Friends Don’t Let Friends…
NEW YORK TIMES
By STEPHEN J. DUBNER
March 5, 2010, 1:00 pm
Some time back, I was giving a lecture and touched on the story in SuperFreakonomics about the perils of walking drunk. I reminded the audience that “friends don’t let friends walk drunk.” Immediately afterward, a woman approached: her name is Susan Wershba Zerin, and she turned out to be one of the creators of the original slogan “Friends don’t let friends drive drunk.” In the early 1980s, she worked at the Leber Katz Partners ad agency in New York and was the account manager on a pro bono anti-drunk driving campaign for the U.S. Department of Transportation. “Elizabeth Dole, the secretary of transportation, was our key contact,” she recalled. The phrase “Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk” was written as the campaign’s internal strategic statement, but it proved so memorable in-house that it was adopted as the campaign’s tagline.
Indeed, it was so memorable that I ripped it off for our drunk-walking story — and, as I learned recently from a newspaper ad while visiting California, a “DUI defense attorney” named Myles Berman has adapted it for his own purposes: “Friends don’t let friends plead guilty.” (Note that the phrase is trademarked.) I am guessing this was not what Elizabeth Dole had in mind.
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