LCBO brings back the elephant

The anti-drinking and driving campaign expands its digital components with an online pledge for the holiday season.
Deflate the elephant

Starting today, the LCBO is bringing back its “Deflate the Elephant” campaign, designed to communicate the importance of speaking up when someone decides to drive after drinking, in a 15-second TV spot, as well as print and digital ads.

A campaign website and Facebook page went live last Friday. ZenithOptimedia handled the media, Due North Communication did the creative and its sister agency Dial9 spearheaded the digital components of the campaign.

Now in its third year, the promotion has evolved from what initially launched as a primarily TV and print campaign in 2009 into a full-fledged digital and social media-rich program with the addition of a Facebook tab and new interactive tools on the campaign website, Desmond Lo, COO , Dial9, tells MiC.

The new Facebook page was created for users to take a pledge against drinking and driving, he says.

In order to take an oath of responsible drinking, the user must upload their photo to the page along with a personal story that explains why they decided to take the pledge and how they plan to prevent others from drinking and driving.

An elephant, in the center of the Facebook page, will start to deflate and reveal a mosaic of pledges as people upload their photos. On the first day that the page was live, almost a thousand images were uploaded, says Lo.

At the end of the campaign period, up to five photos with the most “likes” will be used in a collage on Facebook and unveiled on New Year’s Eve.

The campaign website,, provides a wealth of tips and tools for hosts looking to hold a responsible holiday party. The site has an interactive “Home Bartending Challenge” tool that teaches users how to pour the correct amount of beer, wine, spirits and coolers in a glass. There are also badges to be earned which can be shared on Facebook and Twitter.

“From the corporate social responsibility perspective [of the LCBO], it’s a natural fit with social media,” says Lo. “[This campaign] is unlike a typical consumer campaign, where you’re promoting a brand and ultimately trying to sell a product. What we’re really trying to do is raise awareness about drinking and driving and the dangers of it,” he says, adding that Facebook is an ideal place to communicate its message to the millions of Canadians.

And the TV spot shows a holiday party guest who has had a few too many drinks. When the host is reluctant to say something to the guest, the symbolic elephant steps in and begins to inflate with the message of, “Drinking and driving should never be the elephant in the room. Speak Up. You could save a life.”

Equally tongue-in-cheek print ads will be placed in the LCBO’s Food and Drink magazine and rich-media banner ads on websites such as where there will also be a full page takeover of the site’s holiday section, says Lo.