South African men may end up being raped in prison if found drunk while driving, threatens a drink drive advertising campaign for which it has been severly criticized.
The television advertisement imitates lonely-hearts film clips, with burly and dishevelled men telling viewers, "I'm looking for a special person, someone who can handle heavy situations with a smile".
But the campaign has been attacked for making light of the country's problem with sexual violence.
One advert promises: "These hands will never let you go," before the camera pans out to reveal a prison cell crowded with inmates sprawled on beds and mattresses. The text on screen reveals: "They'd love to meet you. Never drink and drive."
The advertisement-made by local drinks firm Brandhouse Beverages and endorsed by the Road Traffic Management Organisation and the National Transport Department-has caused outrage among prison reform and sexual violence groups that said it mocked the plight of prisoners while joking about widespread rape in South African jails.
"The problem of prison rape is a very real and serious one and there seems to be little political will to resolve it. This advertisement is not raising awareness of the problem so much as saying that it is an extra form of punishment," the Telegraph quoted Rachel Jewkes, of South Africa's Sexual Violence Research Initiative, as saying. Meanwhile, Brandhouse Beverages has said its research had shown that 88 per cent of South Africans would be deterred from drink driving by the prospect of arrest and imprisonment.
"We wanted to create a campaign which didn't simply create awareness but changed consumer behaviour so that they never drink and drive again," they said.