GASPAR NOE SAYS HELLO: ADVOCACY AS SCHOCK THERAPY
When issue campaigns go for the shock effect, all kinds of dust is raised and the debate never ends whether the approach helps or hurts in “reframing the debate.” My hunch is that a prolonged onslaught of these tactics, provided everything else is in its place, works quite well. Controversies of particular tactics are long forgotten if issue trends are on your side and you ride the wave without breaking it. The story of what happened to the U.S. public opinion on tobacco in the last two decades is an example.
From the frontlines of the battle for the moral real estate in your head, here are a few issue campaigns, via AdFreak, that push the envelope. Three are supposed to give you ulcers and are what I call Gaspar advocacy; one reaffirms whatever needs it whenever you end up watching it.
HIT THE BITCH – Denmark
What a storm caused. That the execution could be better and or that this or that could have been done differently, all that aside, I’m not sure this is quite the end verdict on a campaign that got many talking (just watch a guy actually use the site):
Finding new, exciting, and creative ways to tell men that they shouldn’t hit women is tough, ain’t it? Which is probably why a Danish anti-domestic violence group came up with this ill-advised “Hit The Bitch” web campaign, in which users are encouraged to repeatedly punch a woman’s face until, eventually, they’re admonished for being “100% Idiot.” Really? “Idiot” is the best anti-domestic violence finger-wagging insult they could come up with? And really, what’s the point? To make the user feel guilty for punching this innocent woman’s face, just to see what would happen? I didn’t go to Advertising Douchebag University, but something tells me that the first thing you learn there is that if an ad campaign is at all confusing, you have totally effing failed.
CHILD ABUSE – Italy
Case De Manor is both a home for and an advocacy organization for sexually abused children. On their behalf, McCann Milan is behind a new campaign that stood out with ads like this and a classic of a PSA ad, The Burden (2009):
SEXUAL ABUSE – Germany
Along the same lines, maybe even more brutal, comes this: a German organization that works with sexually abused children, Dunkelziffer, commissioned this ad from Red Rabbit. Creepily well done. Full credits here.
FATHER INVOLVEMENT – United States
This is a classic by now. You should know Ad Council: