New Ad Council “Party Foul” Anti Drunk Driving Ad Is … Well …

Your audience might be young. They might even do dumb things. But they are not dumb. This is a good thing to remember when putting together an anti-drunk-driving campaign.

The Ad Council has been responsible for some wonderful campaigns – in the U.S. the campaign against drunk driving has been accompanied and abetted by many ads which offered increasingly sophisticated ways to look at the problem. Now there’s this:

Created by Merkley+Partners, “Party Foul” might as well be a demo on how not to reach your target market: find a current slang expression and employ it in a clumsy, obvious commercial that will win over no one.  Be sure to overdo the slapstick so it doesn’t even seem realistic, because teens respond to that, right?

No one said this job was easy. Too many young people drink and drive, and nothing seems to get through to them. We recently found out that teens who don’t drink and drive are still likely to ride with another impaired driver. The highest percentage of drunk drivers involved in fatal crashes are drivers between 21 and 24.

But a problem this serious deserves serious thinking, and ads that engage, and don’t insult, the intelligence of their intended audience.