A view from Dave Trott: Everyone needs a second chance
A view from Dave Trott

Everyone needs a second chance

California has more cars and drivers than any state in the US.

So naturally, they also have more car crashes, and consequently more fatalities.

Ninety-five per cent of people in California think organ donation is a good thing.

Every organ donor has the potential to save eight lives, and enhance up to 75 others, via organs, eyes, and tissue donation.

But only 45% of drivers have actually signed up as organ donors.

That means 114,000 people are waiting for organs.

Why the discrepancy?

To become an organ donor you need to fill out forms and get a pink dot stamped on your licence.

But to renew your licence you have to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

This is a famously unpleasant experience: the queues are long, everyone is grumpy, they can’t wait to get out of there.

So ad agency Casanova McCann and the client, Donate Life CA, took a new look at the problem.

Instead of nagging non-users with posters, in the DMV queue, how about rewarding current users?

People who already had the pink dot on their licence.

So everyone would see the whole experience was a lot more pleasant.

And they created an idea called SECOND CHANCE.

They had a logo made out of two number 2s facing each other, like a heart.

They persuaded three police departments in California: Fullerton, Placentia, and Cal State, plus Calgary in Canada, to get involved.

The idea was that when a driver was about to get a traffic ticket for a minor violation, if the officer saw a pink dot on their driving licence, indicating they were a donor, he or she could give them a second chance.

And they made a film recording how the idea worked in action.

The film showed officers stopping drivers for speeding or going through stop signs.

The officer would see their licence and fill out a ticket, as usual: name, address, city, state, zip code, driver licence number, description of violation. citing officer.

But when he handed the ticket over to the driver, it was different.

It read: "Instead of a fine, today you get a SECOND CHANCE.


  1. "Because you’re willing to give your fellow citizens a second chance at life, by registering as an organ donor.

  2. "Because only half of Americans are registered donors, and you’re changing that statistic.

  3. "Because the police department wants to thank you for doing something for others.

  • "Because we want to remind you how easy it is to be a hero."

  • The film shows the immense relief on the faces of the drivers when they receive it.

    The officer thanks them and says how much everyone appreciates their donation.

    In one month, 110,000 drivers signed up as donors (that’s 30,773 more than the same month in the previous year).

    Those extra donors have the potential to save 246,184 lives.

    But the really creative part is they didn’t nag non-donors with facts and figures.

    They showed them what they were missing out on.

    Now organ donations are up, people are alive who wouldn’t be.

    And the police enjoy the more positive interaction with the community.

    Real creativity works for everyone.

    Dave Trott is the author of Creative Blindness and How to Cure It, Creative Mischief, Predatory Thinking and One Plus One Equals Three