ARA Billboard “who says one more drink won’t hurt”

 

I have stared at this for a few minutes trying to fathom how this obviously low budget (30 minutes to prepare from stock photo) billboard will encourage anyone to drink responsibly. It avoids linking any kind of association with alcohol to drunken driving and the bottles on the graphic could be milk bottles for all I know. This to me is just a thin attempt at satisfying a perceived or stated social need for the suppliers of alcohol to be seen to be socially aware and responsible.

The blandness of the message extends to the punctuation required for a question to exist in grammar, being left out, and the question is posed to the public as a statement, is it meant to be rhetorical? If so, the question mark should still appear at the end of the sentence. If these billboards encourage a single person to abstain from drinking and driving, no one will be more surprised than me. It lacks any kind of impact or even shock tactics to drive home the message that driving while drunk can kill you and others.

Underage drinking videos

 

Although the messages in the videos are all valid and good, there seems to be an almost studied avoidance of the real issues in them, in that the companies sponsoring the ads, are in some cases the largest suppliers of alcohol in our domestic market.  These ads are nothing more than sop on the social conscience of a society which condones the operation of the giant breweries. On the one hand the ads reward the breweries by investing in their shares, and on the other hand applauds the breweries for grudgingly sponsoring some advertisements to warn against the danger of their products.

To me this is the worst form of hypocritical patronization, what the big breweries are doing every day is promoting their products as aggressively as possible to generate more sales, and once or twice a year they say as quietly as possible to the drinking public, to please be careful when getting drunk?

I wonder if tobacco companies could start a smoke responsibly campaign as well? Perhaps this would allow people to see how blatantly false the whole drink responsibly oxymoron statement really is. Alcohol is an intoxicating substance, not one of the advertisements states this. Not one of the advertisements states the loss of impairment is inherent in alcohol consumption; all of them however studiously avoid making the connections between consumption and impairment. The use of humor further desensitizes the public to the dangers of regular or excessive consumption.

Taxi Train Ads

 

The stylized graphics are designed to deliver the message without emphasizing the real horrors of accidents or pedestrian fatalities, considering the target market, and the sophistication level of this market in general I can only assume that a silhouette of a martini glass was chosen on purpose to be the furthest away from any symbol that the target LSM(Living Standards Measure) would associate with drinking. Using English as the sole medium was also a stroke of advertising genius, as it would be understood by far less of the supposed target audience than let’s say, Xhosa or Sotho?

Responsible choices Ads

 

Interestingly, the most direct reference to actual causal links between excessive drinking and the consequences possible as a result are the series of three posters, where perhaps the message may have been too clear. The coloring of the posters was designed to dissipate the message by utilizing colour split with reversal in the panels. In addition to this, the colours selected were the colours which colour vision impaired people are less likely to see as separate colours. So the creators of the posters seem have been trying to cover their bets and appear to be responsible while doing their best to conceal the message as much as possible.

TV Ads responsible drinking habits of parents?

 

These ads seem to reinforce the old adage that in order to get people to act like fools all you have to do is add alcohol. This was highlighted in the schoolboy sports day ad and in the daughter’s birthday ad. The cause of the inebriation in the daughter’s birthday ad was omitted all together, and in the sports day ad, a can of what the viewer is expected to discern as alcohol is seen in the fathers hand briefly. Interestingly in the mother arrested at roadblock advertisement, there was no on screen representation of alcohol.

Only on re-watching the ads with the sound off, as most people are prone to muting advertisements, did it become clear that with the exception of the green can in the loutish fathers hand at the sports event, there was no overt reference to alcohol in all three ads, and they became meaningless, and lost any impact they had with the sound on. Once again it appeared that all bets were being covered by the alcohol companies who sponsored these watered down efforts.

Knowing when to stop posters

 

A naked blatant advertisement for beer, spirits and wine, with 70% coverage for product and less than 15% coverage for the message which is supposed to temper consumption.

Alcohol intake during pregnancy

 

The best non poster of the series, firstly because of the LSM target audience and the martini glass, the one symbol most likely to be associated with alcohol in that LSM, and secondly for the underdeveloped fetus which could be mistaken for almost anything by an uninformed audience, who have never considered the appearance of a fetus. Interestingly, this carries the logo of the department of trade and industry, presupposing the expenditure of taxpayer funds, on a message so purposely murky, that I doubt whether many people in the target LSM will ever make the connection between martini glasses and fetal alcohol syndrome.

…so you think you’re invincible?

Don’t Drink and Drive…

Toni G

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