Everything will kill you
Published: Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 03:02
Would seeing the potential effects of cancer displayed graphically on a cigarette package dissuade you from smoking?
The government in Australia thinks so. Every time you pull out a cigarette you are faced with a disgusting, cancerous mouth complete with sores and gaping holes—and it’s all in color.
Public service announcements down under are vivid, and New Zealand seems to be competing for the prize for the most disturbing. Anti drunk driving ads show scenes of horrific crashes and bleeding children.
You would need a strong stomach to continue on in your errant ways after watching these advertisements, but the success of these ads has made the New Zealanders overzealous. There is no need to traumatize viewers with trivial warnings.
Here’s an example of a commercial-style public service announcement I saw in New Zealand. A loving mother walks through the living room talking about a juice box as her children race through the room. She touts the benefits of brand X and the screaming voices fade away.
Then she takes a fatal step. Her son has left his toy car on the floor among the other scattered toys and the mother steps on it. Her feet fly out from under her and she flies into the air. She crashes down, taking out a coffee table.
The camera pans back and a deep, serious voice reminds viewers to pick up after their children.
So, I get the drunk driving ads and I can see why the government of New Zealand would want to follow Australia’s example with the cigarette packages. If all goes as planned these packages won’t even have brand names, only close ups of a toothless, cancerous mouth glistening with spittle. That will reduce the allure of smoking, but applying the same logic to things like tidying up is a bit excessive.
I’ve never heard of a toy-related fatality such as this.
If someone communicates everything through yelling, eventually people start to tune all that yelling out. Imagine if the news media here approached every story as if it were the end of the world—oh wait, they do.