Government ambushes public in blitz on drinking and driving

- The Government is airing up to 15 commercials -- each a graphic reconstruction of a fatal road accident -- in £2 million a pre-Christmas blitz on drinking and driving.

- The Government is airing up to 15 commercials -- each a graphic reconstruction of a fatal road accident -- in £2 million a pre-Christmas blitz on drinking and driving.

Abandoning their usual tactic of a single high-impact film to underline their message, transport ministers will deluge viewers with different executions in what they call an "ambush and swarm" strategy.

Police, members of the emergency services and accident investigators play themselves in the commercials, all of which are based on actual accidents. They replicate police videos accompanied by harrowing radio messages from officers reporting that they have discovered bodies smelling of drink.

Each 30-second film through Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO rounds off with the long established "Don't drink and drive" line which amends itself to "Don't drink and die".

Although no bodies are recognisable in the films, the Broadcast Advertising Copy Clearance Centre has ruled that none can be screened before 6pm and that some may have to be held back until after the 9pm watershed. They were written by Nick Worthington, art directed by Paul Brazier and directed by Rupert Sanders for Outsider.

Unusually, the campaign is being extended into the "lad" magazine titles, Loaded and FHM, in an attempt to cut drunken driving among 17 to 24 year old men who are among the most common offenders.

The writer Tom Carty and his art director Walter Campbell produced the ad, headed: "Some words of advice from a pisshead" in which a "lad" suggests that mates out on the pull should nominate a driver to go without a "bevvy".

Hitting viewers with a mass of different films was a central feature of AMV's successful pitch for the business against the incumbent agency, DMB&B, in September.

"The idea is to demonstrate the scale and ubiquity of the problem," Cilla Snowball, the AMV client services director, said. "By showing things as they happen you cut off people's 'escape routes'".

Drink-drive deaths have dropped by 40 per cent since 1987 when they stood at 900. But Snowball warned: "There's no room for complacency."

The TV campaign is being supported by posters and other promotional material, including replica roadside police appeals for accident victims.


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