Friday, September 24, 2010

Social Media in Action Series: Department of Transportation

I'm spending a few days highlighting my "best in class" picks for companies driven by social media. This series isn't about uncovering the latest viral phenomenon - it's about slowing your roll a little bit and observing the underlying principles of success in social media marketing. Day 2 is all about the Texas Department of Transportation.

Let's face it: drunk driving is a serious problem in America. It's been an ongoing mission of the Department of Transportation to communicate the negative impacts of driving under the influence through various national television, radio and print campaigns. Local governments also get involved, but with budgets shrinking it's been tough to get the word out. I'll just say it. Most of these ads are cheesy and don't connect with drivers at an emotional level. Enter the Happy Hour FAIL campaign. Be prepared for a sting, and read my thoughts after the video.

Ouch. Did you have the same awkward and painful feeling watching a life set back by ten years?

The Happy Hour FAIL campaign is a great example of marketing to Millennials, and it's one of the first ads that plays to the fear of a damaged social media reputation. It's all part of a more robust campaign that connects on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Not bad for a traditional government department rooted in old media.

Nick Kinports (follow him on Twitter @ADMAVEN) has worked in the interactive technology world for over 15 years, and helps agencies and brands find and connect to digital audiences for profitable outcomes. Want to talk to him about how social technologies can help your agency or brand grow? Email him at
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