Friday, February 12, 2010

Spinning The View

As much as I creatively like the new anti alcohol ad by Wieden and Kennedy, it feels like it suffers from the same major flaw of all of these campaigns. It only speaks to one of the two audiences.

It tries to speak to kids and parents, but just ends up talking to the parents. Kids already know about the dangers of alcohol, maybe not in full detail but they know they might do silly things and end up having a crazy night; that's half the reason they do it.

All these anti-alcohol campaigns ever do is alarm the parents, which in some senses is worse because will just encourage the kids to rebel even more.

What really seems to be needed is something that make taking stupid drunken decisions seem a really uncool thing. This ad gets closer than most, but why not show old hideously unfashionable adults doing the same thing? Why not make kids think that being drunk and stupid is their parents idea of a damn good crusties night out?

Kids are kids. You can't say 'you musn't do that' and expect them not to be interested!


neil christie said...

This ad only targets children. It screens in cinemas with films appropriate to the target age. There is a separate ad aimed at parents that airs on TV. Here it is:

The two ads are part of the same campaign but target different audiences in different ways. Hopefully that clarifies things.

Rob Mortimer said...

Hi Neil,

Thanks for commenting! Don't get me wrong, I like both of the ads and think they are tackling this message better than I have seen it done in recent years.

My criticism is more about the way in which these things have always been targeted by governments. A lot of kids aren't ever going to stop getting wasted because an ad tells them it's dangerous, no matter how good that ad. Because of that it will naturally end up speaking to adults more.

I do think by targeting kids and adults seperately you have taken a good step in the right direction. I look forward to seeing where you can take the rest of the campaign.

doug said...


of course paid-for communication is only ever going to achieve a fraction of what needs to be done in total to help combat these problems. these spots are stage 1 of a 30 year vision (thirty years!) to maximise the number of children who grow up to have a safe and sensible relationship with alcohol. They are intended to help establish the context, to initiate the debate, and to get parents and kids thinking a bit more about the issues that irresponsible and excessive drinking amongst young people / people under LDA.

What we'd never, ever say is 'don't drink'. Even if that is the aim amongst kids who aren't legally old enough, it would be the worst thing you could do. Anything that's gets preachy just won't work.

Also - on your point about showing kids acting stupid/unfashionably - the problem that we've found with that type of stuff is that it can actually have a paradoxical effect. Kids/YP often get drunk 'for the story' and as such messages that focus on being stupid / idiotic / embarrassing with the intention of putting people off actually run the risk of having the reverse effect.

In other words: it's a very tough challenge!

(but from a planning point of view, fascinating)


Rob Mortimer said...

Thanks Graham!

I think it does those things well, as I mentioned to Neil; I can't think of any similar ads that have done the job better. It's more about the concept of telling kids about danger, because as you say they almost want to be dangerous, to have those drunken stories.

I agree about being preachy, the reason these work is because it avoids being preachy or trying to be 'cool'.

My thoughts were less on showing kids being stupid and more on the Chinpokomon South Park line that anything your parents think is cool are instantly uncool to kids. So by making it look like crusty old parents love those things you make them think twice.

It's definitely a tough but fascinating challenge, it's good to discuss it with some talented minds! Cheers

doug said...

apologies for the typos, btw. the iphone is sitting on the naughty step as I write.... :)