IDPS — State Fire Marshal
Don’t Try This at Home

Using digital content to hyper target an audience about fireworks dos and don’ts.


In 2017, Iowa state law legalized the purchase of fireworks during specific dates, previously banned throughout the state. Fireworks-related injuries more than doubled in the years that followed. ZLR Ignition partnered with the State Fire Marshal for a public awareness campaign in the summer of 2020 to promote safe firework usage and help mitigate injuries.


Young males (aged 18–35) were the primary focus due to the higher rate of major injury among this group. ZLR knew this audience of young thrill seekers would not respond to a campaign based purely on delivering safe usage information. Rather, messages with a comedic, “older brother” tone would be the approach. Quick, simple messages were coupled with precise targeting through digital advertising and billboards located near fireworks retailers, along with the development of point-of-sale safety tip sheets for consumer distribution.

Official numbers from the state of Iowa reporting fireworks-related injuries are pending, but anecdotal reports following the July 4th holiday were promising. Notably, there were no reported deaths from firework misuse, turning the course from fatalities in recent years. The digital media campaign landed more than four million impressions and 8,500 website visits in the month preceding the holiday.

Firework Safety Billboard

ZLR’s in-house team developed content for the State Fire Marshal’s social channels, which was shared through the accounts of local fire departments and other state agency partners. The State Fire Marshal’s Facebook effort averaged an 1,800 reach across more than a dozen posts in the weeks leading up to the holiday weekend.

Fireworks Safety — Sparklers