Challenging Social Norms around Dangerous Driving

Scholz & Friends, Germany

Every day in Germany, more than 10 people die and 1,000 are injured in road accidents. Scholz & Friends developed high-profile communications measures for the Road Safety Board's 'Slow Down!' campaign. It became Germany's most successful campaign to reduce deaths and injuries on the roads. 


German Federal Ministry of Transport – German Road Safety Board


Although nearly every person in Germany knows an accident victim personally, victims and their families had long been relegated to the fringes of social debate. The challenge was not only to raise individuals' awareness of the risks of driving at excessive speed, but to trigger a broader public debate that would have a more profound impact on norms, attitudes and behaviour.

Strategy and Solution

Scholz & Friends designed a campaign to appeal to drivers' emotions to engage their attention. The campaign focussed on the impact of road accidents on victims and their families. As many Germans could relate to this personally, it created immediate relevance and powerful emotive effects.

The campaign used roadside posters, TV, cinema, radio and online advertising to reach a wide audience. We also activated the campaign on the ground, for example:

  • Providing driving and motorcycling brochures with clear guidelines and preventive measures for road accidents
  • Creating themed products such as postcards, motorcycle folding cards and keyrings to make it fun and spread the message socially
  • Developing campaign partnerships, such as cooperation with specialist motorcycle dealerships
  • Organising roadshows, open house and other activation events to engage the public


This programme rated as the most successful road safety campaign in Germany, delivering notable results in terms of reach, awareness and behaviour:

  • 61% of Germans were familiar with the campaign, 20% talked about it with friends and family.
  • The campaign was shocking and emotive, generating considerable media coverage and sparking widespread debates in the media. This earned media greatly amplified the paid media advertising of the campaign.
  • The number of road accident victims fell significantly in 2008, with 4,477 fatalities and 400,000 injured people recorded.
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