It happens every day. In fact, it is pretty hard to avoid it. There are some things that can only be understood with a slap on the forehead. Things so mind-boggling that one wonders how humans managed to evolve thumbs while being this mentally inept. Case in point:
There is a new South African advertisement created by Brandhouse Beverages, and endorsed by the Road Traffic Management Organisation and the National Transport Department, as part of the company’s Drive Dry campaign.
Watch the ad:
If that was not bad enough, here is the defense for the ad:
But Brandhouse’s corporate relations director, Norman Reyneker, has stuck to his guns.
He said their research had shown that 88 percent of South Africans would be deterred from drunk-driving by the prospect of arrest and incarceration.
“We wanted to create a campaign which didn’t simply create awareness but changed consumer behaviour so that they never drink and drive again,” said Reyneker.
“This is the reason we chose the angle of the campaign: to highlight a possible consequence of drunk- driving, which is that you might end up in jail.
“The campaign is not about prison life. It is about the consequences of drunk-driving.”
First of all, rape is a consequence of drunk driving? When did that happen? What person was charged and convicted of driving while intoxicated and was specifically sentenced to rape?
Secondly, if were about the consequences of drunk driving it would not have been about men getting raped in prison. It would have shown the things that actually result from driving while drunk — the accidents, the deaths, the injuries, the being arrested or convicted. Prison rape is a symptom of a society’s indifference towards inmates. That violence happens because prison officials allow it to happen, and prison officials allow it to happen because nobody cares what happens in prison. However, prison rape is not a consequence of committing a crime.
Thirdly, if the research shows that most South Africans would be deterred from driving while drunk by the prospect of arrest and incarceration, why is the ad campaign not about that? In Illinois there are several drunk driving ads featuring drivers (all men, because apparently women never drink and drive) with their cars filled with alcohol. The ads end with the drivers getting pulled over and arrested, with the disclaimer that if you drink and drive you will go to jail. That has the effect that Reyneker claims he is looking for, and it does so without mocking prison rape.
It is difficult to tell if this is an act of pure stupidity or a lack of creativity, as if the only terrible thing anybody from Brandhouse Beverages could think about prison life is being raped. There is nothing else remotely bad about prison.