Real advertisements get real results

Methamphetamine isn’t a joke. Every year thousands die from illegal use of the drug. Its abuse is a serious issue, which is why the anti-meth public service announcement advertisements on TV are just as serious. Advertisement agencies are waking up to this “serious approach” and more and more harsh-reality warnings are showing up during commercial breaks. But do they work?

Telling someone not to jaywalk repeatedly is one way to help reduce the chances that they will ever jaywalk. But how effective is that? Ever seen a toddler do exactly what you tell them not to do? Show that same person (not the toddler) a video of someone jaywalking getting hit by a car and they’re likely to never cross the street again. Brutality seems to have a good way of representing reality, and, sometimes, it takes a few doses to wake people up.

Waking people up to the reality of smoking is the goal behind a new anti-tobacco campaign by U.S Health officials. The new advertisement series called “Tips From Former Smokers,” features paid advertisements and public service announcements designed to encourage smokers to quit and to thwart would-be first timers.

The ad series depicts people suffering from illnesses related to smoking. The subjects’ stories tell of the horrors that come with dealing with sickness due to their tobacco use. These ads are designed to help combat the excessive $10.5 billion spent by tobacco companies on marketing.

Now meth and tobacco aren’t really in the same ballpark when compared. In fact, they aren’t even the same sport, but the same techniques used to stop the two should be the same: harsh and real. For too long, anti-drug and tobacco advertisements have danced around the subject by being overly suggestive and flawed, boasting ideologies of “smoking cigarettes won’t make you popular” (uh yeah, but it will kill you, that’s probably important,) and “marijuana will make your dog talk to you” (but he will be disappointed in your reckless behavior). These ad campaigns don’t even come close to stacking up to the “Meth: Don’t try it once” anti-methamphetamine campaign.

The anti-meth commercials (if you haven’t seen one yet) are gruesome depictions of what happens to users of meth. The message is always the same: Negative reactions happen when you do negative actions. This is something any teenager can understand — not that marijuana makes dogs talk to you.

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