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Crown Royal Debuts National Television Campaign to Promote Responsible Drinking

NORWALK, Conn., July 3 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- While most fans are accustomed to seeing NASCAR driver Jamie McMurray in the cockpit of a fully loaded Ford Fusion, a new television campaign being launched by Crown Royal this week puts McMurray behind the wheel of a taxicab.

Crown Royal's 'Safe Rides Home' campaign, which began in 2003 as a local program to reinforce the importance of getting home safe, is now the subject of a national television campaign. Set to debut on national cable in July, the new spots were inspired by Crown Royal's signature program where McMurray and his team of drivers provide safe rides home to adult consumers in various markets across the country.

The campaign is comprised of five 15-second spots featuring McMurray, driver of the No. 26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion. The ads humorously show McMurray being mentored by "Arty," (a New York City cab driver portrayed by actor Danny Dennis) who details the finer aspects of driving people home, including how to select the proper air freshener scent and choosing proper music. All the spots deliver a serious message reminding consumers to drink responsibly and to always arrange for a safe ride home. Created by Grey New York, the spots were directed by Eric Tao.

In addition to the advertising campaign, Crown Royal and its parent company Diageo (NYSE:DEO) partnered with The Century Council for multiple television and radio public service announcements (PSAs). This effort promotes the website dedicated to increasing awareness of how alcohol affects your individual Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). The PSAs, which feature McMurray and Arty the Cab Driver, will begin airing later this summer on television and radio stations across the country.

"At the heart of Crown Royal's NASCAR sponsorship is the ruthless focus to promote responsible drinking and this television campaign advances that important message," said David Tapscott, Brand Director, Crown Royal. "Crown Royal's 'Safe Rides Home' program grows every year and continues to illustrate to hundreds of thousands the importance of assigning a designated driver. By bringing our message to television, Crown Royal and Jamie McMurray will reach even more people with this important message."

Fans can next experience Crown Royal's "Safe Rides Home" program when McMurray and his team of drivers take to the streets of Indianapolis prior to the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on July 29. McMurray will again be on location to provide race fans safe rides home.

"Crown Royal consistently goes the extra mile to make the 'Be a Champion. Drink Responsibly.' campaign the focal point of its sponsorship," added Jamie McMurray. "These commercials are a great example of the 'Safe Rides Home' program and Crown Royal's commitment to responsible drinking. It's a wonderful program that I'm proud to help promote.

"I would especially like to tip my hat to cab drivers everywhere who help get consumers home safely ever day and night."

Crown Royal is in its second year as the primary sponsor of the No. 26 Roush Fenway Racing Ford Fusion team driven by McMurray. This includes the primary paint scheme of the No. 26 car at 23 races during the 2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series season. Additionally, the Crown Royal Special Reserve brand is presenting sponsor of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series and primary sponsor of Cheever Racing's No. 39 Porsche driven by Christian Fittipaldi and Harrison Brix. Crown Royal is also the title sponsor of this year's Crown Royal 200 at Watkins Glen, NY, to be held on August 9-10.

About Crown Royal

Crown Royal, the number one selling whisky in the U.S. by value, has a tradition as long and distinctive as its taste. Specially blended to commemorate a grand tour of Canada made by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain in 1939, Crown Royal's smooth, elegant style reflects its aristocratic origins and is considered the epitome of Canadian whisky. In addition to its motorsports sponsorships, the brand also sponsors The Crown Royal Bad Boys of Comedy Tour, the Crown Royal American Turf stakes race at Churchill Downs and a number of other major regional and national events. For more information on Crown Royal, visit

About Diageo

Diageo (Dee-AH-Gee-O) is the world's leading premium drinks business with an outstanding collection of beverage alcohol brands across spirits, wine and beer. These brands include Johnnie Walker, Guinness, Smirnoff, J&B, Baileys, Jose Cuervo, Tanqueray, Captain Morgan, Crown Royal, Beaulieu Vineyard and Sterling Vineyards wines.

Diageo is a global company, trading in some 180 countries around the world. The company is listed on both the New York Stock Exchange (DEO) and the London Stock Exchange (DGE). For more information about Diageo, its people, brands, and performance, visit us at

Celebrating life, every day, everywhere, responsibly.

About Roush Fenway Racing

Roush Fenway Racing is NASCAR's largest team operating 14 motorsports teams, five in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup with drivers Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and David Ragan; five in the Busch Series with Kenseth, Biffle, Edwards, McMurray, Ragan, Todd Kluever, Michel Jourdain Jr. and Danny O'Quinn Jr.; and three in the Craftsman Truck Series with Edwards, Peter Shepherd, Travis Kvapil, Erik Darnell and T.J. Bell; and one in the ARCA/REMAX Series with Colin Braun and Darnell. For more information on any of the Roush Fenway Racing teams, log onto For sponsorship inquiries please contact Robin Johnson at 704.720.4645.

    Contacts:   Dan Sanborn                      Matt Ciesluk
                Diageo                           Taylor
                203-233-6177                     704-548-8556

Source: Diageo

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