Thursday, May 28, 2009

Welcome to Butt(e) & the Trainspotting School of PSAs

This ad was on a billboard in the lovely town of Butte, Montana, all strip malls and a dying downtown core.  L to the Q said, "man, this town needs a stimulus package."  Butte seemed like a likely place for a meth boom, so the billboard seemed perfectly placed.

Back to the ad.  The campaign is part of a program with a gritty promotions campaign.  The agency is Venables Bell & Partners in SF.  I'm dubbing it the Trainspotting School of PSAs.  Here's the opening scene of that 90s cult fave.  The song featured in the clip is Iggy Pop's "Lust for Life," featured below.

The outdoor ads are eyecatching, capitalizing on the shock and awe of the graphic images and raw text.  While no longer my area of expertise, relatively recent research on psychological effects of PSAs is showing that tailored messages towards thrill-seeking teenagers were the most effective.  Specifically, ads with negative or threatening images are not as effective as those that related the extraordinary nature of sensation-seeking referents {i.e., people that the audience relates to} to the deleterious effects of drugs {e.g., inability to do something great that the audience relates to}.

Oh, Butte, you are in a "blue" county {Silver Bow}, so why not try to hit Barack up for some stimulus?  Even if the economy rebounds, the place is still like a ghost town with 32,000 people and dwindling.

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