An article in today’s New York Times begins: “In the latest salvo in the battle over liquor and beer advertising, a new commercial this week encourages people to feel free to have a drink before driving home.” The Times says 10 million viewers saw the commercial on CNN and the Fox News Channel. You can view the ad here. Predictably, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) President Wendy Hamilton accuses the ad of using “scare tactics.” Here’s what the voiceover actually says. You be the judge:
Here’s to conversation over dinner out instead of over TV. Here’s to places where they remember your name. And here’s to the millions of Americans who, every night of the week, enjoy an evening out with close friends, great food and adult beverages — responsibly.
The spot closes with the “Drink Responsibly. Drive Responsibly.” logo over a busy highway at night. The ad, far from a scare tactic, encourages people to not be scared of sensible drinking. It’s MADD that employs scare tactics and misinformation. “The most effective way to deal with [people who drink and drive] is to arrest them,” says a MADD spokesman. The Times quotes Richard Berman, Executive Director of the Center for Consumer Freedom, saying he hopes the “Drink Responsibly. Drive Responsibly.” message “literally crowds out this ‘don’t drink and drive’ message, which is not legally, socially or scientifically accurate.”