A new anti-DUI campaign by the Governor’s Highway Safety Office, which involves distributing materials in bars, is being criticized as sexist by some, reports The Tennessean.
One of the fliers reads: “After a few drinks the girls look hotter and the music sounds better. Just remember: If your judgement is impaired, so is your driving.” On coasters, there are comments such as a declaration that finding out “a marginally good-looking girl” later is “chatty,” “clingy” or “your boss’s daughter” as a sign that maybe a man has had too much to drink.
Despite what some are calling a sexist message, Charlie Bob’s waitress Tiffany Cannon, who recently found the campaign’s coasters and fliers at the Dickerson Pike bar Saturday, said the most offensive words were written below the slogan, “Paid for by the TN Governor’s Highway Safety Office.”
“My first reaction was cool, we got free coasters,” said the 25-year-old, who also works as a bartender at the restaurant. “But then one of my customers pointed out what was on them, and my jaw dropped.”
After an inquiry by The Tennessean, the office sent a statement from Director Kendell Poole that took credit for the advertising campaign, saying it was intentionally designed to reach the “young male demographic.”
“We take feedback from the public seriously and want to thank all of those who have reached out to share their opinions with us,” the statement said. “It was never the intent of our office to offend anyone. This new initiative was designed to reach the young male demographic, who are statistically more likely to drive under the influence. Well-known adages, like dating the boss’s daughter, were used to grab their attention within the bar environment. Our office continually experiments with new strategies in order to be effective with various target demographics, and we will be closely monitoring the results.”
“They were anti-feminist. It was ridiculous and rude to both genders,” said Cannon, who became even more angry minutes later when she walked into the women’s bathroom and found a flier with similar advertising glued to the wall.
…Businesswoman Laura Creekmore, of Creek Content, a Nashville content strategy consulting company, said she has been in marketing for 20 years and is shocked by what the Governor’s Highway Safety Office has done.
“I’m all in favor of being snarky in a campaign, but you don’t have to be sexist to do that,” she said. “It is unfortunate for the young men of Tennessee if we think we have to be sexist to get the message across. When people see one of these slogans in a bar, they don’t understand the context of the campaign, they just see the message in front of them.”
The governor has not responded to requests for comment, nor has the Governor’s Highway Safety Office identified the firm that created the campaign or disclosed the cost.