Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Retro Article Of The Week: Hard-Hitting Ad Campaigns

Tomorrow we will be releasing the newest edition of The NonProfit Times, so today we will be looking at an article that also came out in one of our September 15th issues.  The year was 2008, and the article was about a controversial ad campaign by The United Way of Greater Milwaukee (UWGM).  The campaign was for statutory rape awareness, and the proposed ads contained imagery that caused a frenzy: The faces of adolescent girls were superimposed onto the bodies of full-figured, adult bodies.  This particular campaign was eventually scrapped when it was leaked on the internet.

Although this particular campign was scrapped, UWGM moved onto other campaigns, including one that showed images of pregnant teenage boys to shed light on teenage pregnancy.  Here's an excerpt from the article:

A poster featuring a busty, D-cup model will turn heads. Couple it with a precocious, pig-tailed face of a little girl and it will stir an Internet frenzy.

That's what happened to The United Way of Greater Milwaukee's (UWGM) statutory rape awareness campaign when the faces of adolescent girls were imposed on full-figured, adult female bodies. But before the campaign could launch, the ad images leaked on the Internet and the campaign was tossed, even though the ads tested well in focus groups.

"It was obvious that the ads were being misconstrued," said Nicole Angresano, the community impact associate director for UWGM. Angresano said that changes were made to the images and text and the leaked versions represented earlier design prototypes.

"If we were to move forward, those were not the versions they would have seen," said Angresano, who explained that the ads were created to discourage adult men from having sex with under-aged girls.

Some 71 percent of babies born to teen girls in Wisconsin are fathered by adult males older than 20. In 20 percent of those cases, the fathers are at least six years older than the mothers, according to the Wisconsin Subcommittee on Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention study. The UWGM assumes that the statistics have stayed relatively the same since 1998, through case studies and anecdotal evidence from law enforcement, said Angresano. A new study is under way but results have not yet been released.

Whether you disagree with this form of advertising or not, there's one thing that's can't be argued: It generates a lot of publicity.  To read the full article, head on over to our website.

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