Good Cause Bad Ads Essay

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Good Cause, Bad Ads? by A. Roy Between 1997-2002, the federal government has paid almost a billion dollars in taxpayer money on advertising that was aimed at kids to dissuade them from using drugs without much success. Should Congress provide more funding for such campaigns? If so, how should the new campaign be designed? How Do You Get Your Message Across? The U.S. Federal Government spent $929 million of taxpayer money on advertising between 1997 and 2002 to discourage kids from using drugs. However, a report commissioned by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy recently concluded that there was no evidence that the ads had an effect on youth and neither did marijuana use drop during that time frame. On the contrary, some of the 12 to 13 year olds surveyed for the study said that they were more inclined to smoke marijuana after watching these ads. There were more than 212 TV commercials broadcasted in both English and Spanish during shows that are popular with teens (e.g. MTV, sitcoms, and professional wrestling), and featured celebrities such as Dixie Chicks and Mary J. Blige. The campaign was developed by some of the best agencies from Madison Avenue, and was considered a novel step in public health advertising because it was directly aimed at kids. Moreover, it was supposed to have created a double impact since Congress had recently enacted a law requiring TV networks, and all other media to match (for free) each ad purchase. One 30-second spot, for example, called “Drawing,” implied that hobbies such as drawing could deliver a natural high. Another one used fear appeal by showing snap-shots of a model posing as a doped-up addict being wasted away to death. “No Skill” begins with some eerie bongs as background music, while a boy asks, “You gonna mess with that weed again?” as young kids shoot hoops and a stoned young boy shows up at a

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