The State Worker

Caltrans $6 million public-awareness campaign wins national award

Some of the Caltrans employees and children featured in the department’s latest public-awareness ads.
Some of the Caltrans employees and children featured in the department’s latest public-awareness ads. Caltrans

A California Department of Transportation public-awareness campaign has won a national award for promoting safe driving in freeway work zones.

“Be Work Zone Alert” spots feature personal messages from the children of Caltrans maintenance workers. They’ve been featured on billboards, on radio, in TV public service announcements, YouTube spots, social media and a website dedicated to getting out the message.

The kids, ages 5 to 8, are shown wearing department hardhats and vests. Some ads feature their parents. The overall campaign cost $6 million, officials said.

Be alert. Our parents are at work.

What some children of Caltrans road workers say in the department’s award-winning ads

The American Road & Transportation Builders Association called the campaign “a deeply personal and compelling message to the public” in bestowing its Roadway Work Zone Safety Awareness Award for state agencies. The association gave Caltrans the same award in 2008 for its iconic “Slow for the Cone Zone” campaign.

Caltrans and Sacramento-based ProProse Social Marketing Solutions started collaborating on the latest project early last year, said department spokesman Mark Dinger.

The two-year contract with ProProse started in March 2014 and expires at the end of February. About 80 percent of the money in the agreement, $4.7 million, pays for advertising in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento and 20 other markets statewide, Dinger said.

The campaign is subsidized by a $2 million grant from the state Office of Transportation Safety.

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