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Drug Advertisements-Do They Really Help Our Children?

Updated on June 24, 2017

Drug Advertising

On the website http://www.methproject.org/ads/tv/ many videos serve as drug advertisements against meth. The videos depict terrible things as they show what can happen when a person is doing meth. Below is an analysis of one of the advertisements called “Mother.”

Anyone who watches these meth advertisements could get something out of them, but the advertisement is mainly targeting adolescents. It starts out showing pictures of the son, John, when he was younger and with his mother. This is showing that things have not always been this way for them. John says that he and his mom have always been close. He starts going through her purse desperately for money and when she comes in; he knocks her to the floor and runs out while she is screaming for him not to leave. The main aspects focused on here are how meth changes things and what it does to people. The purpose is to show adolescents that meth use is dangerous and not worth it.

The tempo of the advertisement starts out slow when it is showing how things used to be. When John is shown, however, the advertisement turns to upbeat and quick. The camera angles switch rapidly. It seems as if this is trying to portray the mind of the meth user. His mind is racing and the person watching can get a sense of what that is like from watching the thirty second advertisement. In the advertisement, John is portrayed as sick. The director uses makeup to show John as pale. His eyes are sunken in and his face is broken out. The images tell the story of drug addiction through desperation. John is desperate when he is looking for cash, but his mother is also desperate when she is trying to get him to stay.

Why Do Drugs?

A person could start experimenting with illegal drugs for a number of reasons. The first one that comes to mind is peer pressure. This is common at any age, but adolescents fare worse for this because of their vulnerability. They see their friends experimenting with illegal drugs and though they know it is wrong, they try it anyway for fear of being made fun of. Another factor that can contribute is mental state. People who are depressed, wanting to rebel, emotionally unstable, thrill seeking, etc. would be more likely to experiment with illegal drugs.

John Watson, the founder of behaviorism, believes that in order for advertising to be effective it must appeal to three emotions (Tartakovsky, 2011). Those emotions are fear, love, and rage (Tartakovsky, 2011). The ads appeal to love in the first few seconds when it shows the past or throughout the video while the main character is talking about how things used to be before meth. Fear and rage are two emotions that these advertisements appeal to deeply. They are frightening advertisements by the use of makeup and the tempo of the advertisement. In the mother video for instance, fear and rage are felt as soon as John starts going through his mother’s purse. They are felt most strong when John hits his mother to the floor and storms out while she is calling for him desperately.

I feel that these advertisements are effective. The advertisements are realistic and instead of shoving facts at adolescents, they show them the results of meth use. This is effective because teenagers do not like to be told what to do or be lectured. The advertisements do not come out and tell teenagers not to do meth or how bad it is, but rather let teenagers make their own inferences from watching. As mentioned earlier, though, these advertisements are effective for any ages. The videos are frightening and scary to see.

In all, the drug advertisements for meth abuse are effective. They do a great job at accomplishing what they set out to do, deter people, especially teenagers, from meth. In order to accomplish their goal, the advertisements use makeup, camera angles, tempo, lighting, and psychological tactics.

References

Meth Project Foundation. (2014). Meth Project Official Ad-Mother. Retrieved from http://www.methproject.org/ads/tv/mother.html

Tartakovsky, M. (2011). The Psychology of Advertising. Psych Central. from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2011/02/15/the-psychology-of-advertising/

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