EDITORIAL: Drink-drive work proves adland is good at heart

Few briefs test an agency’s stamina and creativity more than the one for the annual TV campaign to cut the toll of drink-related deaths on Britain’s roads at Christmas.

Few briefs test an agency’s stamina and creativity more than the

one for the annual TV campaign to cut the toll of drink-related deaths

on Britain’s roads at Christmas.



Indeed, the drink-drive assignment is one of those rare accounts that

actually seems to benefit from a regular change of agency because of the

exceptional demands it makes on a creative department.



Finding new and innovative ways to hammer home a familiar message can be

draining and result in advertising that reveals a bankruptcy of

ideas.



The task is made harder by the need to get the tone and balance of the

campaign right. Soft pedal the message and people fail to pay

attention.



Overdo the shock tactics and they are so repelled that the advertising

is equally ineffective.



So full marks to Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO for taking the campaign into

new territory by looking at drink- driving through the eyes of those

convicted of having killed as a result of it.



The most striking thing about this initiative is that these drivers are

everyman figures. They are fathers, husbands and workmates whose own

lives have been shattered by destroying others. It is their very

ordinariness which makes them truly shocking. The message is that if it

can happen to them, it can happen to anybody.



Slowly, but surely, the number of drink-related fatal accidents is

declining.



Advertising alone cannot claim credit for this and its influence will

always be hard to quantify. Yet there is nobody who could argue that it

has not played a significant role in saving lives and will continue to

do so.



It’s an uplifting thought. What’s more, the drink-drive campaign is a

most eloquent answer to the critics who still see advertising as some

kind of mysterious sorcery, a malevolent manipulator and a social curse.



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