Many people are calling it the worst ad created to make teenagers stay in school, so what is it about Learn for Life’s ad that makes it so bad? Learn for Life is a non-profit organisation in Western Australia that aims to promote “the importance of education for people of all ages” but their latest PSA has created a lot of bad publicity and given them a rather bad reputation amongst viewers.
I have focused a majority of my posts on this blog on brands or people that have successfully used digital marketing to expand themselves so I thought it would be good to write my last post about an ad that received a lot of backlash and hate instead of praise.
I’ve attached the ad in this post so you can watch it but I have to warn you it is a bit graphic and a little confronting.
The ad basically depicts a group of young teenagers ditching school to go hang out at the beach and as they are having fun, one of the teenagers blows up. Then the second blows up and then the last two are seen running for their lives out of fear and shock until finally the boy turns around and says “you’re slowing me down!” letting go of the girls hand and running off before he too blows up. This then leaves one girl standing there in shock before the camera goes to a sign by the beach saying
No Tresspassing Beyond This Point
Explosive Testing Site”
Before the words “This is what happens when you slack off” appear on the screen and we hear the girl blowing up in the background.
When I first watched this ad I was shocked and left with an uncomfortable feeling. I instantly wondered if this ad was a joke, like a parody or something and wondered if this ad had been shown on air. When I did a little research I was not surprised to find that this ad had received a lot of a negative reactions from viewers and I won’t be surprised if the ad is taken down from YouTube very soon.
Some of the comments on the video are particularly interesting and I think that some of them make a very good point.
User Matthew Clarkson wrote : “This was not funny at all. There are plenty of people around the world that have to deal with real situations like this in which there are old landmines from old wars that kill and mutilate innocent people every day. I don’t see the humour in this at all. How would you feel watching a loved one step on one and be blown to pieces? This isn’t education, it’s propaganda.”
In which another user Michael Kelm replied : “This was made by two comedians, it’s not a real PSA message. It’s not educational, it’s not propaganda, it’s a joke or commentary on the scare tactics real PSA commercials use”.
I chose to focus on these two comments more because from what I gathered whilst reviewing the reactions, comments and backlash against this ad these two opinions seemed to be the most popular ones.
I think that both of these opinions have a point. A lot of people may view this and dismiss it as a parody or something that is funny and smart because of the lasting effect it has while others will argue that it should have never been posted online in the first place.
I can see how Mr Clarkson and so many others would be offended by this PSA because the message it is sending is downright ridiculous. So if I don’t go to school I’m going to get blown up? Please.
I think the main aim for regular PSA’s is to shock and scare viewers which this has definitely done but for an organisation trying to promote education and with a tagline like “This is what happens when you slack off”, I can see a lot of people dismissing this ad, getting angry by it rather than seeing the funny side of it or seeing it as plain ridiculous.
I actually found this poll on buzzfeed and thought I would post it here to show some of the responses people clicked on. The top comment for this article was “Well that escalated quickly”, a common reaction amongst those on social media that are taking the piss of something happening that was not expected or blown out of proportion.
I am yet to see this PSA on television and I highly doubt that it will ever air after receiving so much hate online. I definitely think that this was a major fail by Learn for Life’s marketing team because although sometimes any publicity is good publicity, I do not think that belief worked in their favour this time!
I’m interested to see what this organisation does to redeem itself and whether people will be able to forgive them for this controversial PSA.
Well that’s it guys! Thankyou to anyone that has read these posts and commented down below, I really appreciate it!
I hope that you have learnt something about digital marketing, the good and bad, because I know I definitely have!
Till next time…