During the spring and summer of 2008, MRD developed a campaign for the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) to encourage the use of seat belts and child safety seats among rural Hispanics/Latinos in the counties of Collier and Palm Beach. The campaign also focused on curbing aggressive driving among urban Hispanics/Latinos in the counties of Broward and Hillsborough.
The strategic approach consisted of: 1) developing a compendium of the available literature nationwide and a report describing the findings of the research; 2) conducting focus groups to identify and plan strategies for educating Hispanic/Latino rural populations on the proper use of child safety seats and the importance of wearing seat belts in Collier and Palm Beach counties. The team also conducted focus groups to glean information from urban Hispanics/Latinos in Broward and Hillsborough counties on the subject of aggressive driving; 3) designing messages and campaign posters in English and Spanish about the use of child safety seat/seat belt usage and aggressive driving 4) conducting pre-focus groups in urban and rural counties to collect information upon which to base the development of messages and the design of the posters as well as post-focus groups in rural and urban counties to test the messages and posters to ascertain that they resonated with the target audiences; 5) executing an earned media campaign that included a mix of radio and TV programs in the targeted urban and rural counties. In the rural stations, the messages targeted Hispanic/Latino families to encourage them to use seat belts and place their children in the appropriate child safety device. In the urban stations, the focus was on explaining what constitutes aggressive driving and the consequences of this offense; 6) developing databases of organizations that have resonance with rural and urban Hispanics in the respective counties. The main objective of the database was to recruit organizations, associations and influencers who have the credibility with, trust and respect of the target audiences in order to enlist their support with the distribution of materials to their constituents. Sources of distribution for rural Hispanics/Latinos included agricultural and faith-based organizations, clinics, immigration advocates and employment centers, among others. Sources of distribution of materials for urban Hispanics/Latinos encompassed major employers, business/trade associations, community development groups and government agencies, among others.
MRD drafted a survey, which was distributed to the contacts listed on the urban and rural databases. The rate of return was approximately 130 responses, proving that members of the staff of these organizations are formidable advocates for change and for securing an outstanding level of feedback. MRD issued a report of findings that contained evaluation results as well as recommendations. The report used feedback obtained from focus groups as well as surveys distributed and collected by community organizations. The summary also included the results of the earned media impressions obtained as a result of the campaign. The campaign was completed on time and on budget.