Johannesburg - Liquor company Brandhouse has welcomed the Advertising Standard Authority's dismissal of several consumer complaints against its Drive Dry campaign advertisements.
"The anti-drunk-driving campaign which ran during December 2010 dramatises the possible consequence of landing up in prison, and most worryingly, who you could end up sharing a cell with," Brandhouse said in a statement on Thursday. Brandhouse owns 40 alcohol brands including Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker, J&B, Bell's, Windhoek, Heineken and Captain Morgan.
The campaign, using consumer research, was based on the belief that the prospect of arrest and incarceration would be a powerful deterrent to drunk driving.
Brandhouse said it considered "the hard-hitting approach" justified in the light of South Africa's significant drunk driving problem.
Consumers complained the adverts were offensive as they were insensitive towards rape victims, were unsuitable for young audiences, condoned rape in prisons and discriminated against men by implying they were the only ones who drove drunk.
Brandhouse's corporate social responsibility manager Phumza Rengqe said the strategy behind the campaign was to change people's behaviour.
"The attention around this advert has got South Africans talking and thinking about drunk driving, particularly over the high-risk festive season," she said.