Tuesday, August 2, 2011

How not to do an anti-pregnant-smoking PSA

Save Your Child from ParkhausPictures on Vimeo.

#1  Do not be too obvious (the "mysterious" coughing was not exactly a teaser)

#2  Do not try to guilt people into action (the melodrama, the "consequences")

#3  Do not overstate your case (it's like you're smoking your baby!)

These are really standard social marketing mistakes, and yet people keep making them. The last thing a pregnant woman addicted to cigarettes needs is shame and blame. She needs hope and help.

And this is not helping.
The problem with this kind of advertising is that it takes the perspective of people who do not do this kind of thing, and can't understand why anyone would. So they express their concern in a dramatic and damning fashion.

Meanwhile, the person who is smoking while pregnant feels assaulted and isolated, and rebels by hardening her resolve against those who clearly do not understand what she is going through. (Instead, she'll rely on anecdotes from likeminded friends whose babies were "just fine.")

And if she does the research for herself, she will find out that smoking is bad for the baby, but not to the extent that it is portrayed in the ad. At which point, she will have totally dismissed the message, and will blissfully continue smoking in denial of the real risks.

Advertiser: Save Your Child (Denmark)
Via Illegal Advertising

1 comment:

  1. I hate this stuff (and the smirky-smirkers who look at pregnant women sideways when buying cigarettes) - It insults the intelligence of people, especially pregant women by presuming that we don't actually KNOW smoking is bad and that if we only KNEW how bad it was, we'd magically quit, because, you know, it's not like they're addictive or anything. (speaking as someone who quit for her first pregnancy but still smoked on occasion for her second)