Magazine article Marketing

Adwatch: Department of Health - 'Smoke Ring'

Magazine article Marketing

Adwatch: Department of Health - 'Smoke Ring'

Article excerpt

It isn't the people begging on the streets of London that's a problem, it's the chuggers who wrestle you to the ground and hold you tightly in a headlock until you agree to sign a direct debit.

The truth is that it's incredibly difficult to get people to care about serious things that don't seem to affect their daily lives. That's why people's hearts must sink when they see yet another charity or public-service ad. They know they're either going to be cajoled into giving money or giving up something they really enjoy doing. The poke-in-the-eye approach no longer guarantees success, whether on the streets or in advertising. We've recently been helping Shelter bring the UK's bad housing shame to the nation, and believe me, it's really hard to get people to give a toss.

One alternative is irony. Greenpeace's recent cinema ad features Eddie Izzard as a ruler of the universe deciding the earth's fate. It's hilarious and provocative. As any comedian will tell you, the best comedy is tragedy with its trousers down, and it's somehow far more revealing too. …

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