In 1982, Anheuser-Busch became the first brewery to promote responsible drinking, launching a series of ads telling its own customers to "Know When to Say When." Thirty years later, Frito-Lay has decided it doesn't trust you to know when 'when' is, so it has released a tortilla chip bag that tells you when you've had too many to be on the road.
Once you've inhaled all of the chips in the Tostitos "Party Safe" bag, it doubles as a DIY Breathalyzer, detecting what AdWeek describes as "small traces of alcohol on a person's breath." When you exhale into the empty bag, the steering wheel on the front will stay green if you're good to go, or turn an angry red if it thinks you should stay on the couch or take an Uber instead.
The bag is a collaboration between Frito-Lay and Mothers Against Drunk Driving, who hope that it will keep the roads safer in the hours before and after the Super Bowl on February 5. Each Party Safe bag has an Uber code that's good for $10 off your ride home that night and, because you might struggle to remember how your hands work, its integrated near-field communication (NFC) technology, which means if you can just manage to touch the bag with your phone, it will call that Uber for you.
"For a football fan, there is a lot of emotion involved with a game," says Roger Baran, a creative director at Goodby Silverstein & Partners, the ad agency who designed the bag. "It's easy to drink more than you planned. And a lot of times all you need to stop short of driving after drinking is a friend who calls you off. On Sunday of the big game, we want Tostitos to be that friend."
Baran is probably right to suggest that we could all use a friend that night, regardless of whether we're pulling for the Falcons, the Patriots, or we're just watching to see all the embarrassing prescription drug commercials. According to a 2003 study by researchers at the University of Toronto, there is a 41 percent increase in motor vehicle accidents in the hours after the Super Bowl, including a jaw-dropping 70 percent increase in accidents in the first hour immediately after the final whistle.
Also, according to post-game research from BACTrack, the maker of smartphone Breathalyzers, its users averaged an above-the-limit 0.84 blood alcohol content during the fourth quarter of last year's Super Bowl.
Those University of Toronto scientists suggested that the Super Bowl's sponsors "subsidize public transit after the telecast" in an effort to keep drivers safer. Ten-plus years later, a Tostitos bag that helps you get your ass in an Uber is probably a step in the right direction too.
But, as a rule of thumb, if you have to ask an empty bag of tortilla chips if you're too drunk to drive, then you're definitely too drunk to drive.