Guardian Mates (campaign)

Organisation: THINK! road safety (DfT)

Date of Launch: March 2022

Uploaded to the Knowledge Centre: 30 March 2022

THINK! launched this campaign in a bid to reduce handheld phone use among young drivers, drawing on the power of influence and respect between mates to help ‘tackle the temptation’ to pick up their phone.

The campaign was launched to coincide with the strengthening of the law around mobile phone use behind the wheel. From 25 March 2022, it became illegal to use a handheld mobile phone behind the wheel for virtually any use, including taking photos or videos, scrolling through playlists or playing games.

The campaign, ‘Guardian Mates’, includes a series of short films and a radio ad designed to get drivers to confront their behaviour by making mates present in the issue, unexpectedly appearing in the backseat of the car to intervene and stop them picking up the phone while driving.

The films run across Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and Pinterest, as well as online video and paid video on demand.

THINK! has a core audience for its campaigns of 17 to 24-year-old male drivers, who are four times more likely to be killed or seriously injured than male drivers aged 25 or over. 

However, this campaign also includes female drivers of the same age as research shows that both young male and female drivers have similar attitudes and behaviours towards mobile phone use. They also have less awareness of the law and penalties than older age groups.

Practitioners can download the campaign assets and toolkit from the THINK! website: