SAAQ tries to make drunk driving disappear

Magicians and memes are helping the crown corp get Quebec drivers to consider alternative rides home.

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La société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) is pulling out a few different tricks up its sleeve to reduce impaired driving this holiday season.

A new PSA campaign shows magician and illusionist Luc Langevin at a holiday party, using his skills to make car keys disappear whenever other guests consider driving home after a few drinks. When one guest wonders where Langevin is making the keys go, the spot cuts to the living room of fellow illusionist Alain Choquette, a pile of keys forming around him.

Like all of its campaigns, a SAAQ spokesperson tells strategy that the message is about making drivers in Quebec more aware of road safety issues, from impaired driving to texting and driving to being more cautious around pedestrians. And with more holiday parties happening this year, the SAAQ is turning its attention to impaired driving, specifically the fact that any level of impairment is too much to get behind the wheel.

The campaign is actually split into two parts: one for alcohol and another for drugs. The drinking-and-driving ads are meant for a mass audience and running on TV, radio, Spotify and Facebook. The cannabis-focused ads are more of a social play, based around a bag of chips that “taste like a car crash” and included media partnerships with influencers and Narcity.

saaqmemeThe cannabis-focused play is aimed at younger drivers, who over-index in cannabis related car accidents. But the wider campaign also features another youth-focused element, with the SAAQ creating its own version of popular memes on social, also around the benefits of planning ahead and the alternatives to driving after a party.

Both campaigns were created by Lg2. The agency has been working with SAAQ for 10 years, and was recently awarded a three-year extension.