Skip to main content

apparently, sex isn't the only thing that sells

with the assistance of some friends, i have dreamed up some pretty bizarre advertising campaign ideas in my time, the kind of thing that no one in their right mind would use to advertise anything. however, as i get older, i'm beginning to think that these ideas were just well ahead of their time.

this afternoon, taking the subway home, i happened upon a new campaign from the workers safety insurance board of ontario. i can only assume that the imagery is meant to target teenagers, but the ads are a peculiar mix of gory imagery (severed ears with ear phones still inserted, young man trying to use a playstation with the bloody stump of a severed arm) and singularly unfunny prose. of course, it's just possible that the advertising world has run out of ideas and finally started to take advice from people like me, who would rather get a reaction than sell anything. (if you know what i do for a living, you can feel free to giggle at that.)

so it seems that i may have a brilliant future in advertising after all. would you like to hear about the tums antacid campaign that features an aztec heart-eating ritual?

Comments

Joe said…
Well I do write ads for a living, and I think that's a terrible campaign.

If it's purpose is to make kids more work safe, trivalizing injuries by making them cartoonish and amusing seems counter-productive.

Sometimes people in the media business are too hung up on being creative, new and innovative and forget there are tried and true methods that work pretty good. Showing real people with real injuries tells people it can happen to them and they need to take precautions. Not as amusing to the critics, and it won't win any awards, but it would actually, I dunno, prevent a few workplace accidents.
My personal issue with work safety is that in most cases, its the fault of the company, who does not care about anything beyond productivity and will gladly turn a few corners to squeeze an extra buck. Most of the time, the first victim is training, because its all costs and no short-term returns.
Lack of training is particularly dangerous towards teenagers, who are perceived as cheap labor and absolutely disposable.
As in politics, our greatest failure is complete lack of basic leadership. And as for the ads, they are fine. They are rather similar to the warnings of cigarette packs, showing the results of smoking; the result of unsafe work practices is that you lose a limb. Simple message, simple equation, high impact; I believe that makes it a good ad campaign, reaching to the audience in a language they'll understand. Isn't that the point?
flora_mundi said…
there was a similar misfire i found in an anti-drunk driving ad campaign in the usa last year. it was made to be funny. many times, humour helps an ad, but in certain contexts, it weakens the message.

ironically, the wsib had an extremely effective campaign, featuring true stories that touched on causes of workplace accidents. i'm left wondering what happened.
What happened is simple: businesses don't like being pointed out when they screw up. Its so much simpler to blame it on obscure "market forces"...

as long as you're here, why not read more?

fun-raising

no, i am not dead, nor have i been lying incapacitated in a ditch somewhere. i've mostly been preparing for our imminent, epic move, which is actually not so terribly epic, because we found a place quite close to where we are now. in addition, i've been the beneficiary of an inordinately large amount of paying work, which does, sadly, take precedence over blogging, even though you know i'd always rather be with you.

indeed, with moving expenses and medical expenses looming on the horizon, more than can be accounted for even with the deepest cuts in the lipstick budget, dom and i recently did something that we've not done before: we asked for help. last week, we launched a fundraising campaign on go fund me. it can be difficult to admit that you need a helping hand, but what's been overwhelming for both of us is how quick to respond so many people we know have been once we asked. it's also shocking to see how quickly things added up.

most of all, though, the ex…

losers?

just a short time ago, i waxed prosaic about trump supporters who felt betrayed by their candidate pursuing in office the exact things that he said he would. short version: i have no sympathy.

today is a bit different. in the wake of america's bombing of a syrian air strip, in response to a chemical weapons attack by the syrian government, my facebook and twitter feeds were peppered with plaintive shades of "we believed you". these are the people who heard trump say that he wanted the united states to step back and focus on defending its own. indeed, trump did say such things, over and over; america cannot be the policeman of the world. even arch-liberal cynics like me had to admit that this was a refreshing argument to hear from someone outside the paul family, and, could easily have been turned into trump's greatest argument against hillary clinton. [he chose to go another way, which also worked.]

trump also said, repeatedly, that america needed to invest heavily …

long division

after the united states election last year, there were the usual calls for the country to unite behind the new president. that never happens anymore, because, since george w. bush scored a victory in 2004, having launched the country into a war in iraq for no reason, the people on the losing side of a presidential election have been pretty bloody angry about it. democrats hated bush 43. republicans really hated obama. democrats really hate trump.

it didn't help that trump didn't make the typical conciliatory gestures like including a couple of members of the opposite party in his cabinet, or encouraging his party to proceed slowly with contentious legislation. barack obama arguably wasted at least two and as many as six years of his tenure as president trying to play peacemaker before he felt sufficiently safe to just say "screw you guys" and start governing around the ridiculous congress he was forced to deal with. not-giving-a-shit obama was the best president in …