Although I attempt to not watch too much television during the week, I have had the misfortune of viewing some rather disturbing advertisements over the past few months. Typically, these advertisements are presented through an article by The Huffington Post or Time, or through a website like Change.org, rather than on a television screen during your family dinner. However, I have found that in bringing these advertisements to the laptop or computer screen of millions of people has become an even better campaign in decreasing deaths due to texting and driving or domestic abuse.
The following are a few of the violent advertisements I have found.
Caution: The majority show graphic images that are not suitable for all ages.
SET YOURSELF FREE | Learn for Life Foundation WA, Australia
Message: Don’t skip school
Presented to me by a fellow editor at The Spectator, this Australian advertisement showcases the inevitable effects on students who choose to skip school. Unfortunately, rather than actually showing everlasting effects, in terms of a lower G.P.A., a lesser chance to get into college or a high-paying job, this nearly two-minute advertisement ends with the four students blown up with truly gory and cheesy CGI at an explosive testing site.
When I first saw the advertisement, I was utterly horrified. Why would any marketing team believe that the basis of this advertisement would be appropriate? Instead of scaring students with death or gore, we should encourage them to do well in school for a better future. By presenting advertisements that scare rather than educate, we are simply taking away an opportunity for a message that could enlighten students, which only causes everyone to be stuck in their mentalities.
NATIONAL DISTRACTED DRIVING MONTH | U.S. Department of Transportation
Message: Don’t text and drive
First found when I was on Hulu, the 30-second ad warns against texting and driving. Focusing on three teenagers, the advertisement begins with the teens laughing and enjoying themselves in the car; the two girls in front participate in a crossword puzzle and the boy in back listens to music. Yet, within 10 seconds, everything changes; the driver checks her phone, focused on responding to a text and rushes through a stop sign. The car is hit on its side by a truck, and flips and smashes until it—and the advertisement—stop. The final words on the screen show: “If you’re texting, you’re not driving. #Justdrive.”
While I completely agree that texting while driving is completely heinous and should never occur, I find it incredibly disturbing that the U.S. Department of Transportation chose to only focus on the “threat” of teenagers. Sure, there have been a great deal of stories in the news about the carelessness of teens behind the wheel, but teens are not the only ones who text, or the only ones who cause accidents by texting while driving. I would much rather view advertisements that show apps to stop texting while driving, like iZUP or CellSafety. Of course, it is important to show the grave possibilities, but it would be more helpful to show options rather than just state the obvious sentiment that you’re not driving if you’re texting.
A WOMAN’S DAY #THROUGHGLASS | BANJO EYE FILMS, LONDON
Message: If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse, speak up and get help
In the two and a half minute advertisement, we begin the ad believing that this is simply an advertisement for Google glass, showing the day of a young woman in London. Yet, as we approach the halfway point of the advertisement, we realize that this is a demonstration of the reality of domestic abuse. The woman is blamed for being hit by her male partner and apologizes profusely; we finish the advertisement with the tagline “despite all of our progress, women still see this everyday. Think about it.”
The first time I watched the advertisement, either through change.org or mashable.com or a site like those, I genuinely believed that it was focused on Google glass. That made it even more disturbing and shocking once we saw the glasses literally knocked off our female protagonist. The subsequent time I watched it—for this column—I felt sicker to my stomach than shocked, because I know this is a reality for many women. Does this mean that both women and men are going to be shocked into speaking up? I don’t know—I wish that the advertisement had provided helpline numbers or websites for victims to check, but we are given nothing. Just a sense of dread for this grave reality that exists in all parts of the globe.
Although these are only a few of the advertisements that focus on these issues today, they are each incredibly important to view and discuss. Remember that these are important messages for our global populace, but also remember that in order to actually get results, we need to provide and utilize more resources that are relevant to our society.
Good luck everyone—I hope you all have taken away new and good lessons from these advertisements, which allow you to initiate your own discussion in the near future.
Currently in her third year at The Spectator, Grace Stetson is a junior at Seattle University majoring in English and Film Studies and minoring in Spanish. She hopes to use her experience from the paper in the journalism world after college, preferably with a Master's from Medill School of Journalism. Aside from all this writing business, Grace enjoys traveling, chai tea and adorable puppies.