Drive dry or pay the price

2012-06-07 14:53

Georgina Guedes

I had dinner with a couple of friends at Botega in Parkhurst on Monday night. I hadn't seen most of this crowd in a while, having been home with small children for about three years, and it was a pleasant and low-key way to catch up with them. They were all doing well and all seemed to have mellowed since last I hung with them.

One thing that I noted was that those who were driving weren't drinking, and those who were drinking had no intention of driving home. When this point was raised, they mentioned that drunk driving apprehensions had skyrocketed, especially in the Parks, and it just wasn't worth the risk anymore.

Although the South African Police should be congratulated on their hard stance against drunk drivers, it's still a pity that it's the fear of being caught, rather than the fear or harming others (or themselves) that finally convinced people not to mix alcohol and petrol in a dangerous cocktail. But I suppose that a large portion of the population is driven by fear of being caught rather than the moral imperative.

Advertising juxtaposition

My head brimming with such thoughts, I made my way to the bathroom, where I noticed an advertising juxtaposition failure of epic proportions. In the loo was one of those backlit advertising boxes. Three ads were projected from of the box in alternation.

The first two ads were from the “Drive Dry” campaign, which again urges drivers to avoid drunk driving out fear. The first is of a leering, skinny man in prison overalls, with bedroom eyes. The pay-off line is that he “can't wait to meet you”. For the purposes of brevity I'll overlook the fact that lawless activity is being discouraged with the threat of lawless activity, since it's probably the reality of living in South Africa.

In the second ad, a tow truck beefcake is holding his door open to the viewer, essentially offering them a lift because they've totalled their car. The two ads are pretty good deterrents for anyone who might be sitting on the fence about getting behind the wheel in an inebriated state.

Then the third image pops up. It's an ad promoting Olmeca tequila. Following those two other bits of marketing genius, this promotion didn't give me too much impetus to go running from the loo and lining up a series of shot glasses on the bar.

Marketing vices

Granted, the ad might have been aimed at the patrons who were being driven home by friends or friendly taxi drivers, but the positioning of the beach-view and blue-skies poster after two pretty powerful discouragements from hitting the bottle was a bit laughable.

But I suppose that's the inherent nature of marketing vices. Like cigarette boxes that cheerfully threaten to kill you if you keep using their contents, alcohol advertising has to claim its place among the messages that threaten the worst should you drink it.

All of which brings me back to the conclusion that each individual will make his or her own moral choice in the face of conflicting messages. For me, it's the possibility of costing someone – or myself – a life that keeps me sober behind the wheel. And I suppose I wouldn't like to meet the prison rapist or towtruck driver either, truth be told.  

- Georgina Guedes is a freelance writer. You can follow @georginaguedes on Twitter.

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  • Mfundi - 2012-06-07 15:20

    Wow! How boring is this?! I expected much better from you Georgina. Please do not write when you are lazy or intoxicated.

  • Chez - 2012-06-07 15:35

    In a similar postion a few nights back, a friend who often used to drive drunk, had 2 beers over a 3 hour period becuase of having to drive himself home afterwards. I was amazed - and thrilled. Interestingly, the one person in aour group who did get really drunk before driving himself home was from Australia! And yes we did try to stop him.

  • Michaele - 2012-06-07 16:15

    Lady, what is your point? a) It is good to get out after 3 years of being cooped up b) You are an anti-alcohol lobbyist c) You are persuing a career in advertising or; d) You are a confused cookie What a load of krap you wrote here, I am angry at myself for reading it and even more so writing about it.

      Graeme - 2012-06-08 07:33

      she just wanted to tell us she went to "Botega in Parkhurst" And if this is the topic of conversation I pretty sure she wont be seeing "most of this crowd" for another few years.

  • Howsit - 2012-06-07 16:43

    ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. Writing for the sake of ... well what? I want my 2 minutes back for reading this, plus compensation for the brain damage caused by the subsequent extreme boredom of reading such a flimsy article, and then further compensation for having to even write this reply, just because its MY moral imperative to let the world know of the averageness I have just encountered.

  • Eric - 2012-06-08 08:26

    Jeezus people there will be another article with another topic another day. Try not to get your butts all twisted up ok. Aai, mense!!

  • kavishv - 2012-06-08 10:00

    The Opinion section is usually the 'perception' section. I'm unsure whether your perception was of psychological, marketing or simple banter, but either it didn’t have a point, or you didn’t concentrate well enough on the point you were trying to make. I didn’t quite like this one, but hope you do write again for I did enjoy the psychological view in marketing, plus women too, that sit on bogs and think this sort of thing. Enjoy the weekend :-)

  • clay.gray.505 - 2012-06-08 13:52

    I noticed the same thing at Tanz and commented to my wife about how little sense the order or relationship of the 3 ads made. Weird.

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