Christmas drink-driving campaign shuns shock tactics

Humour is at the heart of the latest instalment in the government's Think! anti-drink driving campaign, with friends in a pub having a kickabout with a set of car keys.

The key message of the "Time to tackle" film is: don’t let your friends drink and drive. It has already had more than 12,000 views and several hundred engagements since its release at the end of last week.

The spot, created by 23red, shows a group of friends out drinking when one of them announces that they’re off home. This prompts an exchange of looks between the rest of the group, who then proceed to kick the car keys out of the hands of their friend and show off their footballing skills – accompanied by samba music. 

It ends with the keys being volleyed into a pint glass held by the pub landlady, who shouts: "Right, taxi!" As the friends hold aloft the pint glass like a football trophy, a message says: "A mate doesn’t let a mate drink drive." 

The campaign, which is targeting 17- to 24-year-old men, is the latest stage in the #MatesMatter awareness programme and is being promoted on social media.

Young men are disproportionately involved in drink-driving accidents, according to the Department for Transport, with 280 young men killed or seriously injured due to drink-driving in 2016. On average, men aged 17-24 are 24 times more likely to die or be seriously injured than drivers aged over 25, and four times more likely than women of the same age.

The film is one of three that have been made for the latest campaign. Another shows a couple kissing, ignoring everything around them until a man picks up his car keys and goes to leave. They break off from their embrace and the boyfriend kisses the man as the girlfriend takes the keys and says: "Someone’s getting the bus home."

The spots will be shown online and social media during the Christmas and party season until 3 January, as well as at football grounds, on Spotify and in pubs.

The campaign is informed by a recent RAC survey, which revealed that more than two-thirds of people would urge their friend not to drive if they thought they were over the limit. 

Laura Kane, deputy head of marketing at the DfT, said: "Peers and mates are hugely influential in the lives of young people. Our latest Think! campaign leverages these relationships to tackle drink-driving at Christmas – a time when social drinking is at its peak. Rather than communicating with the driver, we’re talking to friends."

Road safety minister Jesse Norman commented: "The simple message is that friends need to step in and stop their friends from getting behind the wheel after drinking."

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