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Posted by: David Kiley on April 10, 2009
There is a firestorm over an anti-smoking ad that has run in the New York market. Some say the ad goes too far, even calling it “emotional terrorism.” Give me a break.
The ad was actually created in Australia and ran there for an anti-smoking campaign. It is running in the Big Apple as part of the city’s “NY Quits” campaign.
Anti-smoking ads have long been some of the most powerful ads created anywhere. And this is no exception. Why? Because the client is always hoping for shock value and to chill the viewer to the bone. They are trying to get under our skin, and not only move smokers to stop smoking, but to get family members to intervene.
Here is one of the objectors, Maria E. Andreu of NJ.com who apparently writes a parenting advice column, dishing out advice and commentary on why this is a bad ad.
“The question is this: why do we have compassion for people afflicted with all kinds of addictions, but have no problem with mercilessly guilting smokers with increasingly disgusting and cruel ads? Yes, smoking is a terrible habit that can ruin people’s health. But how effective are coercive ads in getting them to quit? They make us, the non-smokers, cluck our tongues in judgment and feel morally superior. “How could parents smoke and ignore the possible impact of their early death on their children?” we ask ourselves. But the truth is, they don’t ignore it. They live with the guilt every day. And the last thing we need is to use the airwaves to make them feel worse about it.”
Yeah. Whatever. Yikes.
The ad industry would be a healthier place if there were more clients for everyday products and brands who took a similarly fearless approach to engaging consumers with messages that matter.
The ad has people talking and blogging. If that isn’t the point of an anti-smoking ad, I don’t know what is.
News, opinions, inflammatory meanderings and occasional ravings about the world of advertising, marketing and media. By marketing editor Burt Helm, Innovation Editor Helen Walters, and senior correspondent Michael Arndt.