Postcard from... Bredene


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The Independent Online


It’s simple really: if you are a Belgian called Bob, you are the designated driver while your mates have a boozy night out.

But if you happen to be called Rob, your task is the much grimier one of cleaning up after one coastal town’s canine population.

At least that’s what the advertising brains behind two separate Belgian public awareness campaigns would have you believe.

But the Belgian Road Safety Institute is not having any of it, and is accusing the resort town of Bredene of stealing its idea.

Competing key fobs appear to be at the heart of this bizarre Belgian dispute. The road safety body has been running an anti-drink driving campaign for years, for which they hand out key fobs emblazoned with the word “Bob”.

The idea is that the designated driver has one, and according to the Flanders News website, the phrase “I’ll be Bob” is now commonly heard on a night out. Apparently keen to emulate Bob’s success, the municipal authority in Bredene decided to issue key fobs shaped like dog excreta printed with the words: “Rob, clean up the dog mess”.

Flanders News reports that the Belgian Road Safety Institute was so incensed by the unauthorised homage to their campaign that they demanded Bredene change its key fobs.

The city has bowed to the pressure and redesigned the font, keen to avoid any legal challenges.

Whether or not Bredene’s Robs will take up the challenge is another matter.