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South Dakota Pulls the Plug on Don’t Jerk and Drive Ads

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Don't Jerk and Drive

Jerking isn’t a joke, but the double entendre of Don’t Jerk and Drive definitely was.

It’s a pretty useful bit of advice to tell drivers that too-quick turns of the steering wheel can have dangerous consequences when navigating icy roads. In fact, it’s information so useful that South Dakota’s Office of Highway Safety launched a $100,000 campaign to remind folks to be measured and deliberate on the road this winter when driving in inclement weather.

The name of their campaign, you ask? Why, it was “Don’t Jerk and Drive.”

Don't Jerk and Drive

People seldom ever think before they jerk

What’s funny?

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Not surprisingly, the South Dakota Office of Highway Safety yanked the campaign after they realized that it had become something of a miniature viral hit. There was nothing lewd or crass about the campaign proper per se, save for the fact that it was called “Don’t Jerk and Drive” and come on, seriously, how could you not see how that one was going to turn out?

It should be noted that Lawrence & Schiller, the agency behind the Don’t Jerk and Drive campaign, knew exactly what they were doing. The innuendo was intended, with the idea being that the suggestive title would attract the attention of young male drivers.

Don't Jerk and Drive

This is just asking for trouble

It was a rock solid idea.

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“We are adamant in our pursuit of campaigns that break through the clutter in a crowded media landscape to a target an audience that’s difficult to reach,” said Lawrence & Schiller strategist Micah Aberson.

South Dakota Department of Public Safety Secretary Trevor Jones said that he made the decision to tug the campaign to avoid creating an even stickier situation with State Rep. Mike Verchio. Prior to the ad’s removal, Verchio said that he intended to call Highway Safety director Lee Axdahl to figure out what his motivation was in running the campaign.

“I think the intent clearly was … when you start to go off the road, you should take your foot off the gas and gently go back on,” Verchio told the Argus Leader. “But it wasn’t defended very well that way. When they say ‘Yeah, there’s some double-meaning there,’ I think that was a terrible error in judgment.”

Don’t be a wiener, Mike.

Prior to being pulled down, the Don’t Jerk and Drive ads were outperforming previous South Carolina Safety campaigns 25 to 1, and sponsored tweets had an impressive 6.9% interaction rate.

Hehe…6.9% interaction.

News Source: New York Daily News