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What the Designated Drivers Campaign Can Teach Those in the Youth Service Movement

In the mid eighties, nobody in the U.S. knew what a designated driver was. The concept simply didn't exist here. It was actually a Scandinavian...


In the mid-eighties, nobody in the U.S. knew what a designated driver was. The concept simply didn't exist in America. It was actually a Scandinavian idea. Harvard Public Health Professor Jay Winsten cleverly and systematically seeded the notion in popular culture through a partnership with all the major Hollywood studios and the television networks beginning in 1988.

Within four television seasons, 160 prime time episodes addressed drinking and driving and the notion of the designated driver as "the life of the party" swiftly went mainstream. By 1991, more than half of Americans under 30 reported that they had been a designated driver. Winsten's coup of harnessing the power of popular entertainment media for a broad pro-social campaign was revolutionary.

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