A commercial featuring a young girl at her father's burial after being killed by a drunk driver is raising eyebrows in the capital city.
The ad was released two weeks ago by the UFCW, the union representing over 3,500 state liquor store workers, and has been playing on television stations statewide. There is a radio version to match, all in an effort to block liquor privatization.
But in the 30 second TV spot, after the girl at the burial, the group claims that Pennsylvania has the lowest death rate associated with alcohol consumption in the nation. Then, it urges people to contact their local state senator to vote down privatization. The ad finishes with a narrator saying, "We don't want other children to loose their parents."
"The commercial gets to a point that is a valid point about the impacts of privatization," said Wendell Young, president of UFCW Local 1776.
Others, however, including the Commonwealth Foundation, a conservative think tank, calls the ad a bottom shelf effort. The issue is not with the claim itself, it's the context.
"The ad is clearly referring to someone who was killed by a drunk driver. Then, it refers to a statistic that has nothing to do with drunk driving. It's clearly misleading to how that statistic is being used in the context of this ad," said Nathan Benefield, director of policy analysis for the Commonwealth Foundation.
The Pennsylvania DUI Association supports the commercial.
"When we are comparing apples to apples, Pennsylvania is by far better than any of the privatized states in the whole United States," said C. Stephen Erni, executive director of the Pennsylvania DUI Association.
The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry weighed in, denouncing the commercial and called it misleading and nothing more than a sideshow in the liquor privatization debate.