In the Doghouse or Dead? It’s an Easy Decision in This Powerful Drunk-Driving Ad

A bit obvious, but better said than not

Refusing to drive to pick up your wife at the train station because you've been drinking might get you in trouble. But that's better than being dead, says a new U.K. PSA that puts some engaging spin on a familiar auto-safety message.

Footage of a man named Brendan, banished to the spare bedroom (being used for storage), bookends the minute-long spot from Think! Road Safety, part of the British Department of Transport.

In short, it's the story of a marital spat about Brendan declining to rescue Sandra, his wife, from the rain, after he's had two glasses of wine. The narration offers a fairly straightforward journey through the scenario, with the most effective moment coming when Brendan and Sandra flop back like rag dolls the couch, victims of a hypothetical crash as he stops to consider the risk.

For a choice Britishism, and some decent humor, it's also worth paying close attention to the "proper cross" sequence, as she storms home drenched.

It might seem oddly conservative to cast the wife as the damsel-in-distress-becomes-irrational-villain, and a little far-fetched that Sandra would push Brendan to come get her if he was under the influence. But men are in fact far more likely to drive drunk (accounting for about 80 percent of instances in the U.S.) and are clearly the primary target here.

And regardless, the ad's arguments, if viewed broadly as just one possible significant-other scenario, are clear and innocuous enough. Sandra—or anyone who thinks like her—should really reassess her or his priorities. Brendan—or anyone put in a similar position—should stand his or her ground, whatever the conjugal consequences.

The spot's final stat—that a second drink can double the risk of a fatal crash—meanwhile, um, really drives the point home. 

@GabrielBeltrone Gabriel Beltrone is a frequent contributor to Adweek.