September 18 - 1990: Martha's Vineyard sells sobriety

Project is an attempt to learn how to mobilize a local community around drunk-driving prevention
The designated driver campaign was the idea of Harvard School of Public Health's Jay Winsten. Harvard Gazette photo/Rose Lincoln.

1990: The entire island became part of a designated driver campaign

Cape Cod has been described as "a sandspit held together by liquor stores" with more AA meetings per capita than anywhere else, but our neighbors showed us a path to sobriety this week in 1990 when Martha's Vineyard started doing something about drunk driving on the island due to the mayhem and loss such behavior generates.

The entire island became part of a designated driver campaign as described below in this Christian Science Monitor article in 1990:

Island Ad Campaign Sells Sobriety

"The designated driver is the life of the party.'' That message seems to be making an impact on Martha's Vineyard, a summer resort island off the coast of Cape Cod, Mass. It's a light-hearted slogan for a serious subject: drunken driving.

Storefronts all over the island display bright, festive, posters sporting the slogan, bars and restaurants post table-top cards with the message, and the words flutter behind airplanes providing aerial advertisements over popular beaches. Carly Simon, Walter Cronkite, Mike Wallace, and Art Buchwald - summer residents of the island - recorded public-service radio announcements in support of the project. The spots have been played on the island's radio station all summer.

This barrage of advertising is part of the Harvard Alcohol Project's National Designated Driver Campaign, developed by the Harvard School of Public Health in Cambridge, Mass.

"The Martha's Vineyard project is our first attempt to learn how to mobilize a local community around drunk-driving prevention,'' says Jay A. Winsten, director of the Harvard Alcohol Project, which was founded in 1987.

Read the entire article here.


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