This public service ad is provocative and does not shy away from bringing out the poor example that we are to our children
Here is a perfect example of brilliant public service advertising. The idea is this: Children do exactly what they observe their parents do. And therefore we must, as parents, ensure we inculcate the right values in our children, by behaving well ourselves, by setting the right example.
Set to a contrasting and powerful music track, the commercial features parents behaving in a very crass manner, and their children, influenced by them, doing ditto. Parents smoke, so do their kids. Parents behave crudely with strangers in public places, so do their kids. Parents litter on the streets, so do their kids. Parents use vulgar language, so do their kids. Parents indulge in violent behaviour at home and in public places, so do their kids. And it goes on. It's a simple idea and treatment, but it grabs you and socks you right in the face. And makes you feel ashamed as a parent, if this is what you have been doing in the presence of your children, intentionally or otherwise.
What make this ad very effective are two key factors: One, it's provocative. Always the right approach to use when one is trying to change long-held attitudes. And two, the treatment doesn't shy away from bringing out the brutality. The images are vivid, shocking and repulsive. It disturbs to watch kids behaving obnoxiously. In my opinion, this is an ideal way to jolt people out of their apathy. Which explains why feel-good communication is often less effective in public service ads.
I so wish someone makes a similar creative for India. God knows how badly we bring up our children by setting the wrong example. Apart from those featured in this particular advert, there's pissing and spitting on the streets, brazenly jumping queues, triple parking near hospitals, bribing our way out of problems, treating our domestic help badly… it's a long list really. And when our children grow up, they do exactly the same things. Because that's what they've observed their parents do, and as a result they believe that's the right thing to do. No amount of law enforcement and education can change their dirty habits. If the parenting has been all wrong, then the foundation itself is rotten.
Yes, this is actually an Indian ad made abroad. We badly need campaigns like these out here.