I'm not a massive TV fan, yet I've seen enough to have noticed that the UK we're used to being treated to a barrage of offensive advertising (apparently only women have digestive problems, all of which can be treated easily - and discreetly - by buying some tablets... rather than the glaringly obvious ploy of eating proper food. Except it's not really discreet because these ads lead one to assume that any woman you see on the street is silently suffering from either constipation, diarrhoea, or that good old fashioned 'bloated feeling'). We are also graced with some cheery awareness ads:
At present, there's a man who forgot to THINK! and is consequently being haunted by a ghoul-kid in the latest instalment of the consistently chilling 'kill your speed' series. Fair enough, he's earned it. Slick as these ads are, mostly you're left thinking 'ah, clever' and brush it off; they have yet to seep into my unconscious and into my dreams.
But guess what did? A dated-looking and decidedly non-slick Stroke (act FAST!) ad. It makes you squirm not only because it's nasty, but also because the NHS budget is clearly not as impressive as that of the DfT (or so they at least have to let us believe). Anyway, last night I had a truly heart-pounding nightmare where not only did my local cinema relocate itself, leaving me skulk along dark streets to find it, but once there my friend proceeded to emit strange sounds - I look to see what's going on only to be confronted with a whole new version of the Scary Face, as featured in aforementioned ad. Needless to say, the words 'must save as much as a person as I can' were spinning frantically through my mind, but alas, as in all dreams, not even a whimper could escape my lips. No one called 999, and I didn't even get a chance to fetch a glass of water (I know they don't mention it in the ad, but for some odd reason it seemed like a good idea in the dream). I then awoke, traumatised and scarred with a fear that everyone I have ever known is going to have a stroke every day and night for the rest of my life.
If nothing else, it's an interesting example of a not-so-well-put-together ad being more effective (by which I mean horrifying) than its more classically well made cousins. Maybe that's why it works?