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Imagine you’re at, oh, Public Bar in Dupont late one Saturday night, drinking a Bud, dancing with whoever. All of a sudden an artificially buff man dressed in a red spandex superhero costume (with underwear on the outside, ‘natch) loudly introduces himself as Soberman. He wants to know: Do you know how you’ll get home?
Soon, this could be your reality.
Checkpoint Strikeforce—-a multistate initiative to stop drunk driving—-launched its latest campaign in the Washington area Thursday, and Soberman is the not-so-subtle star of it all.
Soberman—-who would not give me his real name at a press event, though one of his bosses told me he’s an actor by day—-will randomly show up at bars in D.C., Northern Virginia, and Maryland. He’ll be accompanied by a police officer as he approaches unsuspecting patrons, asking them if they have a designated driver, cash for a cab, or plans to take public transportation. According to the campaign, which cited the National Highway Administration, in 2011 29 percent of all traffic fatalities in the District involved alcohol-related crashes.
If Soberman likes your transportation method, he’ll give you a prize, which could be anything from headphones to Macklemore concert tickets.
It is unclear how often Soberman will be roaming bars, but the campaign runs through New Year’s Eve and includes a $250,000 TV and print ad buy. The District Department of Transportation contributed $125,000 to the campaign.
Soberman, who say’s he’s “faster than a speeding Buick” with “powers of sober-detection,” made his party debut Thursday at The Bullpen outside Nationals Stadium.
Photo by Perry Stein