Can the Dracula approach stop drink-driving?
Deaglán de Bréadún
Am I the only one who finds that TV ad on drink-driving both disturbing and possibly counter-productive? Naturally I wholeheartedly applaud anything that reduces the carnage on our roads, but is this the way to go about it?You know the one I mean, I have just seen it twice on RTE. The young fella meets a groovy chick in a bar. He’s obviously going to drive her home but has to decide whether to take a drink or not to give him Dutch courage.
Then we go into absolutely horrific scenes of mutilated passengers in a car-crash; police knocking on the mother’s door to be greeted with a smile and then shock; then there’s footage of the injured and disfigured survivors trying very painfully to put their lives back together again.
It’s all very laudable in intent and I repeat, in case anyone out there decides to think otherwise, that I fully and completely support the objective. But does it necessarily follow that pointing up these horrors is really going to stop the Young Covey having another Vodka and Red Bull before he fishes the car-keys out of his pocket.
I also wonder what people who are disfigured or otherwise severely injured, etc., must feel as they look at this ad. It’s not very positive, not a great incentive to anyone who is in that particular situation. The message is that, to be like this is a horrible thing when maybe the proper message should be, You’re severely injured but there is hope.
As soon as this ad comes up, I hit the Remote Control button. I don’t want my evening’s viewing turned into an Over-18′s horror show (if an over-18′s horror movie is on, I hide behind the sofa.)
The ads featuring relatives of deceased victims is much more effective in my view. I admire their courage and spirit of public service enormously. These people are, in their own quiet way, heroes of our time.
I would also like to see ads from, say, Tommy Tiernan or some other comedian regarded as “cool” which just made a skit of drink-drivers and portrayed them as a laughing-stock and total idiots: pariahs who are not just irresponsible but total gobdaws into the bargain.
It would be good to get someone like Bono involved, when he’s not doing his very admirable Third World work. I recall that when my kids were at Secondary School it was considered a profoundly uncool thing to wear a helmet when you rode your bicycle. I wonder how many cyclists suffered major head injuries because they were ashamed to wear protective headgear. Let’s make helmets a fashion item.
I sincerely regret if this offends anyone connected with the anti-Drink Driving campaign. I am a teetotaller myself and very much in favour of restrictions on alcohol sales (and advertising too, by jiminy). But while I share the objective, I don’t think this is the best way to go about it. I also don’t like being subjected to these upsetting scenes in the privacy of my own living-room but if I felt it was achieving the desired objective, I would put up with it.
What do you think?