Diageo Announces Virtual-Reality Tech In Fight Against Drunk Driving

Diageo has announced plans to roll out a first-of-its-kind immersive virtual reality (VR) technology that will allow consumers of legal drinking age to experience the many pitfalls associated with irresponsible drinking.

The program is being spearheaded by Diageo’s Digital and Technology Partnerships teams, who have been engaging potential partners in helping support and build out the experience, the company says. Joining Diageo in the effort will be the digital agency VaynerMedia, who will help the company with the creative vision, production, development and distribution of this new program.

“Despite the fact that drunk driving fatalities are at an all-time low, this issue remains of critical importance to Diageo and the industry as a whole,” says James Thompson, Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer, Diageo North America, in a press release. “We believe that virtual reality technology provides a powerful new opportunity to emphasize the importance of celebrating responsibly.”

“Enabling people to experience what it’s like to be the passenger in a car being driven by a drunk driver may resonate more with participants than disturbing statistics and crash photos,” he adds. “While we are still in the developmental phase of this project, we are eager to experiment with the technology to see how it can help advance our responsible drinking mission.”

Consumer interest in VR continues to grow rapidly, with the number of active VR users forecasted to reach 171 million by 2018. Currently, 73% of millennials have expressed excitement to experience VR, the company says, which is why Diageo is making a long-term commitment to the technology and “over time will develop additional user experiences that will demonstrate the effects of alcohol abuse.”

“While more than two-thirds (69%) of driving deaths are not related to drunk driving, many (20.9%) drunk driving fatalities involve hardcore drunk drivers – those with a BAC of 0.15 or higher,” says Thompson. “Our hope is that this virtual reality experience will help inform responsible decision making for people, but will also enlist their advocacy in the ongoing fight against repeat, hardcore drunk drivers.”

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