Saturday, 27 March 2010

Second scandal on anti-smoking ads in Moscow

Not content with confronting the city with pictures of a sleeping baby used as an ashtray, anti-smoking campaigners in Moscow have followed up their shock campaign with a woman using a cigarette to slash her wrist.

The stark message is intended to link smoking and suicide - but even those who endorse the message are unhappy with the delivery. Parents say that it is hard to soothe children startled by the graphic images.

Designers ADV Group drew plenty of flak for the first campaign - showing a cigarette being stubbed out on a sleeping baby - culminating in an official condemnation from the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service saying the posters could "harm the moral and spiritual development of children".

But the ad groups press secretary Irina Khmalinskaya said they also had letters of support from those who believe shock tactics are the only way to jolt smokers out of the habit. One supporter named Yulia wrote that the only way to reach smokers is to use "aggressive and grotesque images."

News Outdoor, the company responsible for displaying the campaign, had no further comment about the baby ads, saying they had all been removed.

And last week, the creative mastermind behind the posters Ross Sutherland of McCann Erikson tried to sooth the public outrage last week by saying that no babies were harmed during the making of the poster. It was all Photoshop.

Khmalinskaya says that adverts have to answer to all laws of competition and information that's available, thus be cutting edge, especially since they are sending a social message.

In Moscow 24 per of all people smoke, according to statistics from the city's public health department. They also say that 30 per cent of women and 60 per cent of men smoke. The number of women smoking has risen sharply since the mid 90s, when only 4 per cent were regular smokers.

No comments: