Johnnie Walker’s Drunk Driving PSA: Subtle as Bathtub Gin

Your Hump-day Recess:  A Throwback You Can Throw Back

Nothing like technology to bring alcohol education kicking and screaming into the 1950s. Diageo, a British alcohol giant that owns brands such as Johnnie Walker and Smirnoff, has launched a virtual reality drunk driving psa video campaign.

Armed with cutting edge film tech,  DrinkiQ, Diageo’s alcohol education division, decided to try a bold new approach: scaring people. That’s right: they would do what driver’s ed alcohol education films like “The Bottle and the Throttle” have tried to do since cars had split windshields and running boards: frighten kids with car crashes. Here’s the film.

Admittedly, the cinematography is more advanced than the old splatter films. Viewed with Oculus Rift goggles, as it’s meant to be, it would have a lot more kick. But will it do anything to keep drunk drivers off the road? We’re not convinced. And frankly, we’re used to better efforts from Britain, which has explored the psychology of drunk drivers in its attempts to get people to give this dangerous practice.

While the film is purportedly about the decision to drink and drive, the decision is already made when the film starts. It’s just a grand tour of a drunk driving crash from the inside of a car, with a full 360-degree POV.

We’ll put this down to the need to play with a new toy – VR – and we fully expect more brilliant drunk driving PSAs from Britain in the future. Meanwhile, let’s remember that decades of scary films didn’t do anything to get people to drive sober. Until we were able to move drunk drivers down on the social scale – actually make them ashamed to be doing it – DUI deaths didn’t budge. Now that we recognize drunk drivers for the jerks they are – and many drunk drivers recognize themselves as jerks – lives are being saved.

Find a way to show that in VR, and maybe you’ve got something.