advertising and other stuff. no, really.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

A feel-good message for the new year.

Juh-EEZE-us. It’s another Tarantino film masquerading as PSA. Australia’s Transport Accident Commission (TAC) takes the lead in shocking spots with this effort. Hafta say, it feels a lot more real and less melodramatic compared to some of the stuff out there, but no less graphic. Still, like anti-texting driving PSAs, does this stuff work? Highway deaths here in the U.S. are supposedly down in many states, up in others. This even though most American messaging handles DUI spots about as deftly as a WWE promo. Does this stuff work? Really work? TAC says yes. Or is it as effective as that “Drink responsibly” warning on all ads, or age verification on beer, wine and spirits websites. (A joke.) I’d like to see these spots shown at bars and point of purchase to gauge what effect they really have. Otherwise, sensational spots risk becoming nothing more than award show fodder.

(Via Brandflakes For Breakfast.)


phillybikeboy said...

When you consider most US broadcasters are subject to any real community service requirements, the difference should be no surprise. Most of the anti-drunk driving campaigns you see are paid ads, produced by alcoholic beverage trade groups (mostly to keep the feds and do-gooders off their backs). Don't expect any strong message from them. Spots from other groups? Are you kidding me? When was the last time you saw a PSA on a major market television station? Most of that time is gone, given to community service campaigns ("join the women of NBC29 in the fight against childhood ingrown toenails") that are tied to sponsorships. So long as broadcasters are allowed to sell ads disguised as public service, don't expect to see anything other than self-serving crap. I can't imagine any corporation willing to have their name tied to anything as strong as the TAC spot.

phillybikeboy said...

D'oh! That should read "US broadcasters are not subject to any real community service requirements"

Word Nerd said...

Hmm. Easily the most disturbing PSA I've ever seen in my relatively young life. While in one sense, it is effective (not that I drink and drive in the first place, but now I'm terrified to even look at my car, let alone think about driving tonight), it does seem to be a bit over the top. Then again, if I were watching a Bowl game (HA!) tonight and that was sandwiched in between one of the ABSOLUTELY amazing "Too Light, Too Heavy" Bud Light ads and whatever garbage Miller or Coors is passing off as an ad, I think it might garner my attention. That being said, PhillyBikeBoy is right in his comments: Seeing that ad in the US, especially in that kind of time slot, would never happen. And not just because it's an Australian ad. I'm sure somewhere in the halls of an American ad agency, something like that was once produced. And if it ran, I'm sure it was at 5:00am, when all of the serious drunks were really hitting the bottle hard and thinking about driving home.

Still, holy crap. Once all of the insanely violent and graphic stuff started happening, I wasn't sure if I could make it the full 3:00. And I laughed all through "Inglorious Basterds," even the scalping scenes (girlfriend justifiably perturbed). Different kind of gore, I suppose.

brandconsultantasia said...

This is an immensely powerful piece of work beautifully executed. All the characters seemed genuine, as did the scenarios and all the characters resonated with me as I imagined myself as many of them at various stages of my life.

At the end I was breathless and close to tears.

But Bill asks, does it work? If by work he means, does it actively reduce the number of people who drink and drive, then I don't think so.

Well executed advertising used to be a great way to reach a great many people over a relatively short period of time and create extensive awareness.

With less competition, more accepting and attentive consumers, such awareness could ensure the message was received and absorbed by the audience.

Not anymore. Mass media has fragmented into niches and communities. Using creativity to communicate a message is no longer effective because the message is blocked out or soon forgotten because we simply don't have the interest or bandwidth to absorb all the messages assaulting us throughout the day, every day.

Increasing frequency doesn't help either, it makes it worse as it adds to the noise. Even beautifully executed work like this is lost in the fog.

I wrote an article about using advertising to cut smoking in the UK and Malaysia. You can read the full article here,

But the crux of the article is that chilling commercials and graphic images don't change anything.

I suspect that the reductions in fatal traffic accidents are due to better safety features in cars, better roads, better lighting, highly visible enforcement measures, increased penalties for offences such as not wearing seatbelts and using mobiles, reductions of speed limits, more drug testing and better educated consumers.