Absolut Ads: A Road Safety Message in a (Vodka) Bottle

Absolut Image from Bucharest Traffic Police and Mercury PromotionsAbsolut Image from Bucharest Traffic Police and Mercury PromotionsThe world of drunk driving ads hasn’t produced many iconic images of its own, but it’s not too proud to borrow existing ones, whether it be crash test dummies or a successful vodka ad campaign.

Absolut Vodka’s ads are known around the world, so it was only a matter of time before graphic designers incorporated the familiar silhouette of the Absolut bottle and the two-word headline for the worthy cause of sober driving. Here are three from the Bucharest, Romania Traffic Police. They were executed by Mercury

The “e” was added, presumably to avoid trademark infringement.

Absolut Image from Bucharest Traffic Police and Mercury PromotionsAbsolut Image from AdbustersAnother attempt to get across the don’t-drink-and-drive message using the Absolut iconography was made by Adbusters, the Canadian anti-advertising magazine. Their ads make a similar point.
Do they work? Hard to say. It’s our contention that the decline in drunk driving over the last 30 years or so is the result of many efforts that go far beyond clever print ads. Strong enforcement of strong laws, including ignition interlock laws, has made a difference, as have sobriety courts, the educational efforts of groups like MADD, and a general decline in drinking culture.

Absolut Image from AdbustersThis does not mean that anti-drunk driving ads are just filling space. Far from it. There is evidence that certain ads do indeed inform the public and influence behavior. One good example is the Ad Council’s recent campaign that really seems to get the message across that buzzed driving is drunk driving.

Maybe someday the anti-drunk-driving world will have its Smokey the Bear: an identifiable image or mascot that symbolizes to the world the message. Until then, we’ll have to be satisfied with recycled vodka bottles.


Your Hump Day Recess: Every Wednesday LifeSafer brings you something a little different, related to the worlds of road safety, to ease your progress over Hump Day and through the week.
Previous Hump Days: a German Ignition Interlock spoof from 1960, our Top 10 Worst Crash Tests, a different kind of Anti-DUI message, Budweiser’s dogged anti-DUI campaign, How Not to Dodge a Parking Ticket, the world’s worst traffic jams, a dramatic buzzed driving PSA , an offbeat ad from New Zealand, the world’s worst car modification, Vince and Larry, our favorite crash test dummies, some excellent Soviet anti-drunk-driving posters. a lesson on how buzzed driving can ruin your love life, South Australia to Drunk Drivers: Grow Up!, a woman calls 911 to report herself for DUI, Felix the Cat and Drunk Driving,  DUIs who crash vintage cars – (ouch!), Woman Unwittingly Creates Self-Driving Car, Drunk Driving, Chainsaws and Weird Ads, A Brilliant PSA from Australia, and A Witty Road Sign From India.