It’s not about not-drinking

On a cold rainy night, Josh meets Kay for their second date. He has been lonely for a while now and is more than thrilled to have a second chance in these lovelorn-interviews of life. Two drinks later and a catch-up on their week, the second date has gone well and ends with a harmless peck on the cheek. He then calls his friends to find out where they are and heads off to meet them because, well, good news is shared news, right? Beaming and excited, it feels like his insides have woken up and he loves it – he hasn’t felt this good in years. A couple more drinks later, Josh decides to call it night. Glowing, he feels he’s had enough new interactions for the day and should sleep soundly. Little does he know… he won’t be getting much sleep at all.

Screaming, disbelief, red-and-blue lights and the exchange of questions-and-answers as lives are torn forever is what follows for Josh’s evening. Not what he had planned. Not what anybody in these situations would have planned. You could be Josh and this story could be yours. This is exactly what agencies like Mercury 360 in Bucharest and Agency Filadélfia, Belo Horizonte in Brazil are communicating with their latest offerings in the plight to highlight awareness around the repercussions of over indulgence (and then some).

With alcohol being the third leading cause of death in the USA, it is no surprise that the need for awareness around this topic may never let up. In South Africa, they say that for every seven cars you share the road with at night, one driver is drunk. Hence the global need for communications like these – powerful in their own right and with a focus that draws attention to the reality of what happens in the aftermath. There has to be better ways to meet new people – a message from the Bucharest Traffic Police. This is a hard-hitting reminder that no amount of fun can be worth the unfolding drama that may follow an accident caused by alcohol consumption.

Agency Filadélfia, Belo Horizonte’s execution for the AA is a chilling reality-check that alcohol addiction isn’t fussy: it can happen to – and affect anybody. It’s about who bears the scars other than the obvious culprit. People who have families, homes and love – things that can be lost in a moment.

I don’t think that these ads can be argued in a ‘for’ or ‘against’ manner. That’s not the point. And, come to think of it, I don’t think I have ever seen a weak execution of a public service announcement in this category. If you aren’t sold on the image then the copy is the clincher. And in terms of television commercials, there are plenty out there to grab you by the bootstraps and make you see.

For the most part, the overarching theme that any of us can connect with is what works. You may know somebody, be somebody or fear somebody that abuses alcohol. It’s never fun and the after effects almost always live longer than the abuse and over-use does.

It’s not about not-drinking. It’s about knowing the difference between wanting and needing.

Do you think the war will ever be won?

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