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Anti-drug Advertising Directed toward Teenagers Essay

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Many children can quickly recall that eye shutting public service announcement that sends thrills through their body. The advertisers are looking at every single detail and for good reason, they have to get into the viewers head and make it relevant to them. Using techniques such as fear, specific characters for the target age group and a setting suitable for the commercial, ads can create a life changing experience. To truly examine the differences and similarities between ads and how they’ve changed over the years, the ads being presented are selected from different periods in time. Culture and style change constantly and marketers must follow this trend to impact their target audience with effective strategies.

The teenage mind trembles when thinking of a childhood fear or experience. The diving board ad displays a common childhood anxiety of jumping into a pool that lacks water to catch the diver, leaving the imagination to determine the fate of the helpless diver. This commercial was aired in the United States because this is a family oriented fear which can be discussed among a family and leaves a lasting impression. Simple but deadly scenarios were more thought upon back in the 1980’s compared to the present day, where murder and far more bizarre events occur on a regular basis. The more current commercial involving cocaine is extremely graphical and wasn’t aired in the United States, but rather in New Zealand. America is considered a family oriented country, and this commercial is not within the family oriented range of entertainment. This takes the approach of modern day fear to a whole new level by showing a man essentially wasting his brain on drugs. The actor removes brain matter from his head; the brain matter re...


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... but it shows a close up of his face. This close up changes the view that the viewer saw at the beginning of the commercial by adding a unshaved face, meaning he is unkempt and resembles a homeless person. In the diving commercial the pool is empty, implying she is on her own and even though her friends brought her into it, there’s no one there for her once she gets into the world as an addict.

“Teen drug use in exactly the campaign's demographic has dropped sharply - there are over 800,000 fewer American teens using drugs…”(2) This striking but true statement is a product of break through advertising strategies, and over the years researchers have developed new ways to help adults and teens stay away from drugs. By using fear, the ads setting, and incorporating actors that pertain to the target audience, drug advertisements have been a huge success in the world.


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