New drink-driving ad is sexist

Last updated 05:00 30/05/2012

That new drink-driving ad? Where three men walk in the door pissed, and the Cheryl West-esque mum starts harping on at them about their drink-driving? And they all sort of roll their eyes, and one guy laughs and another one says "this is awkward" and we're told at the end: "Stop the family driving drunk: Legend"?


Let me count the ways.

1. It's sexist. It makes the woman ('Donna', in this case) responsible for doing the nagging. Because women are GREAT naggers, right? Nagging is our favourite. Naggity nag nag nag. Our second-favourite thing is stopping our menfolk having fun. Nothing like bringing down the party!

2. Again with the sexist. All the men in the family act like overgrown toddlers. Drunk, stupid, slobbery toddlers who can't be told what to do, or make sensible decisions for themselves. Could we not have had one man who actually acted like a grown-up? (Without mentioning 'mantrol', thanks).

3. It takes all responsibility away from the people actually doing the drink-driving. It's the sober person who gets landed with the guilt and the worry. The sober person who gets told it's her job to fix everyone else. And that if she fails her family will die.

4. You kind of wind up not minding if her family dies. They're awful. They're caricatures. They're just drunk dudes, not real people at all.

5. In a roundabout way it says that drink-driving every now and then is OK. Donna says "you're driving pissed too often". Not "you're driving pissed". As if there's a quota of drink-driving that would be OK.

6. The ad paints a hopeless picture. 'Stop your family driving drunk,' it says - while at the same time saying, 'Ha! You're trying to stop the family driving drunk? Yeah, never gonna work, they're just gonna laugh at you.'

Here's the full NZTA explanation for the ad

In short, they say men under 24 are involved in 40 per cent of alcohol-related crashes, and this ad targets their families. "We want to encourage and persuade the wider family to stand up and do something to change an ingrained pattern of behaviour of those they care about. We want to show them that they have a part to play in helping a drunk driver make the right decision."

Sure. I get that. But why pick the woman? Wouldn't those drunk young men take more notice of a man they respect, than the woman/mum who's always nagging them? And wouldn't that have been a handy way to avoid the double helping - nagging woman, infantile man - of sexist stereotypes?

Do you have a different take on this ad? Did it work on you? Can you see how it might work on other people?

Post a comment
Amy   #1   11:02 am May 30 2012

Ummmm, I think you're reading into this WAY too much. Sexist? Bahahahaha.

Jane   #2   02:42 pm May 30 2012

"Wouldn't those drunk young men take more notice of a man they respect, than the woman/mum who's always nagging them?"

I disagree. A lot of young men are dickheads, but most of them respect and listen to their mothers.

Think you're getting a bee in your bonnet about nothing.

A Husband   #3   03:28 pm May 30 2012

"Naggity nag nag" - just because it's sexist doesn't mean it's not true.

Mince   #4   11:25 am May 31 2012

Run out of things to write about have we?

moo   #5   10:15 am Jun 01 2012

Oh dear, Catherine.

Please find something better to blog about.

El Jorge   #6   12:34 pm Jun 01 2012

Pleased you have spoken out about this one Catherine.

The family looks like a cross between bogans and the Rafters, the mum is trying to be a strong matriach like Sheryl West (failed that one luv) their house looks like nouveau riche house (North Shore/Hibiscus Coast) but they have an Eames chair (very expensy) in the lounge and the TV sound system looks pricey.

In other words, its all over the place like a mad womans excremant and there doesn't appear to be a target audience. Plus having Danny Mulheron, a semi-known *ahem* 'comedian' as the father doesnt give the ad any more weight. He cheapens it further.

gazza   #7   01:32 pm Jun 01 2012

I do agree about the line "your drinking and driving too often"...struck me as a very strange way to word it.

The other issues are probably just one of those unfortunate things...not intended to come across sexist but annoying none the less.

Hilary   #8   03:04 pm Jun 01 2012

It's fingernails on the blackboard material for me. It has a really old fashioned feel to it, and the thinking - such as it is - harks back to the old prohibition era and the idea that women get to be the moral compass for society. Presumably the men of the time were in too much of a drunken stupor to remember. Sad to see we've apparently not made much progress. Much more useful to stop advertising alcohol and constantly associating it with the high profile sports so enjoyed by the young men the ad wants to influence.

Catherine Woulfe   #9   08:04 am Jun 02 2012

Thanks for the thoughtful comments, those of you who were thoughtful. This ad is still bugging me, and I'd like to emphasise that it's not purely because of the way women are portrayed. I'm sick of seeing men made out to be toddlers ("feed the manchild") dimwits (the dithering husband in those Countdown ads) and one-dimensional barbecuing/driving/rugby watching machines (Mantrol).

Samy   #10   08:18 am Jun 11 2012

I think you have over thought this advertisement....very often in a lot of homes where I come from down south the mother figure in the house is the voice of reason. I think the ad is great, and if it ha s managed to get you to think about it as extensively as you have then I think it's done it's job.

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