Hard News by Russell Brown


Home, straight

Roadside drug testing is likely to be a reality sooner or later – and that means there will be public-service TV commercials created to warn would-be drugged drivers of the legal, moral and physical consequences of getting behind the wheel.

But how will they look? What will they say? A quick scout of YouTube suggests that in order to find and hold their target audience, drug-driving ads need to be, like, a bit trippy. Check out the ‘Eyes’ ad grabbing headlines this week in Britain:

I assume I’m not the only one who thinks it’s founded on a very ropey premise: the idea that the eyes are the window not just to the soul but the central nervous system, and will inescapably give you away – even to a policeman driving the other way on a rainy night.

Still, it was taken seriously in the ITN News report:

The “eyes have it” premise is given another run in this interesting clip demonstrating the Field Impairment Assessment:

The Brits do have shock ads too. From last year, Dead Girl Talking:

It still feels like it was designed by people who didn’t know much about the subject. This ad, from the Australian Transport Accident Commission, is far more authentic:

The TAC’s newest focus is not on bug-eyed club kids, but middle-aged stoners. This one has a nasty twist:

Intriguingly, we have had one of these ads ourselves – ACC helped fund it with the Candor Trust. But because it was not politically correct to acknowledge that anyone actually smokes pot, ACC declined to let its branding go out on the ad:

But let’s end with an ad that doesn’t set out to shock or scare – and which might be all the better for it. Mothers Against Drunk Driving funded this don’t-drive-while-you’re-high ad in Canada:



Last night’s Media7 is available now at TVNZ ondemand.

The show opens with a pretty frank exchange of views between me and Keith Slater, producer of the TV3 documentary Let Us Spray. (The reporter, Melanie Reid, was overseas, but you can get a feel for her view of the issue, and her opinion of scientists, in this 2008 Star Times story.)

The panel that follows includes a really worthwhile contribution on Let Us Spray from Marie McNicholas before moving on to more general questions about journalistic awards.

And there’s some light relief at the end, as Iain Stables and Muzza Inglis come in to talk about the tradition of the radio “shock jock”. There’s supposed to be some additional run-on content from that too, but it hasn’t appeared yet.

Hey look: the first Media7 Extra. Yay.

A tune or two …

I’m not a great fan of Peaches, but her remix of The Bird and the Bee’s ‘Fucking Boyfriend’ is totally choice.

And my other favourite now is Metric’s ‘Gimme Sympathy’, from their Fantasies album, which I have duly purchased.

This blog post gathers a bunch of radio sessions they’ve done, and includes a Dylan cover.

And, just for Danielle, Notorious B.I.G. ‘Party And Bullshit (Ratatat Remix)’.

Because sometimes we all need to do that.

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