From JOHNNIE WALKER® Glass Car commercial

From JOHNNIE WALKER® Glass Car commercial

Adweek published an article Thursday drawing attention to a TV commercial that urges people not to drink and drive. The commercial treads a fine line between promoting Johnnie Walker whiskey and discouraging drinking and driving, and you can see it at the end of this blog post.

As Adweek’s Tim Nudd writes:

It’s a brutal irony of the automobile: Speed and power are its strengths, yet they combine to make its occupants ever more vulnerable. It’s true of any driving, and especially true of drunk driving, when you are prone to errors that can have shattering consequences.

Iris Worldwide’s new responsible-driving spot for Johnnie Walker — tied to the brand’s sponsorship of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 racing team — expertly captures this dance between strength and fragility through a potent metaphor: a glass car. The 90-second, almost completely CGI spot shows hundreds of drinking glasses flying out of boxes, magically assembling in the shape of a race car and then breaking into a thousand shards — before coming back together in a powerful, beautiful plea not to drink and drive.

Diageo, makers of Johnnie Walker whiskey, launched the commercial, called “The Glass Car,” on November 22 for “Join the Pact,” a global campaign to gather one million commitments to never drink and drive, according to a press release appearing in The Wall Street Journal. Carolyn Panzer, director of corporate social responsibility for Diageo, says the whiskey maker released the commercial just prior to Formula 1 Grand Premio Petrobras Do Brasil Grand Prix “to remind consumers that, in life as in racing, control is everything.”

“Join the Pact” and the commercial ask people to use the hashtag #ImNOTdriving on social media to show their commitment to refusing to drink and drive. And in return, the press release says, the whiskey company pledges to give away 1 million kilometers (621,371 miles) of safe rides home worldwide.

Adweek reports that in addition to the commercial’s release on Youtube last November, the spot has aired on television in Latin American and will appear in other TV markets this year. In addition to Johnnie Walker, Diageo’s brands include Crown Royal, J&B, Buchanan’s, Windsor, Bushmills, Smirnoff, Ciroc, Ketel One, Baileys, Captain Morgan, Jose Cuervo, Tanqueray and Guinness, and are sold in more than 180 countries.

The Adweek article includes the following quote:

‘The film acts as a reminder of the fragility of human life,’ said Grant Hunter, Iris creative director for Asia-Pacific. ‘Ultimately it’s an alcohol brand stepping up to its responsibilities. And I like to think we’ve delivered it in a beautiful and considered manner.’

In 2012, 10,322 people were killed in the U.S. in alcohol-impaired crashes, fatalities that comprise 31% of all motor vehicle traffic deaths in the U.S., according to “Traffic Safety Facts, 2012 Data” (a 2013 report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). Fatalities from DUI crashes increased by 4.6%, from 9,865 in 2011, the report says, noting that there was an average of one alcohol-impaired driving fatality every 51 minutes in 2012.

Here is the commercial “The Glass Car”:

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