An anti-drunk driving campaign in Tennessee has received a lot of negative feedback for its sexist message.
According to The Tennesseean, the state’s Governor’s Highway Safety Office began a campaign to help prevent drunk driving through the use of coasters and fliers. Many found the campaign’s slogans sexist, including Nashville resident Sarah Staples. On July 9, she tweeted out these photos of one of the campaign’s coasters:
Along with the photos, Staples publicly shared her disgust of the campaign.
Staples told The Huffington Post in an email that she decided to share her view on the campaign after being encouraged by her friends and co-workers.
"Even if it never gained traction, someone had to call it out as wrong," she said. "Across the board it's been recognized as offensive and irresponsible."
Another slogan used in the campaign, which was used on a flier, reportedly read, "After a few drinks the girls look hotter and the music sounds better. Just remember: If your judgement is impaired, so is your driving."
After The Huffington Post reached out for comment, the Governor’s Highway Safety Office sent a statement from Kendell Poole, the office’s director. In it, Poole clarified that the campaign's marketing was "designed to grab the attention of the young male demographic" and was never intended to "be insensitive or insulting to women."
Read the full statement below (emphasis included in original statement):
The Governor’s Highway Safety Office would like to apologize for any offense caused by the 100 Days of Summer Heat Booze It and Lose It Campaign. Because one of the goals of many Booze It and Lose It campaigns is to reach our high risk driving population, the marketing is often edgy and designed to grab the attention of the young male demographic. It was never the intent of the GHSO to be insensitive or insulting to women.
The GHSO receives federal funding to change driver behavior through education and enforcement. No state dollars are used for the marketing of campaigns such as Booze It and Lose It or Click It or Ticket.
The table tents, posters, and coasters in question will no longer be distributed and are being removed from bars across the state. The cost for the production and distribution of these materials was $77,096. The cost for the removal of these materials will be paid for by The Tombras Group, the Knoxville media/marketing firm that is under contract with the Governor’s Highway Safety Office. The Tombras Group has also removed the micro-website that was designed to be a companion to the bar materials.
The goal of the Governor’s Highway Safety Office continues to be reducing crashes and saving lives in the state of Tennessee. Impaired driving continues to be the preeminent danger facing motorists across the nation.
Kendell Poole, Director
Governor’s Highway Safety Office
The Tennessean also reports that a section of the office’s website called "Legends of the Stall" accompanied the campaign and featured behaviors like "binge drinking" and "cleaning up vomit with a cat." As of Monday night, the section was no longer available.
Also on The Huffington Post: