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Perhaps even more surprising by today’s standards was the reverse of the square “DRINK CHANDY DRIVE" beer mat, which included a reaction speed test that encouraged drivers whose reactions weren’t all that they could be “not to exceed 45mph”!! (advice ignoring the fact that it is quite easy to cause a fatal accident whilst driving at less than 45mph or that driving at less than 45mph where the traffic is travelling at 60 or 70mph is more likely to cause an accident than prevent one!!) It also set itself up as being a test for telling whether one had had too much to drink to be safe to drive or not, as if playing a game on the back of a beer mat was a sensible basis for making that decision! The beer mat in question is shown on the left (click on the image to see it full size).

The “Drink Chandy Drive” slogan didn’t just appear on the above two beer mats, but also appeared in earlier more pop-art form on promotional ash trays (two variants as shown), a promotional beer tray as well as on another different beer mat.  

dcd tray pic1

'Drink Chandy drive'

Amazingly in 1970 Chandy produced beer mats as shown on the right which at first glance might be taken to read “DRINK AND DRIVE” because that’s what the black lettering on them said, with the crucial letters ‘C’, ‘H’ and ‘Y’ required to spell out the full slogan “DRINK CHANDY DRIVE” appearing in red, deliberately designed to blend in with the red triangle background and require a second glance.


Obviously drinking and driving was taken a lot less seriously back in the day, but Chandy’s playing fast and loose with the seriousness of drinking and driving raised a few eyebrows even back in 1970, as the following article that we’ve discovered that appeared in The Glasgow Herald on 9th July 1970 attests.



Beer Mat Slogan Criticised


An advertisement for a soft drink has been criticised by road-safety experts in Scotland. The words "drink and drive" appear in bold type on beer mats advertising the soft drink Chandy produced by Whitbreads. The full slogan is Drink Chandy Drive, but it is printed with the slogan in black and the other letters in red, merging with the background.

A spokesman for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents said:- "This is irresponsible advertising. It has probably been a bit of thoughtlessness on the part of the firm concerned."

A senior police officer in Stirlingshire said:- "We are doing all we can to prevent people drinking and driving and it is in bad taste for a firm to advertise in this way."

The managing director of Whitbreads in Scotland has not seen the advertisement. He said:- "It has been distributed by our soft drinks division in London and you will have to ask them about it."


© 2014-2024 Lewis Williams

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