Who’d have thought an advertisement designed to help kids deal with stress could actually result in sending some of them into a tizzy?
Let me explain. Apparently that wonderful charity, who do amazing work, the Irish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC) has, according to a statement released last week, responded to negative feedback regarding their latest awareness commercial’s content, taking it ‘seriously, and amended some elements of this important campaign as a result.’ Well done to them for not ignoring this reaction.
Now for readers who’ve yet to view this controversial commercial, it’s called ‘Headbombz’ and it displays cartoon character children whose heads actually explode due to harbouring worries and anxieties and not talking about what’s on their minds. The exploding cartoon head is then scattered around the classroom, or playground, and I don’t know about you but as a grandmother whose granddaughter is in the charity’s 8-10 year old target group, I feel the message could actually result in scaring some kids.
Perhaps I’m wrong; I mean, this is a charity founded in 1956, and is a successor to the original NSPCC, founded in 1889, so they’ve clearly got a credible amount of experience, knowledge, research and time invested in this campaign. However, if I were an ‘on edge’ 8-10 year old kid who desperately needed a non-judgemental support system and saw this ad when I turned on the telly or went to the movies, I’d imagine my anxiety levels would go through the roof and I’d probably have a panic attack whilst waiting on my bits and pieces to erupt all over the poor kid sitting next to me. But maybe I’m just a drama queen!
Now while the charity has amended some elements of their campaign (adding advisory notes to school packs) they’re not removing it altogether. Mind you they are withdrawing the ad from cinemas, saying ‘This decision was taken given that the cinema viewing experience is completely different to the in-home experience,’ and I have to agree. A big, booming screen experience could prove to be much more impactful (and not in a positive way) for some children, especially ones who’re hyper-sensitive to loud noises or who may experience a sensory overload due to the explosive bright lights contained in the ads.
Look, we all know that introducing an artistic graphic element into an ad campaign forms one of the most basic components of raising awareness and getting the core message across. In this instance the message is to encourage kids to share their anxieties, and God love them, they’ve a lot to contend with these days. But I believe on this occasion, there could have been a more inventive (and psychological) approach displayed by the creative team in order to make their content less vivid and more appealing.
On the subject of young children and their positive viewing experiences, I discovered our own C&L Movie Plex runs what’s called a ‘Sensory Kids Movie Club,’ catering for ‘parents/carers, babies and toddlers.’ Members meet on the second Monday of every month and I think it’s a great initiative and fair play to the lovely ladies I spoke with who told me that while the club is especially suited to those who have “kiddies with specific needs and who may not like loud noises, or who might like to chat during the screenings,” all are welcome.
Ah sure when it comes to innovation, it takes Roscommon People readers to lead the way.
Maybe the ISPCC’s ad team should drop down here for a bit of inspiration. Just throwin’ it out there.
Reality pills needed in Dáil?
I see some senior Government ministers are still waiting on those spine donors to arrive, given they don’t have the gumption to face up to the reality that, when it comes to the possibility of a terror attack in this country, we’re vulnerable and totally ill-equipped!
You see, according to a report in the Irish Times, our leaders insist “Gardaí have been given every resource available to assist them in the fight against terrorism.’ Now perhaps if I was delusional or, indeed, a 12-year-old who’d blindly believe anything an authoritative adult would tell them, I’d swallow that. But I’m no eejit and I know when I’m being stage-managed.
Look, what are those resources: stab vest and pepper spray? I mean c’mon, this is all the poor first responders have on their person and following top Security Analyst Michael Murphy’s appearance on RTE’s Prime Time, whose expert opinion is ‘We still have the same intelligence structures that were set up after the Dublin/Monaghan bombing in 1974 and nothing really has changed since then,’ I think I’m justified in being worried. For God’s sake folks, given we could barely deal with last month’s cyber hack, I think it’s safe to assume that Dáil Éireann is experiencing a severe shortage of reality pills because it’s clear to everyone, especially the terrorists, that our security systems are c**p; and that’s not the fault of the Gardaí!