Traffic police travel from tavern to bar distributing seemingly innocuous drink coasters bearing the pictures of younger, average looking Indian males and females.
Later that afternoon a patron enters one of these establishments, sits at the bar, and orders a beverage. When it arrives he takes a sip, and then places it on one of the randomly distributed coasters. Suddenly, red blood begins to pour down the face of the person on the coaster, and splotchy bruises and cuts are revealed across his visage.
Is this bar haunted?
Absolutely not; this is merely the latest novel attempt by Mumbai authorities to cut down on drunk driving. As the patron moves his glass to get a better look, words appear across the side of the coaster, “Just a Reminder: Drunken Driving Kills.” And thus, another life is saved, perhaps.
This new campaign is clever in its ability to directly target the market they are trying to reach. The people who are most likely to drive drunk are those who are at a bar, drinking, and who still need to get home. These coasters effectively place an ad against drunk driving right underneath their beer mugs.
The eerie nature of these coasters is obviously designed to get attention. Unlike similar campaigns in the US, where the message is often spread informally through facts, this campaign is almost entirely shock value. It is difficult to imagine anyone ignoring a scenario in which their coaster starts magically bleeding.
Unfortunately for the campaign, shock value is not always the best way to market something. Often in these cases the novelty of the way the message is delivered, overshadows the actual content of the message. In this way the bleeding coasters may actually harm the cause, desensitizing people to the violent nature of drinking and driving.