“Project Roadblock” partnership with TVB goes mobile


The Open Mobile Video Coalition’s real-world showcase of Mobile Digital Television, scheduled to take place this spring with local television stations transmitting to viewers in the DC market, will feature the Ad Council’s “Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving” messages.  The initiative is an outgrowth of the Ad Council’s six-year “Project Roadblock” partnership with the Television Bureau of Advertising and was announced at a special OMVC breakfast at NAB.

“We expect Mobile DTV to be very popular with younger viewers, given the popularity of mobile devices with ‘millennials,’ said Gannett Broadcasting Division President Dave Lougee.  “That’s Project Roadblock’s target audience, and we expect we’ll gather some very interesting research on the impact of the Ad Council’s messages on this demo through mobile devices.”

“Our Buzzed Driving PSAs are currently designed to reach young adults, the group most likely to drive while impaired,” said Charlie Rutman, Executive Director of Media for the Ad Council and former MPG CEO.  “Given the percentage of young people in our target audience who own a mobile device, the Mobile TV platform is a wonderful opportunity for our messages. We are grateful to the TVB for their continued support of this critical effort.”

The Ad Council, together with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, has partnered with TVB for six years to create an industry “roadblock” in which hundreds of local broadcast television stations donated airtime for the TV spots between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, a time when alcohol-impaired driving fatalities are at their highest.  Last year’s roadblock reached stations in media markets representing more than 99 percent of the country.

Abby Auerbach, EVP and chief marketing officer at TVB, said, “Over the past six years, Project Roadblock campaigns have expanded from traditional spots to include web ads, digital channels and text messaging.  Now this Mobile DTV application is an additional demonstration of the wide variety of advertising options offered by local broadcast television stations.”

TVB’s Gary Belis tells RBR-TVBR they’re expecting all of the stations participating in the D.C. Showcase will participate — WRC (NBC); WTTG (Fox); WDCA (MyNetwork); WPXW (ION); WFDC (Univision); WHUT (Howard University); WUSA (CBS); and WNVC (MHz Networks): “We expect it will be a three-week flight surrounding the July 4 holiday.”

The effort will not just feature the “Buzzed Driving” 30-second spots on participating Washington stations, which will be seen as a mobile user is watching a station’s broadcast.  It will also include interstitial (channel change) ads that take over the screen for a few seconds when the user is changing channels on his/her mobile device.  And there will be “Buzzed Driving” banner ads on the channel guide screen that will allow the user to click to a website.  

The DC test will result in qualitative feedback via Harris Interactive’s Early Adopter Community and Rentrak’s TV Essentials.