Client: Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America (Cypress, CA) and Mothers

Against Drunk Driving (MADD)

PR Team: In-house at Mitsubishi and MADD, with Fleishman-Hillard and


Campaign: "Pasa Las Llaves" (Pass the Keys)

Time Frame: August 2001-August 2002 (launch in October)

Budget: About $200,000

The American dream can be a lonely one for Latin American


Homesickness, isolation, and cultural machismo drive some to drink - too

much, in many cases.

"After a couple of beers, it is almost unmanly to say you've already had

enough," says Betty Swinners, national diversity coordinator for


In fact, statistics show that traffic accidents are the leading cause of

death for Latinos up to age 24, and the second-leading killer of those

25 to 44.

MADD has long emphasized diversity, and Mitsubishi Motor Sales of

America counts traffic safety and diversity among its highest

philanthropic priorities.

Mitsubishi was therefore receptive when MADD proposed a national

Hispanic designated-driver push.


Hispanics would tune out the authoritarian scolding typical of many

traffic safety appeals, says Swinners, so the campaign had to focus on

Latinos' strong family ties by urging them to protect their loved


The pilot campaign began in four cities with concentrated Hispanic

populations: Dallas/Fort Worth, LA, Chicago, and Miami. MADD and

Mitsubishi put together Latino advisory councils with Hispanic community

leaders and journalists in each city to identify relevant messages and

tactics. The Dallas council formed first, and helped develop the theme,

"Pasa Las Llaves" (Pass the Keys).


After issuing a national campaign announcement, MADD and Mitsubishi set

up booths at cultural and community events in the target cities.

Original artwork commissioned by Latina artist Irene Carranza forms the

campaign's centerpiece. The painting features a smiling Hispanic family,

the father's arms encircling two children, with two large hands in the

foreground passing a set of car keys. "This is really the most positive

way to reinforce the right kind of behavior," says Gael O'Brien,

Mitsubishi's corporate communications VP.

The artwork also appeared on key chains and in brochures that explained

DWI laws and penalties in each of the areas targeted. LA chapter

volunteers also produced a short video.


MADD and Mitsubishi plan additional research, but early evidence shows

strong coverage by Hispanic media, including Univision and Telemundo


Coverage was particularly heavy in Dallas, where reporters participated

in the advisory council. Thousands of brochures and key chains were

handed out at launch events.

Luis Lara, a staffer with El Sol de Texas, says the Spanish press

releases on MADD's website were particularly helpful. When a young woman

was killed by a drunk driver in December, Lara referred to the Pasa Las

Llaves campaign in his story.


Local chapters will continue staffing booths at more community events,

and campaign materials will be provided to police officers, emergency

room personnel, and others who come into contact with drunk drivers and

their victims, says MADD media relations director Misty Moyse.

Information about MADD's victims' assistance services is needed,

particularly by new immigrants, says Estella Prettelin, a freelance

journalist who served on an advisory council that helped develop the


Mitsubishi, which is funding the campaign, will closely monitor its

effectiveness to decide whether to expand or continue it next year,

O'Brien says. "We will evaluate it throughout the year to determine if

we're on target, and see if what we're doing is really a good use of the

time and other resources."

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