The real shock doctrine: changing behaviour with visual chainsaws

Mart strikes again...

Couldn’t help noticing saturation coverage today for an achingly hip TV (and of course by proxy web) campaign from VCCP for the Home Office trying to remind young people of the consequences of serious booze binges.

We’ve all got our stories, but when it ends up costing money/reputation/paternity/etc it can be major uncool.  I’ve got wrecked clothes, lost property, spent money and regrettable lusts to thank grog for in my yoof. 

Not only does this campaign appear to be integrated on and offline with a strong PR element, it is part of the tradition of using shock to change behaviour.  It worked for drink driving and (for a while) AIDS but there is such a Northern European culture of excess when it comes to booze it will take a long long time to shift perceptions. 

These perceptions will only be shifted in those sympathetic to the message, leaving a hard core for law enforcement and the NHS to deal with (at least that is what happened with drink driving). This is a really well executed start though and pushes the right face-loss buttons for youth.

I’ve seen some more extreme riffs on the same theme (such as these chillingly tragic Canadian safety vids) and most famously the Thomas Seibel funded Montana Meth Project, which got Big Sky country off the speed and back on (safer) crack and deer hunting.

The Montana Meth Project is a public interest marcomms masterclass. It is relentless in its horror and media spend, with amazing street level gains against meth (which is one drug The Man is right about the dangers of) to its credit.

One assumes knives are next for the Home Office, but any modern day Mary Whitehouse types with the ASA on speed dial (which have bothered the Project) will have to be ignored.


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