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Gov't Spent $8 Million to Primarily Target White Males in Memorial Day Seatbelt Ads


White males between 18 and 34 are the "largest demographic that does not wear seat belts."

Monday marks the end of a government-run advertising campaign warning drivers that they'll be ticketed for driving without a seatbelt, a campaign that was primarily targeted at white males.

Even if you wear your seatbelt, you'll still pay a little — the government's two-week ad campaign that ends on Memorial Day cost $8 million.

The "Click it or Ticket" campaign was run by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). TV ads featured people trying — unsuccessfully — to put their seat belts on at the last second to avoid a ticket.

NHTSA said the campaign was targeted exclusively at male drivers, and in particular white males between 18 and 34 years old. NHTSA said that group of drivers is the "largest demographic that does not wear seat belts."

Ads also targeted male teens aged 15 to 17, a group NHTSA included in its primary segment of drivers it was trying to reach.

NHTSA was also trying to target a secondary group — newly arrived immigrant Latino males from 18 to 34 years old. NHTSA said Hispanic drivers "have lower seat belt use rates than non-Hispanic whites, and higher fatality rates."

As a third segment, NHTSA tried to reach black males aged 18 to 34.

To reach all these groups, ads ran on ESPN, Comedy Central, MTV2, Fox and a few Spanish-language networks.

Male drivers were also targeted through online ads at Hulu and Viacom, which reached people who watch "The Daily Show" and the "Colbert Report" on the Internet. Radio ads also ran on music and sports channels.

— This story was updated at 10:07 a.m.

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