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New Drunk Driving Ad From IDOT Will Drive You to Drink

By Karl Klockars in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 31, 2010 7:00PM

The Illinois Department of Transportation's "You Drink, You Drive, You Lose" advertising campaign has had some effective spots since its inception a few years ago. The ads featuring people branded as "losers" or the motorcycle helmets and vehicles filled with beer, are good examples of what works. The existence of visually dynamic, competent ads with real production values could be why this new spot we just saw, hyperbolically called "Dreams Shattered," seems so laughably amateur.

Let's take stock:

0:00-0:02 Shot of grave with digital-looking tombstone from a camera with vaseline smeared around the edges.* Voiceover basically reads the title of the spot.
0:02-0:05 Teary eyed presumed fiancee looking wistfully into the distance.
0:05-0:07 Bad music-video-esque shot of bouncing bachelorette party. What, no plastic penis necklaces or penis popsicles? Voiceover...basically reads a description of the scene.
0:07-0:10 Laughably ham-fisted "Larry the Cable Guy" clone drinking in his truck & driving around.
0:10-0:12 Red light seems to imply that drinking Cable Guy should stop his pick-em-up truck.
0:10-0:17 You can almost hear the blushing bride in the shotgun seat screaming "NOOOOOO" three octaves lower as the camera zooms in to imply Larry smashing into the car.
0:17-0:18 I'm no IDOT official, but that car doesn't look too bad.
0:18-0:21 Woman with ash smeared on her face, looking somewhat bored.
0:21-0:23 Bloody hand pokes out from under a sheet, conveniently near a tiara. Drama!
0:23-0:26 Larry the Cable Guy and his cliche-ridden overall-clad ass gets put into a squad car.
0:26-0:30 Cut back to gravestone, dramatically "engraved" with "KILLED BY A DRUNK DRIVER BURIED ON HER WEDDING DAY"

We get it! Dial back the pathos! If we drank every time we laughed out loud at this spot, we'd be well into the bottle at the thirty-second finishing line. How much do you think this spot cost IDOT?

Driving drunk is certainly a problem in the state, and we're not laughing at the thousands of people impacted by dipshits getting behind the wheel while wasted. But when the State of Illinois shows us how little they care about the distribution of the message, it's hard to take the root problem as seriously as it should be.

Screwing on our tinfoil caps, maybe they're implying that since they don't care too much about anti-DUI stuff, we can have a few beers and drive, thus upping the civic coffers with DUI fines and fees. Naaaaaah. We're not that cynical. Sadly, believe it or not, this spot represents an improvement.

*Pretty sure this effect is actually called "vignette."