Saturday, August 22, 2009

Fascination with the Abomination Makes for Despicable Advertising

Yesterday, someone I follow on Twitter issued a tweet to this video. WARNING: it is graphic, disturbing and gruesome.

The point of the video is to show what horrible things can result when you let yourself get distracted by your mobile phone when you're driving. This is something I also feel strongly about: if someone is calling when I'm driving, I'll most likely let the call go to voice mail or, if it's a call I have to respond to, I may answer, but only to explain that I'm driving and will call back when I arrive at my destination.

Yet, I despise advertising that resorts to terrifying people. This will happen to you unless....etc. I don't believe graphic depictions of teenage-girls getting mutilated in a car accident is the right way to warn people away from using their cell phones while driving. If this tactic works, and I don't know that it does, it ends up leaving me feeling depressed and no longer giving a crap about cell phones at all.

In some ways, it's a lot like advertisers who develop such incredibly creative and appealing ads for television that viewers forget to associate a particular brand with the ad simply because there is such strong entertainment value in the images.

The two are a lot alike. Except that ads that rely on scare tactics are cheap and indulge in our base fascination with violence.