At the time of this writing, one of the more common advertisements on the inside banners of Melbourne City Trams is an ad trying to get people to go for sexual health checkups. Most of them feature an almost naked male model and a tagline. Most of the time, this tagline reminds one of the negative consequences of sexually-transmitted diseases, and the benefits of early detection via going for a sexual health checkup.
I don’t have the statistics to back up my claims, but judging from the feedback from some people I know, most people are ambivalent towards these ads. Basically, I don’t think they are very effective, and I think I know why.
In their book “The Time Paradox”, Phil Zimbardo and John Boyd talked about the present-hedonistic time perspective. What that means is that people who have that mindset value pleasure in the present over the potential consequences in the future.
Drinking excessively without care for that inevitable hangover, smoking, eating excessively, and engaging in unsafe sex are all motivated by the higher value placed upon pleasure now as compared to the possible consequences later.
Now we can see the problem with those ads, they are appealing to aversion of negative future consequences to people who don’t care about future consequences.
When was the last time an advertisement got you all excited about the new handbag that’s coming 12 months from now? The answer is, only if you care deeply about handbags. The next question is, when was the last time an advertisement about handbags make you care deeply about them? (assuming that you don’t already care deeply about handbags)
Instead of preaching to cows, these ads should sell people something they want. If they can’t do that, then don’t bother wasting the money and manpower needed to run such a campaign . If they wanted to talk about the future, at least talk about the near future. Something along the lines of, “Check out of the doctor’s today, check into the bedroom tomorrow.” (check ups allow for constant sex)
 My conspiracy theory is that the government is only running these ads to satisfy the insecurities of the conservative public.
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