Move over, men, there’s a new face in drunk driving: the sensible everywoman.
Remember “Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk?” and how you couldn’t get that phrase out of your head? Well, the Ad Council, along with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), has come up with an equally unforgettable public service announcement: Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving.
At first glance, the video on You Tube, made to support the latest anti- drunk-driving campaign, looks like business as usual. The camera focuses in on a very drunk blonde, maniacally laughing, clutching her beer bottle.
Then things go all wrong, and she knocks her front teeth out with the beer bottle. Does she get upset? No. As she continues laughing, her missing front teeth prominently displayed, the camera pans over to her friend, who is way more sober, only politely laughing, and is putting on her jacket, ready to leave and, presumably, drive home.
And this is where the twist comes in: Instead of panning back to the smashed woman, the camera pans over to her friend, the sensible-looking brunette (natch), as if to say, Not So Fast! The camera then freezes on the sensible brunette and a voiceover says: Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving. Sobering? I think so. We can laugh at the overly drunk woman, but the buzzed woman–well, the buzzed woman could be anyone you know. It could be you.
If the slogan, “Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving,” sounds vaguely familiar, that’s because it is. The PSA, first released in 2005, was originally targeted at men, ages 21-34. So why the re-release? And why the focus on women, not men? According to the NHTSA, the number of women DUIs rose 30% in the 10 years between 1998 and 2007, while DUIs by men went down.
Television spots are set to air just in time for the winter holidays, but the Ad Council is also betting on social media sites, like Facebook, to spread the message. A visit to the site’s fan page, Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving, turned up 574 fans. The Twitter page has 552 and counting. So far, the You Tube video (described above) has had over 10,000 hits. And there are other videos on You Tube as well.