decreasing as drivers wise up. In 2019, crash fatalities hit the lowest ever recorded in South Dakota with a 20% drop. So far in 2022, we’re seeing a 35% decrease in year-over-year crash fatalities. Fatalities and DUIs were also down at the 2021 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally as Jim Reaper reminded riders to make smart decisions.

In 2019, SD hit record low crash fatalities with a 20% decrease.

Jim Reaper posing for photo at OHS activation

The Jim Reaper campaign continues to gain traction, striking fear and silliness into the hearts and minds of drivers. Death is always watching, but Jim Reaper is nothing to fear for those who drive prepared.

Jim Reaper

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