Tennessee Government Scrutinized for Sexist Ad Campaign

Highway Safety Office Apologizes, Halts Campaign After Backlash

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The Tennessee Governor's Highway Safety Office has come under scrutiny after a DUI ad campaign was released this past weekend. Critics have called the campaign's depiction of women sexist and offensive.

The campaign was created by the Tombras Group of Knoxville, which has worked on campaigns like "Click It or Ticket" and "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" for the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission. Materials for the campaign were released throughout Nashville over the weekend, and cost just over $77,000, according to a report from The Tennessean's Natalie Neysa Alund.

"Coasters and fliers for the ad campaign started popping up at bars across Nashville this past weekend, boasting slogans that refer to girls looking 'hotter' when guys are under the influence and finding out 'a marginally good-looking girl' later is 'chatty,' 'clingy' or 'your boss's daughter' as signs that maybe a man has had too much to drink," Ms. Alund's report stated.

The site where the campaign was hosted now features a 404 error page, and the state issued an apology Tuesday afternoon. Kendell Poole, the director of the Tennessee Governor's Highway Safety Office, apologized "for any offense caused by the 100 Days of Summer Heat Booze It and Lose It campaign," according to a statement cited in Ms. Alund's report. Mr. Poole also said the Tennessee government is working to remove the materials from the bars.

The Tennessee Governor's office said Tuesday that Governor Bill Haslam had not seen the ads before their release and "'is pleased that it has been suspended,'" according to a representative of Mr. Haslam's office cited in Ms. Alund's piece.

The campaign targeted young men with taglines like: "'After a few drinks the girls look hotter and the music sounds better. Just remember. If your judgement is impaired, so if your driving,'" according to The Tennessean's initial report from Ms. Alund and Jordan Buie.

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