The Courageous Persuaders competition encourages high school students to create 30-second television commercials on the dangers of underage drinking and texting while 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 schools 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 5 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 airs on Ch. 2 in Detroit as a public service announcement.  This year, at our Courageous Persuaders “Academy Awards”, there were over 250 students, faculty and parents in attendance to watch these amazing videos on the big screen and see the winners announced.

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.  Go to www.CourageousPersuaders.com and check out these incredible videos.  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.

Official Rules & How To Enter

High school students nationally can participate; emphasis is placed on concept and the message, not on production values. Students are encouraged to use whatever video equipment is available to them. Teachers and principals, school audio/video departments, parent and community leaders are urged to share their equipment and lend local support by promoting the program as a very unique scholarship competition that is fun to participate in and has a powerful impact on a serious problem.

View official rules or enter here.

Program Objectives

The primary objective is to raise awareness and change attitudes about the dangers of underage drinking 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.

About DADA

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 $106 million for children’s charities in southeastern Michigan since 1976. 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 underage drinking and texting while driving, you can contact Sandy Herp at 248.283.5138 or [email protected].

National And International Recognition

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.