This week I have been made aware of two PSAs. The first and the main subject of this article is from the Ontario Ministry Of Health and deals with that most maligned of habits - smoking - and in particular the somewhat unjustifiable modern trend of 'social smoking'. The second is a film from Serbia highlighting the effects of domestic violence.
The films couldn't be more different and it is within that difference that I would like to champion the Canadian effort. The domestic violence video is extremely powerful and very well put together using a classic viral 'one-face-a-day' format to get a very serious and important message across to the viewer.
This is the Canadian PSA:
I already mentioned smoking in the intro so if you haven't seen it I apologize for ruining it slightly, but as you can see it's a great video that goes for the 'belittling' tactic over the classic tried and tested 'guilt' tactic. That's not to say that the ads we see constantly with mutating cigarettes, orphaned children and rotting lungs aren't important - the shock tactics are generally considered to work over comedy - but it is wholly refreshing to see a different and humorous perspective on an anti-smoking advert.
The video production is lucky in many respects because the focus of the piece is 'social smoking' an activity which if you think about it, or even try to explain it is probably one of the stupidest things you can do with your life. However, this is where they can have some fun.
The futility of the activity makes them ripe for derision without requiring the need for a shocking conclusion - You couldn't do an ad about a guy who breaks wind fifty times a day and then accuse him of being in denial about his habit. Or could you? Could we have a better way to approach PSAs here. Granted it is not the first comedic attempt but there are certainly far too many mawkish ones out there. I'm looking at you Peta. Celebrity + Cause = Lazy. Lets get more creative with our PSAs people!
Here's a bonus clip for all the nibblers out there: