How we rallied bikers to save their brothers from impaired riding.




In Michigan in 2016, one in three motorcyclists killed in single-vehicle crashes had been drinking. Concerned about this rising number of fatalities and injuries caused by impaired riding, the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning wanted to launch a campaign to increase awareness of the problem and motivate bikers to ride sober, or not at all.


To understand the issue and more effectively communicate, we started with research—both primary and secondary. The research helped us understand several key insights that led to a solid creative strategy planner.

We found that our target audience was primarily male, over 45 years old, and regularly watched cable TV and sports programs. Further qualitative research gave us more insight into the biker community, their attitudes and behaviors. Brogan’s creative team then developed four campaigns, each including a TV script and an outdoor board. We tested the campaigns in focus groups in 2 major Michigan cities.

The idea that avid bikers are a family, a brotherhood, resonated with both our focus groups. We produced a TV spot based on this idea, titled “Fallen Brothers,” as well as a companion outdoor board that featured the slogan, “Ride Sober,” designed to look like a patch on a biker jacket. A media plan was developed to run during the season with the highest motorcycle accidents, and featured air time during Michigan sporting events (such as Detroit Tigers games).


After only two months of media, we conducted a follow-up survey of 400 Michigan motorcyclists, which revealed excellent results. A full 50% of participants were aware of the “Ride Sober” line. Of those surveyed,

  • 36.5% heard the line on television
  • 42.6% saw the line on a billboard
  • 32.6% said they “saw the sign on the road” (we’re assuming this either means the billboard, or an epiphany they had while riding)
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