Concerned over the high number of accidents and deaths in Georgia’s highway work zones, GDOT selected Hayslett Group in 1998 to develop and execute an awareness campaign designed to encourage drivers to slow down and drive safely through these dangerous areas.
“Simply put, the Hayslett Group delivered the results the Georgia Department of Transportation needed. Their campaigns helped us increase traffic in the HOV lanes and cut down on incidents, injuries and deaths in work zones. They literally saved lives. The professionalism, creativity and commitment to effectiveness that they brought to their assignment were unsurpassed in my experience.”
Georgia Department Of Transportation
Understandably, GDOT was primarily concerned with the safety of its highway workers, and its initial desire was to use a “Let’em Work; Let’em Live” messaging theme employed in other states.
Hayslett Group learned through focus group research, however, that Georgia motorists did not share that concern and would probably not be sufficiently motivated by such a message to slow down in work zones. What did resonate with Georgia motorists was being told that fully 75 percent of all work zone fatalities and injury victims were in fact drivers or their passengers.
Based on these findings, Hayslett Group designed a campaign built around this theme: “Slow Down. It Won’t Kill You.” The campaign incorporated both paid and earned media and relied heavily on appearances by a custom mascot, known as Coneman. We also created a tool kit for GDOT communicators to help awareness efforts across the state. During the campaign period, work zone traffic fatalities in Georgia fell 57.5 percent. The campaign earned local and national recognition. The Georgia Public Relations Society of America selected it as the Public Relations Program of the Year.