A new public service announcement by the South African alcohol beverage company Brandhouse, warning of the perils of drinking and driving, is perhaps a more powerful argument against copywriting while drunk. It’s also more evidence of the garden variety racism that circulates in South Africa’s advertising industry and in polite circles. For those clueless to South Africa’s realities, the PSA basically warns white men what could happen to them if they are caught drinking and driving: They’ll get raped by black men in prison with big arms, no teeth and lots of tattoos. At the next award ceremony, here’s hoping it takes the prize for “most offensive stereotypes in under 60-seconds.”
Columnist Chris Roper very ably rips the ad apart in the (South African) Mail & Guardian. (It is instructive to read the comments on Roper’s piece too.) It just makes us want to drown our sorrows.
BTW, on garden variety racism: Earlier this week, Annelie Botes, a white South African novelist awarded a literary prize named for a black writer, was asked by a reporter whether there was any group she does not like. Without hesitation, she deadpanned: black men. Serious. —Brett Davidson and Sean Jacobs