A new Japanese campaign aims to combat domestic violence in the country with inventive coasters that hope to tame excessive drinking, which can contribute to the problem.
Yaocho, a bar chain, and agency Ogilvy & Mather Tokyo created the coasters, each of which features a portrait of a woman's face printed in thermal ink. When a cold drink rests on the coaster, the portrait changes to include cuts and bruises.
The visuals are—no pun intended—chilling, and it's a clever use of media, though perhaps a touch too much so for its own good, with mechanics that may undermine the spirit and gravity of the message.
"This drink will turn the woman on this coaster into a beat-up woman—just like you might do to a real woman, if you drink too much," is essentially the subtext of the ads. "Can you have another round without wanting to hit your significant other?"
But as Lucia Peters points out over at Bustle, while alcohol can be a factor in domestic violence, "placing the blame for domestic violence on alcohol excuses the people who commit the crimes in the first place—which is classic abuser behavior."
Yaocho deserves credit for openly addressing domestic violence, and trying to raise awareness, theoretically at the expense of its own business. But while a drinking establishment is, on its face, the right place to reach viewers with a message about alcohol and domestic abuse, there's also a bit of cognitive dissonance in an anti-drinking ad that requires the viewer to be drinking to deliver its full effect.
The tagline, at least in its translated version, isn't even "Don't drink too much." Rather, it is "Don't let excessive drinking end in domestic violence." In other words, "It's OK to spend your money on a bender, so long as you don't beat your wife or girlfriend afterward."
And if you are the type of person who gets violent when you drink, you probably shouldn't be drinking at all.
More info below. Via Design Taxi.