- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 16, 2014

South Dakota is pulling the public safety campaign “Don’t Jerk and Drive,” because officials fear the intentional double entendre could distract from its importance.

The $100,000 campaign, meant to raise awareness about the dangers of jerking the steering wheel in icy conditions, played on the word “jerk,” which can also be a slang term for masturbation, the Argus Leader reported. Officials admitted to the newspaper that the double meaning was intentional.

“The message is that we’d prefer drivers keep their cars out of the ditch and their minds out of the gutter,” said Lee Axdahl, director of the office of Highway Safety.

But the Department of Public Safety has announced it’s axing the provocative campaign after receiving a wave of complaints.

“I decided to pull the ad,” said the department’s secretary, Trevor Jones, the Argus Leader reported. “This is an important safety message, and I don’t want this innuendo to distract from our goal to save lives on the road.”

Bryan Ruby, owner of the Web consulting business CMS Report, called the campaign “brilliant” — from a marketing standpoint.

“I thought it was a bold move for the state of South Dakota,” he told the Argus Leader. “It definitely requires a sense of humor, and that’s the risk you’re taking. But if the point is to get the message out, this does it.”

The campaign has done particularly well in the state, with more than 16,000 people viewing the #DontJerkAndDrive campaign on Twitter in the first week, the paper reported. Pageviews at the DPS’s Facebook page have jumped to almost 30,000 since the campaign launched, outperforming previous public safety campaigns 25 to 1, the paper said.

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