Society may despise drinking and driving, but that doesn't mean that the ads attacking it have to be humorless or macabre. These 13 public service announcements get the message across better than the rest.
A few notes: This is by no means a complete list, merely the ads that have stuck in our memories of late. We've kept to print work and physical installations here, largely because that category was the easiest to pare down. If we've missed one, drop it in the comments below.
NOTE: Drunk driving is serious business and not to be taken lightly. Some of these ads may poke fun at the notion of drunk people, but death is no laughing matter. If you're drinking, stay off the road. Our lives, your life, and the lives of those you care about depend on it.
(Yes, young lady, you have had too much. No, we will not help you up. Please stop staring at our shoes. No, no, no, you may not... aw, come on! Did you have to do that there? Really? That's just... disgusting.)
Painted on the parking lots of various American high schools before prom one year. Nothing like being direct, is there?
It's a coffee table; you're handicapped; it's a coffee table; you're handicapped. A bit obtuse, a bit not. But clever.
[Lowe, Paris via Ads of the World]
A print ad developed for Russian Bear (what's wrong with us that we've never heard of this stuff?) vodka and placed in the bathrooms of bars in Europe. What appears to be Cyrillic/Russian lettering transforms into Manly Russian Sober Message in mirror. Da.
[Agency unknown, via BestAdsOnTV]
A Mothers Against Drunk Driving ad placed in bathroom stalls.
[Agency unknown, via Superfluous Necessity]
A simple, and surprisingly effective, European ad for Heineken. We can't help thinking that it would have been more powerful without the "When you drink..." line, but it works well enough as is.
[Agency unknown, via Toxel]
As the image says, these broken Christmas trees were produced by the European Charter for Traffic Safety in association with ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi and the Romanian police. Ten thousand were distributed in the weeks before Christmas in gas stations across Romania.
Dude, you're doing it wrong. Created for the New Zealand Office of Road Safety.
A roadside installation in Israel done on behalf of the Yarok Association for Safer Driving. The bottle is 60 feet tall and made of 80 wrecked cars; it weighs 15 tons and is exposed to over 1 million motorists per day. Not original — it's a take on this Russian piece — but effective nonetheless.
[Agency unknown, via Copyranter]
Another bathroom piece done for Arrive Alive.
Google-eyed Volkswagen New Beetle done for Berlin's Federal Ministry of Transport, Building, and Housing. The campaign took place in Germany; we have no idea why the lettering is in English. (Note: We've featured this one before.)
A Toyota ad from Saatchi & Saatchi. Note how everything — even the roadside — is on wheels. Subtle. And creepy. (Like the googly Beetle, we've also featured this before.)
A roadside ad done for the Mumbai traffic police. This is the kicker. Take a careful look at this image, and then blow it up (click the link) and take a look again. It appears to be waving, but it's not. This isn't a .gif or an illustration. It makes our heads hurt.
Don't drink and drive. Don't drink and drive. Don't drink and drive.