Murdering maggot a marketing pin-up

B&T Marketing & Media

Monday 27 March 2001

Mark "Chopper" Read has become Adland's latest pin-up boy, appearing in two current campaigns -- one for Black Flys sunglasses and now another for The Pedestrian Council of Australia (PCA).

The PCA has extended its "A killer is a killer" drink-driving campaign to include Chopper, having used Charles Manson in a previous ad, in a bid to shock people into not drinking and driving and to push for harsher penalties.

The TV commercial features Chopper describing himself as a "murdering maggot" and cataloguing his injuries for viewers to illustrate the dangers of going to jail.

PCA chairman Harold Scruby defended the council's use of Chopper as a spokesperson, saying civil liberties groups should be more worried about the 350 Australians who die as a result of drink-driving every year.

"He [Chopper] got more publicity than we could ever give him through his books and film," Scruby said. "He's being most derogatory about himself; it's not as if he's talking himself up.

"It's definitely controversial -- it was designed to be controversial. We asked [Saatchi & Saatchi] to give us a commercial that would cut through."

As well as reducing the drink-driving mortality rate, the PCA is hoping the ads will influence the judiciary in Australia to implement harsher penalties for repeat drink-driving offenders.

Scruby said the PCA was pushing for a "three strikes and you're out" approach, with fewer warnings handed out and a complete and mandatory loss of licence after three offences.

He said he'd like to see automatic jail sentences for offenders after the third conviction, effectively removing magisterial discretion.

Created by Saatchi & Saatchi and produced by Silverscreen Productions pro bono, the PCA is looking at extending the campaign into other media such as print or outdoors.

The campaign will run as community service announcements on Network Ten, the Nine and Seven networks, SBS and Foxtel.