The jingle in the video above is set to become one of the most annoying of the festive season. If that happens its executive producer, Thai businessman Sermsin Samalapa, will be delighted.
In fact nothing would make him happier if the lyrics stick in peoples heads 24-hours a day. Then, just maybe then, people will think twice before getting behind the wheel of a car or straddling a motorbike drunk and bringing misery to their family, friends, colleagues, and those of others.
Mr Samalapa would seem to be well on his way to achieving his goal. His appeal to people to share the 55 second video with their friends on social media has seen it viewed more almost three million times in the five days since it was uploaded to YouTube on December 19.
Themed around the classic Christmas carol Jingle Bells, the social commentary advertisement pulls no punches about road crashes and the dangers of drunk driving.
Released just ahead of the so-called ‘seven dangerous days’ on Thailand’s roads when millions of people travel home for the holidays, the chorus to the 160-year-old classic, also known as The one horse open sleigh, have been changed from jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way to “drink drive death, drink drive death, “drink drive, drink drive death”.
Sung in a haunting melodic voice, the chorus gets stuck in your head after just a couple of times watching the video.
The video begins with the camera gradually pulling back from an obscure, dark shape to reveal a human face chanting the words over and over, music and bells ring in the background.
The camera continues to pull back and begins rotating until it stops after a 180 degree rotation. It is only then that it becomes obvious that the person chanting the rapidly annoying tune is inside a smashed automobile… upside down… with emergency services personnel going about their work around it.
As the camera continues to pull back the seen of the carnage become clearer… even a group of people taking photos of a ‘dead person’ lying on the roadway, whose ‘distraught relatives’ are seen rushing to his lifeless corpse, just as a Happy New Year 2018 neon sign comes into view.
The video ends with a message in Thai about the dangers of driving when drunk and the words ‘Drink Drive Death’ in large letters emblazoned across the screen.
Interviewed by The Nation, published by Nation Multimedia Group Public Company of which he is the president, Mr Samalapa said “the film presents the fear that drink-driving can tragically turn the festive New Year holiday into a sad tragedy from road accidents”.
Drunk Driving Offences up 29.5% YoY
Citing Department of Probation (DoP) statistics, Mr Samalapa said that there were 4,342 drink-driving cases over the 2016/17 New Year, an increase of 29.5 per cent year-on-year (YoY) on the year prior, or 871 more offences.
Mr Samalapa said English-language is used in the advertisement “to ensure that the message reaches beyond Thailand, as drink driving is a worldwide problem”.
Also not pulling any punches is the latest video produced by Social Marketing Thaihealth, an agency under The Health Promotion Foundation (THPF), under the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB), responsible for raising awareness of issues using social media channels.
Its latest drunk driving social commentary commercial is made in true Thai ‘sadvertorial’ style, and begins with a funeral, tearful family members cry over a coffin, fatherless children, childless parents.
In a classroom, tearful children sing a sombre song, an empty desk negating the need for English language. Scenes of actual road crashes flash into view, cut with frantic scenes at a hospital emergency room, before focusing on a mother, caring for her vegetative state son, the victim of a road crash.
The 60 second video ends with the wife and young children looking forlornly at a man behind jail bars, their drunk driving killing father, and husband, before cutting to images of empty beer and village whisky bottles.
|The latest drunk driving social commentary commercial by Social Marketing Th, an agency under The Health Promotion Fund (NESDB) Inside Edition|
Just Another Seven Dangerous Days on Thailand’s Roads
Last year 478 people were killed on Thailand’s roads over the 2016-2017 New Year period, an almost 26 per cent year-on-year (YoY) increase over the year prior. Accidents increased 17.7 per cent over the same period a year earlier, with 3,919 road crashes seeing 4,128 people injured.
According to police figures almost 67,000 people were arrested for drunk driving – which was blamed on 36.6 per cent of all road crashes – and more than 4,000 vehicles – some 75 per cent of which were motorbikes – were seized.
However, anecdotal evidence based on figures compiled by Thailand’s Ministry of Interior (MoI), Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), and the Road Accident Victims Protection Company (RAVPC) Limited, indicate that the average of 68.28 people killed per day over the 206/17 New Year period, are only marginally more than the 61.25 people killed daily over any other seven days on Thailand’s roads.
Authorities have vowed a stringent crackdown on law breakers this year, though once again a threat to ban people from travelling in the back of pickup trucks has been sidelined ‘due to the hardship it will cause people’, though sitting on the sides of the backs of pickup trucks while they are in motion is banned.
Authorities have vowed a show of force comprising 90,000 police, volunteers, and the Royal Thai Army (RTA) totalling some 200,000 people manning checkpoints and rest areas nationwide. All 5,000 Thailand police breathalysers will be deployed, Police General Wirachai Songmetta, deputy Thailand national police chief has said.
Meanwhile, Bangkok Metropolitan Police (BMP), have vowed to make the capital ‘helmet city’, and even have 1,500 loaner helmets provided by private organisations and civil networks that people detected riding (driver or passenger) a motorbike without a helmet will be given for seven days, during which they need to acquire their own. They will also be fined Bt1,000 (about US$30.54)
To those of our readers who observe it, we wish you, your families and friends a Merry Christmas, and a safe and healthy 2018.
Feature video Sermsin
- 4 Seconds to Death on Thailand’s Deadly Roads (HD video) (AEC News Today)
- Playboy Bunny Fearz Poonnada Killed Drunk Driving in Thailand (video) (AEC News Today)
- Cambodia’s Roads Just Got More Dangerous (video) (AEC News Today)
- Tougher Penalties Coming For Drunk Driving in Vietnam (video) (AEC News Today)
He has spent extensive periods of time working in Africa and throughout Southeast Asia, with stints in the Middle East, the USA, and England.
He has covered major world events including Operation Desert Shield/ Storm, the 1991 pillage in Zaire, the 1994 Rwanda genocide, the 1999 East Timor independence unrest, the 2004 Asian tsunami, and the 2009, 2010, and 2014 Bangkok political protests.
In 1995 he was a Walkley Award finalist, the highest awards in Australian journalism, for his coverage of the 1995 Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) Ebola outbreak.
Prior to AEC News Today he was the deputy editor and Thailand and Greater Mekong Sub-region editor for The Establishment Post, predecessor of Asean Today.
In the mid-80s and early 90s he owned JLF Promotions, the largest above and below the line marketing and PR firm servicing the high-technology industry in Australia. It was sold in 1995.
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