“Power of No” International Photo Contest Celebrates Winners to Combat Drink Driving in Laos

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Hundreds of young adults across Southeast Asia entered an international photo contest centered around the theme “friends don’t let friends drive drunk,” part of the “Power of No” campaign against drink driving today.

Twenty-eight multi-sector partners are coming together to celebrate the creativity, energy, and commitment of young people to say “NO” to drink driving.

Vientiane Rescue 1623 and RDK Group, with support from the British Embassy in Vientiane and  their implementation partner the Automobile Association of Vietnam (AAV), have come together to educate young people about the harms that could be caused by drink driving.  have teamed up with international partners.

The campaign is supported by the Asia Pacific International Spirits and Wines Alliance (APISWA) and creative agency Orès, with endorsement from the United Nations Institute  of  Training  and Research (UNITAR), the US-ASEAN Business Council (US-ABC) and the EU-ASEAN Business Council (EU-ABC).

We are losing our next generation at an alarming rate.

Road traffic injuries are now the leading cause of death among young people under 30 around the world. In Southeast Asia, road crashes claim the lives of 2,000 people each day. In Laos, 22% of men’s road crash injuries and 32% of women’s road crash injuries are related to alcohol. Furthermore, according to the World Health Organization, 50% of Laos’ road traffic deaths involve alcohol. Those at highest risk are young people in their 20s—dynamic and promising individuals who are just getting started on building their future.

Road safety is a shared responsibility. Government, civil society, and the private sector must all play a role in reducing these deaths and injuries to reach the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 3, which aims to halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road crashes by 2030.

Empowering young people to protect their friends and themselves.

The “Power of No” public awareness campaign is a regional effort aimed at raising awareness amongst  young adults of drinking age (18-30 years old) about the profound consequences of drinking and driving. It reinforces the message amongst young adults that drink driving is socially unacceptable, helped them make better-informed choices and, ultimately, saves lives. The groundbreaking social media initiative has reached over 30 million young adults of legal drinking age since launching in early 2022 in Laos with regional reach to  Cambodia, Malaysia, The Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The campaign launched an international photo contest this Autumn around the theme “friends don’t let friends drive drunk.” Through a targeted social media strategy and influencer marketing, the contest reached over 7 million young people with 450,000+ likes, comments, and shares in two months across Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, and PartiPost. The contest asks: Do you know that friend who always drives home drunk? Show us your best tricks to prevent them from driving and win awesome prizes. Contestants submitted photos showing off their creative ideas to stop a friend about to drive drunk.

Contestants were encouraged to share their photo submissions from the campaign Facebook page, since the photo receiving the most organic likes, comments, and shares received the “Audience Vote” prize of a new iPhone 13. Photos were also reviewed by a Judges Panel of international road safety experts and advocates, who awarded prizes including a new Apple Watch Series 7, an Amazon Echo Dot wireless speaker, and gift vouchers to rideshare apps. Each of the campaign countries awarded 6 prizes, totaling 30 contest winners in all.

To score contest entries, photography expert Mr. Jason Rolan served as the lead Expert Judge. Mr. Rolan is a Senior Partner  with RDK Group Laos. Mr. Rolan left his home in Texas nearly two decades ago for a tourism job in Thailand. Eventually relocating to Laos, he frequently explores and photographs the country and the rest of Southeast Asia. Fluent in Thai and Lao, he is also the editor-in-chief of Champa Meuanglao, the inflight magazine of Lao Airlines. The Judges Panel also included international perspectives from France, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Cambodia, Malaysia, The Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. Learn more the esteemed Judges Panel members below.

Laos’ most popular Audience Vote photo came from Daruni Charoen, who showed that they would remain sober and drive a friend home after they get too drunk. Their post received 350 likes, 48 comments, and 123 shares, earning them a new Apple iPhone 13 as a prize. The First Prize winning photo was submitted by Saleumsak Kunavong, who pretended to steal a friend’s keys then trap them behind a door so they cannot drink drive. Other winning photo ideas to stop a friend from drink driving included: locking the exit with a metal lock, walking a friend home, and wheeling a friend home in a grocery cart. Congratulations to all of the winners!

Change behavior, save lives.

