I question the tactics of some activist’s and organization’s attempts to guilt me into doing something for their cause. Too many times I have been enjoying a show or sporting event only to have my mood ruined by an anti-smoking commercial. Their attempts usually lead me to turn my TV off or at least turn it to mute and ignore the message completely.
If it’s my emotions they’re after, they best take a lighter approach. And they should avoid leaving me with an unexpected amount of guilt that I did not ask for when I turned the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air on.
They intentionally throw viewers out of their comfort zone and tug as hard as they can at their heartstrings. A sad song plays, pictures of abused dogs and cats slowly fade in and out on the screen, the viewer might be moved to tears. The end of the commercial will undoubtedly urge you to donate and encourage you to take a stand on the issue; placing a responsibility on your shoulders that you didn’t ask for.
The anti-smoking ads trouble me the most because every person talking through a voice box made a decision to start smoking. They weren’t born with a birth defect and they didn’t contract a horrific disease. Someone who doesn’t smoke, like myself doesn’t need to see that. I bet nobody will even click the link, the smokers don’t want to see it anymore than we do.
These type of ads are unfair to the viewer. Although they are fighting for an admirable cause, they should not accomplish it by forcing guilt on their audience. I don’t mean to sound cold-hearted or insensitive to the causes that drive these ads, I simply believe they should take a different approach to achieve their goal.