SAAQ campaign highlights ‘gifts’ that nobody wants

Who: Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ), with lg2, Gorditos, Circonflex, and Touché! for media.

What: “Nobody wants that for the holidays,” the organization’s latest holiday-themed campaign about the dangers of drunk and high driving.

When & Where: The campaign launched today and runs through Jan. 3 on TV, radio and social media.

Why: While it’s unclear what kind of impact the pandemic will have on drunk and high driving this year with fewer cars on the road (in June, for example, Toronto-based law firm Mass Tsang noted a “stark drop” in DUI-related offences in the city), this is prime season for drinking and driving.

How: The creative uses misdirection, opening on typical holiday scenes of gift exchanges before an abrupt shift in tone. In one of the TV ads, a man gives his roommate a joint and his car keys because he said he wanted a spinal fracture. In another, a woman gives her husband a bottle of gin with his car keys, because he said he wanted a skull fracture.

The radio ads employ a similar technique, opening on people making standard wish-lists containing items like smart watches, turntables, books, new headphones, etc. before transitioning into a car crash resulting in a broken back and long-term side effects, or a long stay in the hospital (see and hear all the creative below).

And we quote: “The holiday season is a time for gift giving, so we used this tradition as a way to highlight the consequences of driving under the influence. Given the current context, we wanted TV viewers to imagine the worst that could happen rather than show them outright. The aim is to make them a little uncomfortable by reminding them of the fatal consequences of driving and consuming.” Félix-Antoine Belleville, copywriter, lg2.

Chris Powell