The photo contest successfully motivated young people to learn more about how alcohol works in the body, legal obligations, and useful tips to avoid drink driving. By participating in the contest, young people were compelled to think critically about their own actions and relationship to drink driving, were subconsciously exposed to repeated messaging over time, and incentivized to spread the word to their friends. The campaign’s high engagement and participation reinforces that young people are open to learning about responsible drinking and changing their behavior with drink driving.

The “Power of No” campaign represents a unique alliance of 28 partners representing multilateral organizations, community nonprofits, the private sector, governments, and civil society associations. This coalition may be a model for future public service initiatives by achieving regional influence while ensuring the campaign is tailored to local communities and context.

“It is one thing to read about drink driving risks, and quite another to take action – to step up and participate in a movement calling attention to the dangers of irresponsible drinking,” said Na Huong Hoang, CEO of AA Vietnam. “We are proud of the young people across our community in Southeast Asia for raising their voices on this important issue.”

“We are very excited to continue to work with AA Vietnam and all our partners to deliver a message of responsible drinking to young adults of legal drinking age in Southeast Asia,” said John O’Keeffe, President, Asia Pacific & Global Travel for Diageo and current Chairman of APISWA. “Changing behaviours and giving young adults the agency to make informed choices is critical to helping reduce alcohol-related road accidents.”

About Asia Pacific International Spirits and Wines Alliance (APISWA)

The Asia Pacific International Spirits and Wines Alliance (APISWA) consists of 11 global spirits and wine producers operating across the Asia-Pacific region, including: Bacardi, Beam Suntory, Brown Forman, Campari, Diageo, Edrington, Moët Hennessy, Pernod Ricard, Proximo, Remy Cointreau and William Grant & Sons. APISWA aims to foster an environment where legal spirits and wine can be enjoyed responsibly, and which supports a vibrant, sustainable and responsible hospitality and tourism industry. Further, APISWA aims to secure a sustainable and competitive business environment for our members. APISWA is focused on protecting the interests and safety of consumers and on ensuring that alcohol is enjoyed in moderation, in ways that are appropriate to the local context and in line with international best practice. For more information, please visit: https://apiswa.org/. 

About Automobile Association of Vietnam (AA Vietnam)

AA Vietnam was founded in 2017 as a leading membership organization that aims to provide a wide range of products and offerings with international quality standards for Vietnam’s road users. AAV services include professional roadside assistance (such as car towing service); insurance policies; travel packages; lifestyle discounts; and road safety advocacy in Vietnam and overseas. With the increasing numbers of automobiles on the road – 13% growth per year – AA Vietnam envisions itself as a quality service provider that ensures the safety and comfort of passengers on the road. In collaboration with the

National Traffic Safety Committee, the AAV is well positioned to advance road safety initiatives. In 2018, the AAV collaborated with the FIA to launch the #3500Lives campaign to raise awareness on safe driving practices as 3,500 people are killed on the world’s roads every day. AA Vietnam is a member of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), and holds leadership roles in FIA’s Asia-Pacific regional projects on advocacy and community safety. For more information, please visit: http://www.aavn.vn/.

About Vientiane Rescue 1623

Vientiane Rescue 1623 is the first and only ambulance, fire & rescue service in Laos. They started in 2010 with a handful of volunteers in Vientiane, and now cover 4 cities in 4 provinces with more than 600 volunteers working days & night, for free, offering their hand in the most tragic of times. They have received several awards worldwide, from the President of France in Paris in 2016 as well as the “Asia Nobel Prize” Ramon Magsaysay in the Philippines. This last award “recognizes its heroic work in saving Laotian lives in a time and place of great need, under the most deprived of circumstances, inspiring by their passionate humanitarianism a similar generosity of spirit in many others.”

About RDK Group

RDK Group is a full-service agency generating media publicity and creating a digital presence for products, brands, and businesses. Specializing in social media, RDK provides strategies and operates campaigns to ensure content is delivered to the right audience. Powered by young talent and led by industry professionals with years of experience in media, events, and the digital sphere, the RDK Group team remains at the forefront of any platform.

About British Embassy of Laos

The British Embassy in Vientiane provides services to British nationals living in and visiting Vietnam. For more information, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/world/laos/news.