Thursday, September 30, 2010


AdFreak posted this creepy-as-hell PSA intended to combat child obesity in Australia:

I am just as concerned as any parent about the poor eating habits so many people are teaching to their kids. But comparing feeding them junk food to injecting them with... well... junk? It's offensive on so many levels.

He'll soon start mugging people to support his Happy Meal habit.

First of all, the occasional fast food burger is relatively harmless, and does indeed contain some nutrition. Second, heroin addiction is way too serious a social issue to be treated so lightly. Third, as I keep saying, shock and shame advertising is rarely effective in social marketing.

If you're going to call people bad parents for doing something completely ordinary, you are really unlikely to reach anyone who really needs the message. There are better ways to inspire change.


  1. The occasional heroin shot is relatively harmless, remember the stories about Amercan soldiers in Germany who took a shot occasionally.

  2. Wow, really do not like that ad!!

  3. Marc, this is one epic crossover!

    I'll C&P my comment from Osocio:

    This campaign just happens to bother me on a strategic level. For the advertiser to make such an out-of-whack comparison reduces their credibility. It’s like PeTA comparing eating a hotdog to committing genocide - too big a difference for anyone but a zealot.

    A closer comparison would be something saying that feeding your kids McDonald’s is like giving your very young kids cigarettes or beer. Still a leap, but a much shorter one.

  4. That is unbelievable. I agree that this kind of advertising doesn't work, and also agree that even within this genre, the leap is too great.

  5. I agree that this sort of advertising is ineffective, but I don't think the leap is too great. Both drugs and shitty food are both likely to cause difficulties and health problems in the future. The fast-food burger has a greater negative effect on health with a single dose, however. Clean heroin is non-toxic at a normal dose, but very addictive.

    It isn't just poor families that eat like that. Even wealthy families feed their kids mcdonalds because of the convenience (and addictive food additives). The shame/blame approach might be a little more effective for those families, but it further disempowers the families that don't feel like they have many other options. Many families just need a little support and some good ideas to get them on the right track. It isn't hard to feed a family reasonably delicious food, working mainly with spices, bulk grains, beans, etc. Its hard as hell to make the transition if your kids are already addicted to their burgers, fries, and coke 3-5x a week though..