PLCB Ad Campaign Blames You For Your Friend’s Rape (Update: Rape Pulled From Ad)
The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has unleashed a new advertising campaign. It’s cool, hip, involves some interactive media and, oh right, makes “the case that if you drink too much, someone might rape your friend, and it will be your fault,” says Jezebel.com.
It’s called Control Tonight. And when you’re not spending your waking Internet hours laughing at LOL Cats, this site’s “choose your own deadly adventure” feature is second to none. Seriously. The Liquor Control Board has spent your hard-earned cash allowing you to control your own online story surrounding a night of drinking before the site digitizes the terrible ending and life-altering consequences of drinking with friends, at a bar.
So, let’s get started. I give the bot my name on the home page: “Randy.” I type in two friends’ names: “Sarah,” “Bob.” I click “Let’s do this,” and here’s what I get, immediately:
What? Next, I click “See how you could have prevented this.” As it turns out, our night went like this: Sarah and I had a tough day at work. We went out and drank “Redheaded sluts” (really?). Then Bob calls to meet up. We meet up with Bob, and he starts ordering margaritas. Sarah leaves us and makes out with a “skeevy” guy. She leaves with him. She gets raped, and it’s apparently very violent. Then she’s left for dead on a bathroom floor with her panties around her ankles. And it’s all my fault.
The ad campaign, created by the Neiman Group (offices in Philly and Harrisburg) in November, is starting to get some buzz and criticism from a series of folks. And we’ve got to assume some of them, if not all, probably haven’t been privy for all the PLCB’s mishaps, bloopers and basic out of touch-acrity in this state, which runs deep. (Anyone looking for a refresher, click here.) Though if Republicans have their say on this issue, the PLCB might not be around too much longer, anyway.
Until then, here are other possible scenarios Control Tonight brings up: alcohol poisoning, getting your ass kicked in a bar fight. That’s it. Drinking only leads to that.
It’s hard to imagine both the PLCB and Neiman didn’t have the best of intentions in place with their Generation Y/Internet-meme-age version of an after school special on alcohol. But the fact is, come on. Or, as Jezebel writes, “A lot of sexual assault occurs under the influence of alcohol, sure. And maybe they think that if only women would do their part to prevent sexual assault, it would stop happening. If only women felt worse about what could happen to them when drinking, they’d guilt themselves sober or something…Shock tactics aren’t necessary to increase awareness of the possibility of rape. We know what can happen after a night of drinking.”
And further, the whole thing (the rape scenario especially) stinks of “blaming the victim”—and the victim’s friends. Is it really worth reiterating how much blame for rape is on, say, the rapist who wants to rape? Probably not. (But the answer is most often 100 percent.) And, as the Jezebel post also notes, “[Rape is] not something the victim conjures up with a mixture of alcohol and phermones. It’s a deliberate act on the part of the rapist, a violation of another person…The sooner we acknowledge this, the sooner we’ll be rid of stupid, finger wagging ads like these.”
UPDATE: As of 6:05 p.m. tonight, the “date rape scenario” was pulled from the ad.