PSAs battle drunk driving with grim humor

Mullen and the Ad Council successfully walk a fine line in these anti-drunk-driving spots. Using humor to draw attention to such a charged issue can be tricky, and in the process it’s all too easy to stagger drunkenly and fall face-first to the pavement … yadda, yadda … you complete the metaphor. These ads, thankfully, mix the portions just right. The sight of severely injured accident victims popping up and chatting as if nothing’s wrong, as the drivers tearfully claim they were “just buzzed,” helps mitigate the tragic-PSA cliche factor and heighten viewer interest. The reprise of the hyper-realistic serious theme at the close of the spots seems unforced, logical and not at all preachy. Ultimately, the dream-like humorous interludes—off point and disingenuous, just like the drivers’ claims that they weren’t really that drunk—drive the nightmare quality of the scenarios.

—Posted by David Gianatasio

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