Helping Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) Make History

Total Ad Value Equivalency (AVE) from Media Coverage: $43.15 million

  • 1000 news stories valued at $42 million AVE
  • 22 op-ed placements valued at over $965,000 AVE



Founded in 1980 by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these violent crimes and prevent underage drinking. MADD has helped to save more than 400,000 lives, reduce drunk driving deaths by more than 50% and promote designating a non-drinking driver. MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® calls for law enforcement support, ignition interlocks for all offenders and advanced vehicle technology. MADD has provided supportive services to nearly one million drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge through local victim advocates and the 24-Hour Victim Helpline.



MADD turned to On The Marc Media in November 2020 for help with an immense challenge:

  • Generating massive and sustained national and localized media coverage during MADD’s biggest legislative battle in its four-decade history in terms of lives saved and injuries prevented: Motivating the U.S. government to require state-of-the-art impaired driving prevention technology in all new vehicles, through legislation in Congress and a regulation in the appropriate executive-branch agency.



We designed and executed a sustained, comprehensive, integrated, multimedia communications strategy to achieve MADD’s goals, which ultimately supported an impaired driving prevention technology provision being signed into law within the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in November 2021.

  • Highly Effective Op-Eds: Conducted victim/survivor outreach, wrote and pitched op-eds to media outlets in targeted states to reach key members of Congress, such as Michigan, New York, Washington, and many others.
  • High-Value Earned Media: Pitched and secured media coverage in targeted outlets, resulting in 1000 high-value earned media hits.
  • Awards & Recognition: Researched and submitted MADD and key volunteer leaders for prestigious awards, which garnered additional media attention when MADD was recognized for its work by the Governors Highway Safety Association and National Safety Council, when a MADD Ambassador won the Outstanding Traffic Safety Achievement Award from Michigan Governor’s Traffic Safety Advisory Commission, and two awards for MADD National President Alex Otte –  2021 “Gold” Globee Award Winner in the “Female Achievers: Advocate of the Year Award” category, and TITAN Women In Business’ Female Executive of the Year – Non-profitable Organization. 
  • Speech Writing & Media Training: Prepared remarks for and media trained numerous key volunteer spokespeople, coordinated their media interviews, assisted with follow-ups, and shared published media hits.
  • Legislative Affairs Coordination: Kept media strategy continually aligned with MADD’s government affairs goals.
  • Integrated Communications: Developed comprehensive and complementary media, messaging and social media strategies for maximum message amplification.
  • Team Approach: PR counsel at weekly MADD meetings.
  • Event Marketing: Handled three successful virtual news conferences, assisted with two congressional hearings, and organized two in-person award ceremonies.
  • Social Media Awareness: Assisted MADD’s internal social media team by drafting social media content and graphics to promote introduction of House and Senate bills and overall legislative efforts.
  • Video Production: Produced and edited impactful social media videos and clips in support of MADD’s legislative goals.
  • Collateral Materials: Developed strategic messaging, fact sheets, news releases, FAQs, emails, letters, signs, and other content.
  • Strategy & Content Planning: On The Marc Media built a detailed editorial calendar to identify and track all aspects of the campaign. The calendar also enabled us to leverage high-risk drinking-and-driving holidays throughout the year to attract public attention to MADD’s mission, its 40th anniversary, and its policy agenda to eliminate impaired driving. This foundational plan was shared among key MADD staff and vendor partners. 



We implemented a five-step process to achieve MADD’s PR goals:

  1. Educating audiences about why they should care.
  2. Building media contact lists targeted to key audiences.
  3. Writing compelling media pitches tailored for different outlets.
  4. Making the job easy for reporters by giving them everything they needed for their story in a single electronic media kit package.
  5. Monitoring earned media placements (news and feature stories), content placements (op-eds, MADD-bylined articles) and media value.


  • 2020: The communications campaign launched during the December 2020 holiday season — an annual high-risk period for impaired driving — to build awareness of MADD’s top national legislative priority.
  • 2021: The campaign continued throughout 2021 to grow support among key audiences for MADD’s goal of getting advanced impaired driving prevention technology into all new cars. That effort was victorious in November 2021, when a provision mandating the technology was included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which Congress passed November 5, 2021, and President Biden signed into law November 15, 2021.
  • 2022: We continued to build on that success throughout 2022, attracting additional media attention and recognition for MADD while helping focus public and congressional pressure on the U.S. Department of Transportation to carry out the rulemaking required by the new law.



  • Leveraging MADD’s War Room: We broadened MADD’s capacity to engage national, regional, local and trade media audiences, devoting significant hours week after week to support MADD staff and its “War Room” of volunteers to create and implement targeted media strategies and support a variety of outreach efforts, from a statewide op-ed placement campaign to news conferences and more.
  • Victim-Survivor-Advocate Op-eds: The op-ed strategy involved working sensitively with impaired driving victims and survivors to tell their stories, usually focusing on a loved one’s horrific death and the heartbreaking loss endured by the family. These personalized op-eds were placed in local newspapers in Alaska, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C., as well as nationally in USA Today and in The Hill (a policy-oriented D.C. publication).
  • Media Events: The team also planned and held multiple news conferences (both in-person and virtually), including events with key Members of Congress and testifying in committee hearings, which entailed strategic media relations, event logistics, coordination with Congressional offices, developing run of shows and other messaging and marketing deliverables, managing all aspects of the virtual or on-site event, and post-event follow up.

Impact: The “War Room” families’ engagement — complementing our targeted op-ed placements by directly reaching out to their Members of Congress who serve on the key committees overseeing auto safety — was a game changer. Through a sustained multimedia communications strategy, MADD’s goal was reached, with an impaired driving prevention technology provision being signed into law within the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in November 2021.



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