Ads Held Hostage!

December 20th, 2007

Today’s New York Times has an article on what has become a very controversial pro-bono ad campaign.  The campaign features ransom notes to deliver messages about child maladies such as ADHD and autism with parents as the audience.  Here is a quick sample. “We are in possession of your son.  We are making him squirm and fidget until he is a detriment to himself and those around him.  Ignore this and your kid will pay.” -ADHD

Turns out, “advocates for children with autism and for other special-needs children said the ads reinforced
 negative stereotypes.”  End result: the ads are getting cancelled.This cancellation brings to mind a few things worth pointing out:

Realizing that people associated with these ailments are constantly seeking to create awareness, perhaps these bold methods have the potential to do more good than bad?  They may prove more powerful than the same old inspirational stock photos with a tag along the lines of “Building awareness one child at a time.” 

It’s interesting that the campaign cancellation is what generated press.  Maybe the cancellation wasn’t such a bad thing after all?  I mean, here we are talking about it, right?  And it got some coverage, right?

Finally, Dr. Harold Koplewicz of the Child Study Center said, “that this is the first time that the issues of children’s mental health has gotten attention without being precipitated by a shooting at a high school or college.”  And since that is the ultimate goal, the campaign, as short-lived as it was, should perhaps be considered a success.

Posted Under: Advertising, Point of View Marketing
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