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Mark Land
IU Communications

Ryan Piurek
IU Communications

Last modified: Thursday, February 23, 2012

'Play it safe, party animal' -- IU Bloomington launches new 'Street Smart' campaign

Feb. 22, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- "Play it safe, party animal. Take care, not risks. Keep the party alive. Join the conversation."

A cheeky new ad campaign from Indiana University Bloomington, "Street Smart" encourages students to have fun but be smart about their behavior.

The campaign uses personified animal figurines to act out topics such as drinking responsibly, pedestrian and bike safety, mental health and safe sex. The Street Smart campaign is paired with tangible student support services. Among the campus resources incorporated into the campaign are:

  • IU Health Center
  • Health and fitness resources
  • Night Owl late-night transportation service
  • Campus Safety Escort service
  • Sexual Assault Crisis Service
  • Biking safety
  • Protect IU
  • IU Police Department
  • Counseling and Psychological Services
  • Alcohol/Drug Information Center

The campaign also includes lists of resources from the IU Police Department, information about blood-alcohol level and tolerance, emergency call box locations and a list of events and resources from IU Parking Operations.

"We have a complex campus environment, and we do as much as we can do to maximize safety and security," said Mark Bruhn, IU's associate vice president for public safety and institutional assurance. "But there are still myriad ways that people can get themselves in harm's way, and these short catchy reminders should encourage everyone to take care."

"We continue to look for ways to connect with students and inform them about the importance of being safe and watching out for each other," added IU Bloomington Dean of Students Harold "Pete" Goldsmith. "I am encouraged that students are relating to this campaign in a positive way, and that we are able to promote the various support and emergency services on the Bloomington campus."

The concept was developed by student interns working within the IU Communications office in collaboration with campus administration, the Dean of Students office, the IU Police Department and the Bloomington Police Department.

"We conducted student focus groups, and the message we got was that they would be most receptive of peer-to-peer messaging," said Valerie Peña, associate vice president, branding and marketing, and chief of staff at IU. "Our creative team came up with an idea that illustrates safe behaviors through a group of animal characters who behave in ways that students might typically behave."

The Street Smart "Party Animals" are led by four main characters, featured in advertising, signage and social media. The Party Animals even have their own Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Videos such as "Hay and Oats" (in which one horse tries to convince a blond filly to come home with him) end with simple messages: "Use your horse sense. Don't go home with creepers."

One video, "Panzebraphant," highlights the benefits of designated drivers, while another, "Sam Pushed the Limit," tackles morning-after hangovers with an ailing cheetah and the tagline: "Even cheetahs need to pace themselves. Know your limit and stick to it."

"While this is one of the safest communities in the United States, bad things can happen anywhere," IU Chief of Police Keith Cash said. "The men and women of IUPD, along with our fellow emergency responders, stand ready to assist when needed. Many unfortunate incidents can be avoided -- as safety starts with the individual. The 'Street Smart Program' will help emphasize such safety."