The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has started to circulate anti-smoking advertisements, which is a great public service. However, the way they are going about it, in these commercials, is a bit graphic. I have seen the commercials played during family oriented movies and television shows where the ad is not only irrelevant, but also quite inappropriate with young children watching. What is it about these commercials that make them so undesirable?
It is not that they are undesirable as much as they are graphic and send chills up your spine during the first view of it. And this thing is, all viewers can see what CDC wants to accomplish with these ads. They are bone-chilling because they are attempting to prevent potential future smokers and inform current smokers of the challenges they could face if they did not quit now. The campaign is called "CDC: Tips from Former Smokers," which features a different person whose appearance has become disheveled due to the fact that they smoked and did not stop. It sounds normal so far, right?
Well, did I mention the shock value of the commercial? The first of the CDC commercials I saw was one featuring a middle-aged woman by the name of Terrie. Her face was crinkled up, she had no hair, no upper teeth, and had a stoma in her neck. A stoma is basically a hole in the neck that assists a person with a certain illness (in the case, throat cancer) to help them breathe and release drainage. Her voice was badly altered because of her many years of smoking, and you could honestly not understand her. You watch as she gets ready for the day: she puts in her fake teeth, puts on a wig, covers her stoma with a plastic piece, and then covers that with a skarf. This may not sound freaky in description, but watching it will certainly change your mind (link to video below).
There is a big problem with CDC's ad campaign and that is that they are not targeting the correct audience. While they seem to be targeting everyone, in which only 20% of everyone smokes, they should be targeting potential, past, and present smokers. A young child should not be exposed to such a specticle. Honestly, I feel that though Terrie is a brave woman for putting herself out there like that and attempting to stop the smoking fad, her appearance and voice would give a young kid nightmares after watching it. The commercials are good so long as they are used in the correct way. In my opinion, at this time, they are not being utilized to their potential.
CDC: Tips from Former Smokers- Terrie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=5zWB4dLYChM
For More Information: http://rturkarticles.blogspot.com/2012/05/new-cdc-smoking-ad-campaign-too-much.html