#4. "If You Don't Help Feed Them, Who Will?"
Raul Montifar / Y&R Philippines via Theinspirationroom.com
The Philippines can be a harsh mistress. Only 40 percent of the population receives adequate nutrition, and a number of those who go hungry are very young children. Luckily, organizations like Concordia Children's Services exist to help care for all the abandoned infants (CCS deals specifically with kids in Manila). Arguably less lucky is the fact that they generate awareness for their cause by using twinkling gems of horror like this ad featuring mewling dirt children gnawing on the teats of a giant pig.
The caption in the lower right corner reads "If you don't help feed them, who will?" because we know you didn't realize that there was writing on that picture until just now. Concordia Children's Services doesn't go for the violin music and bearded man in flannel apologetically asking you to donate money -- it grabs a stick of wrought impoverished horror and beats you in the face with it until you throw your wallet at them and run away.
#3. "Don't Treat Others the Way You Don't Want to Be Treated"
Shock tactics in animal abuse PSAs are nothing new. PETA is particularly infamous for their patented brand of shitheadery, which in the past has both made fun of a man's cancer and described the eating of chicken and the Holocaust as essentially the same thing. But the recent campaign by the U.K. animal rights group Humans for Animals, entitled "Don't Treat Others the Way You Don't Want to be Treated," takes the PETA formula and increases the crazy to Kubrickian levels. The ads depict people and animals switching places in some of the more brutal cases of animal cruelty around the globe, from the baby-seal-clubbing above to the eating of live monkey brains, which is a delicacy in China ...
... to laboratory testing on mice:
TBWA Paris via Adforum.com
"We're going to need to make a few modifications on my cellphone."
Humans for Animals may boast the best webpage design 1996 had to offer, but their message is timeless: Being subjected to some of the things animals are routinely put through would be pretty goddamned awful. Unfortunately, to a passerby, the only message is going to be "So those seals are murdering our children now? To war!"
#2. "Rain Changes Everything"
Papakura, New Zealand, is plagued by a high number of road fatalities that are arguably a result of the country's extensive rainy seasons. The "Rain Changes Everything" campaign is an attempt to persuade drivers to throttle back a little on wet pavement. The billboards feature a young boy's face and a simple message pleading with people to drive appropriate to the conditions of the road. On a sunny day, it's a boring picture of a kid. But when it rains, he starts oozing blood from every orifice.
What sorcery is this? The rainwater drips into a reservoir behind the billboard, which contains a red concoction that then leaks out of several holes in the picture to make it look like the kid's face has been smashed through a windshield (although his expression doesn't change, so he seems fairly OK with it). As you rocket past, hastily mashing out a hilarious text message, you'll look up and see those blood-soaked eyes reaching into your mind for every lie you've ever told.
Officials say that the ads have been remarkably effective, considering how many people you'd think would go swerving off the road in terror as soon as they glimpsed it in their windshield.
#1. "If You See a Child as Anything More ..."
Wisconsin has a serious problem with statutory rape -- a whopping 71 percent of teen pregnancies in the state involve a father over the age of 20, meaning out of every four teen moms, three of them were implanted with the writhing, mustachioed seed of some shambling predator (and not the awesome kind that turns invisible and comes from space).
To try to generate awareness of this staggering figure (and ideally lower it in the process), the Family Violence Partnership in Milwaukee joined forces with a nonprofit marketing agency called Serve to find three of the breastiest women in the state and Photoshop the heads of prepubescent girls onto their bodies:
Via Serve Advertising, via Coloribus
Wait, is that Punky Brewster?
After showing these images, we guarantee two things -- female readers are half-laughing, half-gasping out some variation of "Oh my God," and male readers are scrolling down as fast as they can before somebody walks by and sees their screen.
The ads were originally meant to run as giant billboards, but after they tested poorly in focus groups (because apparently public awareness campaigns meant to defend children against sexual abuse are beholden to the exact same set of standards as a Hot Pocket commercial), they were all but entirely canceled. Incredibly, the only distribution the campaign ever saw outside of the Internet was as a series of life-size posters displayed in public bathroom stalls, which you may recognize as places where violent lunatics almost never go to masturbate.
For more public health ads that probably did more harm than good, check out The 10 Most Disturbing PSAs From Around the World and The 6 Most Unintentionally Hilarious Old School PSAs.
If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out The Most Baffling PSA Ever: Vote Like ... Spider-Man?
And stop by LinkSTORM to discover why staring at Brockway's mustache for too long is bad for your soul.
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