Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Drink Drivers – Blame Advertising

60 Minutes ran a story a few weeks ago titled “Killer at the Wheel”. It was a story on drink drivers and how it has ripped apart families in a heart beat because some moron was drink driving. You can see the whole story by clicking on the link below (not sure why I couldn’t embed the video but it just wouldn’t work).


It hit me pretty hard, being a new dad of a 4 month old boy, and I found myself fighting back a few tears as I wondered what it would be like for a drunk driver to take him from us. I even have a lump in my throat and watery eyes as I write this now.

The story talked about how the law is too soft. While I agree that the law is too soft I also think advertising is to blame. Lately there has been a significant move away from shock tactics in campaigns against drink driving. An example can be seen in this ad.

This ad is not shocking. Sure it might be emotional but it is not shocking. This ad tells me that if I drink and drive and kill a child then I will at least get to spend the rest of my life with my family and lead a pretty normal life (albeit with guilt). It is just not a strong enough message.

If you saw the story on 60 Minutes, or watched the story above, then you probably felt sick listening to the mother talking about how she held her daughter’s decapitated head in her hands after a drunk driver hit them head on. Just stop for a second and imagine what that would actually be like.

It made me feel sick to my stomach. This is the feeling drink driving ads should be aiming for. And I think advertising companies should take the high ground and insist on stronger messages.


Nathan Bush said...

I saw that story too and it hit me pretty hard too. I was talking to a friend of mine who said that she has never gone over the speed limit. I asked her what has made her make that decision. She said it all came down to a campaign she saw when she was 10 or 11. It showed a guy who crashed his car, he survived but his girlfriend and mates survived. While the ad was full on I think it was the insight here rather than the execution that had the effect. Shocking will work for a little while but shocking with a hard hitting truth will have a longer term affect.

Bones Lawley said...

I found this ad quite haunting actually, this would be a huge burden to bare obviously, but I do agree the boy may not follow ME around when I'm driving and remind me to slow down. Maybe that's what their aim is, make everyone into Hayley Joel Osmont or whoever he is and see this little dead kid everywhere. If so, those TAC bastards. Anyway, I don't mind this because I think they need to do something different every now and again, the TAC have been doing fairly shocking ads for the last 15 years maybe more, and audiences get tired of that and turn off. Everytime I see the doc starting to slice into that brain on the Quit ad I change the channel. No one's forcing me to watch it. Maybe that's the next frontier, strait jackets and forceable watching of deterrent stimuli haha.

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