Tennessee Highway Safety Office, Tech to promote sober driving

Pictured above – A screengrab of a Tennessee Tech iCube-produced video PSA featuring NASCAR driver Ross Chastain.

NASCAR driver Ross Chastain is known for smashing a watermelon to celebrate his wins on the racetrack. Now, he’s putting his signature move to use for a good cause through a media campaign produced by iCube, an arm of Tennessee Tech University’s College of Business dedicated to bringing creative solutions to traditional problems.

iCube is a partner for the Tennessee Highway Safety Office, which is working with Chastain on promotional events and messaging encouraging Tennesseans to drive sober. 

“The Tennessee Highway Safety Office started working with Ross on a ‘Use Your Melon’ campaign to promote sober driving,” said Stephanie Scarborough, iCube program manager at Tech. “Through the work that we do with THSO, we do a lot of their media and we’ve been able to come alongside them on this partnership to create a paid digital and social campaign and plan public events raising awareness about the dangers of impaired driving.”

iCube, located in Tech’s Volpe Library, has extensive experience in policy and advertising campaigns. It now designs roughly a dozen paid media campaigns for the Tennessee Highway Safety Office each year as part of a $1.2 million grant, according to iCube associate marketing director Sydney Kiser. 

“We really are a fully functioning ad agency,” Kiser noted.

While iCube has taken on a number of impactful campaigns for clients over the years – from fighting the opioid crisis and encouraging healthy choices for diabetes patients, to promoting car seat safety and cautioning against smoking for those who are pregnant – Scarborough and Kiser say their work with Chastain has been particularly rewarding.

“One thing I have noticed about working with Ross is that NASCAR has a very broad fan base. We’ll have kids, teenagers, parents and grandparents that come out to our events with him,” said Scarborough. “We’ve worked with other influencers in the past and he has been a very good, personable partner to have in this effort. He really does care about spreading this message of being safe on the roadways.”

“We’re not trying to sell anything. In all our advertisements and marketing, we’re trying to change people’s behavior and, in the end, hopefully save lives,” added Kiser.

In one of the iCube-produced PSAs for THSO, Chastain introduces himself to viewers as “the guy who likes to smash watermelons on the front stretch of the Nashville Superspeedway,” before adding, “You know what I never smash? Safety rules.”

“Racing is all about control and the same goes for life on the road,” Chastain continues in the PSA. “So, use your melon and don’t mix drinking and driving … We’re all racing to a safer Tennessee, and we want you there at the finish line.”

Kiser and Scarborough, both of whom are also Tech alums, say the partnership with Chastain is one of several ways that iCube works to promote safety behind the wheel. 

Most recently, iCube produced an animated commercial as part of a “Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk” campaign. The video message, scripted entirely by iCube, plays in sports venues across the state as part of a partnership with the Tennessee Titans, Memphis Grizzlies, Nashville Predators and others. The projects are funded through a grant provided by the Tennessee Highway Safety Office. 

“Our goal is the road to zero – zero fatalities,” Kiser concluded. “We’re trying to bring awareness and change to our fellow Tennesseans.” 

Learn more about iCube at www.tntech.edu/icube.

Photo courtesy of Tech.

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