E!, Ciroc push for safe New Year's Eve with text service

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In an effort to assuage drunk driving on New Year's Eve, entertainment network E! and Ciroc Vodka added a new wrinkle to their joint "Drive Safe" campaign. The companies are using Web, TV, social and mobile marketing to get the word out about their new taxi-locating text service.

The service allows users to text “DRIVESAFE” to 44264. Using geo-targeting to locate the user, a text is sent back to them with the phone number of a cab company in the area to pick the person up and prevent them from driving home drunk.

Suzanne Kolb, CMO of E! and Style Network as well as GM of E! Online, said that PSAs run on-air all year, but they have the highest rotation around holidays like the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's. “We also do homepage takeovers [promoting the service] in the weeks leading up to New Year's so that our viewers are reminded to plan ahead for the evening.”

Banner ads are also running on E! Online and on Comcast partner sites and will run through January 1. E! and Ciroc are also touting the service on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

While there are ads attached to the texts, Kolb says E! is not using the service to re-target consumers via mobile. “It's a straight service,” she explained. But she said the service fits into E!'s overall goal of being the number one source for entertainment news on mobile devices.

E! originally got behind the project because at the time of the launch, the network had been regularly reporting on celebrities getting DUIs. “We didn't want to glorify people getting DUIs,” she explained. “We felt we had a responsibility to actively try to prevent  them at the same time that we were reporting them.”

She said a large portion of E!'s demographic are impressionable young people who would likely be out at bars, so the network wanted to try to make a difference.

In addition to the direct marketing elements, Sean “Diddy” Combs—who has a strategic marketing alliance with the owner of the spirit—will be partnering with the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission to distribute thousands of debit and MTA cards in NYC clubs. The debit cards will provide up to $15 for a cab ride. Metrocards will provide a one-way subway or bus fare home. A similar initiative is taking place in Las Vegas.  


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