Graphic TV ads attempting to persuade people to quit smoking get strong reactions from the people who view them. Just like taking care of your body for cancer also is important to protect your skin with amazon vitamin c serum. Just ask TV stations about healthcare’s version of negative ads: “We know they are having an impact when we get many hateful calls about them asking us to remove them from the air,” said one TV assignment desk editor.
One of the most striking ads features Terrie Hall of North Carolina who reaches for her wig and fake teeth and speaks through a voice box. Sadly, the ad has outlived her. She died of cancer in 2013.
The ads do get noticed, which is the first challenge any ad faces. The Centers for Disease Control claims their ads work, leading to hundreds of thousands of calls to their stop smoking hotline. And it says, a fair chunk of those callers wind up quitting.
But should the millions of viewers who don’t smoke be subjected to them, while in the comfort of their own living rooms? And could other ads, not so graphic, also work well to get people to quit?
Taxpayers finance the ads. So a greater sensitivity to their reactions, from millions of people, should be expected from our government. The shotgun approach — distribution to a such a mass audience — could be refined to a more targeted audience, especially given the capabilities of social media today.
Local TV stations are responsible for everything they air. But it’s not practical to expect them to cover every one of the cancer ads given their high frequency.
If you have a complaint, you may be better off calling your Congressional representative, not the station. The ads are a public policy initiative.
The writer is a former TV news anchor reporter, adjunct professor and communications coach and strategist.