The Courageous Persuaders competition encourages high school students to create 30-second television commercials on the dangers of drinking and driving and distracted driving. Middle school classrooms review and judge the videos and help determine the scholarship winners. Participants learn how to create their own video, are honored at an awards celebration, and most importantly, are making a difference in raising awareness and changing attitudes towards these dangerous issues facing young adults.

In 2007, the Detroit Auto Dealers Association (DADA) and its Executive Director, Rod Alberts, officially adopted Courageous Persuaders and expanded it to a nationwide program.  A special thanks to the late Judge Jim Martone and John Barcyk for coming up with the idea and proposing the opportunity to DADA to further develop.

In 2008, Michigan’s Secretary of State (SOS) officially announced the SOS’s partnership with Courageous Persuaders.  For the past 10 years, top entries in the innovative Courageous Persuaders distractive driving campaign aimed at teens have won airtime in SOS offices across Michigan.

In 2018, the DADA received 632 video submissions from 917 high school participants representing 225 participating high school students from 40 different states including British Columbia. There were 1,100 middle school evaluators reviewing these videos. There were 29,312 YouTube views of these videos from April 1 – April 28. The five top geographic locations viewing were the United States, India, Canada, Germany and United Kingdom.

At the 2018 Courageous Persuaders Ceremony on May 2nd at Emagine Theatre in Royal Oak, MI, 16 awards were presented along with over $30,000 in scholarships.  The overall grand prize-winning commercial aired on Ch. 2 in Detroit as a public service announcement.

Since its inception, the Courageous Persuaders YouTube Channel has well over 350,000 views with nearly 7,000 video entries submitted from over 14,000 high school students. You will see there is no other program in the country like Courageous Persuaders and, we are proud to say, it is making a difference.

View past submissions here

The primary objective is to raise awareness and change attitudes about the dangers of drinking & driving and distracted driving among high school students. A secondary objective is to expose middle school students to positive role models − high school students taking a stand on this deadly issue.

Questionnaires administered to middle school students gauge the persuasiveness of the commercials produced by high schoolers. Ratings on these questionnaires determine the winners.

The Detroit Auto Dealers Association (DADA) was founded in 1907 by 17 local dealers, and has grown to more than 250 member dealers who donate their time and resources to a host of community activities. Currently, the DADA members collectively employ more than 16,500 people. dada.org

Many members participate in the NAIAS, LLC which is responsible for the production of the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). The most significant charitable venture of the DADA is the annual NAIAS Charity Preview, which has raised more than $100 million for children’s charities in southeastern Michigan over the past 25 years alone. naias.com

Courageous Persuaders is administrated by the DADA Educational Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, and relies on the generous support of corporate and foundation partners to continue this important and influential program. If you would like to sponsor or make a donation and help us to lead the fight against drinking and driving and distracted driving, you can contact Sophia Lorenzetti at 248-283-5129 or [email protected].

Courageous Persuaders® has been recognized by several major international professional organizations, garnering a Gold Medal at the New York Festivals, a Silver Medal at the AME (Advertising Marketing Effectiveness) Awards and two Outstanding Creativity Awards at the Mobius competition in Los Angeles. Various other awards recognized the high schools involved, the students, one of the sponsors (The Adcraft Club of Detroit), Detroit Photographer Jim Haefner, Yessian Music, McCann Erickson Detroit and Judge Michael Martone, as well as the program itself.

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