Saturday, June 28, 2008
Don't drink and drive or you WILL be branded with a hot iron!
Apologies for the lack of witty title but I really couldn’t think of one at this point in time. I want to just make a few comments about some of the draconian government initiatives which sometimes are tantamount of fascism.
I’ll start with a particularly annoying advert for drinking and driving. First of all let me just say I do not in any way condone drinking and driving, I think it’s a stupid and dangerous thing to do and I think the law should be firm on it. However what I don’t agree with in this case is the way that government adverts try to imply you will be socially outcasted and ruined financially if you do it. What’s a stronger message than saying you will die? That’s the point they should probably put across to people rather than implying that you will get caught and be marked for life.
The content of this advert is as follows:
The TV ad focuses on Matt, a young man out for a couple of quick drinks with some friends, as he's deciding whether or not to have a second pint before driving home.
As Matt is deciding what to order his world freezes and the barman he's about to order from suddenly transforms into a succession of characters that Matt would encounter if he's caught drink driving. Matt is powerless to do anything as he sees a police officer asking him to step out of the car for a breath test, a solicitor explaining that he's going to get a 12 month driving ban, his boss explaining that it's company policy not to keep employing someone who has a drink drive conviction, a used car dealer offering him a very low price for his car because he has to sell it quickly to pay a hefty drink driving fine and Matt's partner, angry and distressed that Matt has lost his licence, his job and his car.
Finally, the barman appears again and puts the question to Matt - "So, what's it going to be?" (taken from: http://www.thinkroadsafety.gov.uk/campaigns/drinkdrive/drinkdrive.htm)
The way this seems to flow is that he’d be better off dead as he’s basically screwed for life. What would have been more fitting would be showing Matt committing suicide at the end or as a homeless drunk vagrant. It’s just really patronizing and should really include a government minister wagging their finger at you throughout its run and repeating “don’t you dare”. It does ultimately represent the worst case scenario but I don’t like being coerced in such an overdramatic way. It’s like saying “become a drink driver and people will always hate you and avoid you”.
There was a similar ad out for drug driving which showed a man, having lost his license, turned back into a child and all his mates avoiding him as a result. I always find social manipulation of this sort the most hard to swallow. Maybe they should have an advert for paedophila too which shows a convicted paedo being branded on his forehead with a hot iron and being thrown to a pack of ravenous Daily Mail readers. In fact he doesn’t need to necessarily be a paedo, the way these campaigns of terror seem to run it could be any miscreant being branded here for any particular crime.
It’s a shame that a hard hitting campaign like this has to be made really. I know people will rebut my points saying it’s the only way to get the message across to people that drinking and driving is a stupid thing to do. But surely there’s a better medium than this? It's like Reefer Madness all over again.