The truth behind the "designated driver" advertisements

Internationally recognized activist Jean Kilbourne, EdD reveals truth behind the "designated driver" advertisements and other hidden messages from tobacco and alcohol branding.
The truth behind the "designated driver" advertisements | Kids in the House
KidsInTheHouse the Ultimate Parenting Resource
Kids in the House Tour

The truth behind the "designated driver" advertisements

There are virtually no federal regulations regarding tobacco or alcohol advertising. The tobacco industry voluntarily got off television a long time ago because it didn't want to be up against the counter ads, the ads that were talking about the health consequences of smoking. And the alcohol industry has some voluntary guidelines which is not showing people actually taking a drink and not advertising hard liquor on television, although that's certainly beginning to change. But the alcohol industry and the tobacco industry want people to think that they're very concerned about these issues and so they come out with what they call prevention programs. But these programs are actually designed to encourage drinking and smoking by young people. For example, the alcohol industry loves the designated driver because they don't lose a dime. The designated driver and all the ads that encourage having a designated driver really basically says that you can't have a good time unless you get drunk, so you better have somebody in your party who's not drunk to drive you home. So the underlying message is really encouraging high risk drinking, encouraging a whole lot of drinking, and the alcohol industry never talks about any of the other consequences of high risk drinking such as addiction or alcohol poisoning or sexual assault or any of the other problems that are so heavily associated with alcohol use and high risk drinking.

Internationally recognized activist Jean Kilbourne, EdD reveals truth behind the "designated driver" advertisements and other hidden messages from tobacco and alcohol branding.


Expert Bio

More from Expert

Jean Kilbourne, EdD

Author & Social Theorist

Jean Kilbourne is internationally recognized for her groundbreaking work on the image of women in advertising and her critical studies of alcohol and tobacco advertising. Her films, lectures, and television appearances have been seen by millions of people throughout the world. She was named by The New York Times Magazine as one of the three most popular speakers on college campuses...

She is the author of the award-winning book Can’t Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel and So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood and What Parents Can Do to Protect Their Kids. The prize-winning films based on her lectures include Killing Us Softly, Spin the Bottle, and Slim Hopes. She is a frequent guest on radio and television programs, including “The Today Show” and “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” She has served as an advisor to the Surgeon General and has testified for the U.S. Congress. She holds an honorary position as Senior Scholar at the Wellesley Centers for Women.

According to Susan Faludi, “Jean Kilbourne’s work is pioneering and crucial to the dialogue of one of the most underexplored, yet most powerful, realms of American culture —advertising. We owe her a great debt.” A member of the Italian Parliament said, “Hearing Jean Kilbourne is a profound experience. Audiences leave her feeling that they have heard much more than another lecture, for she teaches them to see themselves and their world differently.”

She has received many awards, including the Lecturer of the Year award from the National Association for Campus Activities. A more unusual tribute was paid when an all-female rock group in Canada named itself Kilbourne in her honor.

More Parenting Videos from Jean Kilbourne, EdD >
Enter your email to
download & subscribe
to our newsletter