T Nation

Fearmongering Billboards

Huge Fearmongering Billboards Urge Preparedness for A Terror Attack on 11/9/09
These rather fetchingly huge fearmongering billboards have been going up across America recently to advertise the Red Cross.

Note that they interestingly place the date of a future “attack” as November 9th 2009, that is 11/9/09.

Also note that the small print states the attack is to be a bio-chemical attack.

Are you scared yet?

I hope on one sees that as a complete joke.

If anyone thinks this can’t or wont happen, they have a very short memory.

[quote]jlesk68 wrote:
Note that they interestingly place the date of a future “attack” as November 9th 2009, that is 11/9/09.[/quote]

Do you think the date is the date where an actual attack will take place? Otherwise, I see nothing interesting about it, except for the reversal of 9/11 in the digits.

I think the Red Cross’ point is that you can never know when an attack will take place, so you should make sure you’re prepared for one now.

From the website:

“Unfortunately, catastrophic events don’t provide advanced warning. So it makes sense to take whatever precautions you can. … Get yourself prepared with these resources from the American Red Cross.”

Source:
http://preparewny.org/links.asp

Dastardly! How dare they try to foist fake disasters on me in an attempt to get me to give more blood or learn first aid! Those sneaky BASTARDS!

[quote]derek wrote:
I hope on one sees that as a complete joke.

If anyone thinks this can’t or wont happen, they have a very short memory.[/quote]

I don’t think the point was that this could never happen again; it was that, like all advertising, fear is their prime motivator–as if giving blood can stop terrorism from happening.

As far as people having short memories the RC is relying on the psychological impact and memory of the previous terrorist event to trigger the knee jerk response of blood donations, etc.

I think I might have to question the red cross the next time they call my house asking me for my B negative blood.

[quote]LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:
I don’t think the point was that this could never happen again; it was that, like all advertising, fear is their prime motivator–as if giving blood can stop terrorism from happening.[/quote]

The website also urges people to assemble an emergency kit, which can be something useful to have around, even for minor emergency such as prolonged blackouts.

As for all advertising being about fear, how do you figure that? Are you “afraid” of not owning stuff?

Just be positive.

[quote]LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:

I think I might have to question the red cross the next time they call my house asking me for my B negative blood.[/quote]

And I have to question anyone who considers “the knee-jerk reaction of giving blood” to be something worth giving up because of an ad campaign.

[quote]pookie wrote:
As for all advertising being about fear, how do you figure that? Are you “afraid” of not owning stuff?

[/quote]
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

Its not fear of not owning stuff that producers employ but rather it is the fear of what will happen if you do not own said stuff–the basic fear of the unknown. Fear is the most basic psychological means for intimidating cooperation. I know you can think of many examples where this works besides advertising.

BTW, I do not in anyway question the benevolence of the RC just the means they use to make a point–as if the actual events of 9-11 weren’t enough we have to relive it in an advertisement.

[quote]LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:
Its not fear of not owning stuff that producers employ but rather it is the fear of what will happen if you do not own said stuff–the basic fear of the unknown.[/quote]

The fear of not owning a Lexus is such a primeval, gut clenching feeling.

[quote]pookie wrote:
LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:
Its not fear of not owning stuff that producers employ but rather it is the fear of what will happen if you do not own said stuff–the basic fear of the unknown.

The fear of not owning a Lexus is such a primeval, gut clenching feeling.

[/quote]
Ownership is a method of advertising ones status. People do not generally fear not owning a piece of property but they do fear the negative impact their status may experience because of their lack of ownership of said merchandise. Can you completely refute this notion?

Why do people knowingly ruin their financial livelihoods by purchasing that which they may not be able to afford? Is a Lexus a better car than a Ford Festiva in terms of the purpose it serves?

Fear is not the only emotion that advertisers use–it is just the easiest and most obvious one to spot. Think of all those silly heart-wrenching AT&T commercials where the dad calls home to talk to his wife after being separated from her, etc. It is easy to take advantage of someone when they are in a psychological state of distress brought about by the reminiscence of their conditions or self diagnosis of that condition.

I do not think it is as simple as these generalizations imply but one has to question how advertising can exist if it wasn’t effective at achieving its desired results. We all see more advertising per day today than was seen 10 years ago. Why? Do I need more stuff today than I did 10 years ago?

[quote]LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:
Ownership is a method of advertising ones status. People do not generally fear not owning a piece of property but they do fear the negative impact their status may experience because of their lack of ownership of said merchandise. Can you completely refute this notion?[/quote]

It’s hard to completely refute because it’s so vacuous. Using the same reasoning, you could substitute just about any emotion instead of fear and make a similar argument.

That some people are bad at financial planning is evident. I just don’t feel they’re motivated by fear. They aspire to project a certain financial status which they haven’t really attained, but I really doubt it’s the “fear” or not projecting that status that is the real motivator.

Again, just about anything can be framed in terms of “being afraid” of it’s opposite or of it’s lack. Doesn’t make it valid.

Maybe fear in academia is different from fear in real life. :slight_smile:

But in all your example, you seem to imply that those ads are playing on the memory of a traumatic experience. Those ads also have to work on people who haven’t lived those experience.

Some ads are also whimsical, funny, non-sensical, etc. Some ads target only specific segments of the population; etc. They generally aim to create want or need, or sometimes to raise awareness. Anti-smoking ads aren’t selling “non-cigarettes,” they seek to discourage people from buying and using cigarettes. THOSE ads often play on fear by using cancer patients on respirators or with voice box in their throats.

I don’t know about you, but living chained to a respirator is a lot more scary to me than not having a Lexus.

In no way am I saying that advertising doesn’t work. On the contrary, I’m quite aware that it works extremely well. I simply find your contention that it’s generally based on fear to be somewhat ridiculous.

A large part of it might be creating artificial needs; trying to convince someone to “want” a product they don’t rationally need; but to reduce that to them being afraid of “not owning” or “not appearing to be X” is reaching, in my opinion

This isn’t a conspiracy or prediction of terrorist attacks. One of the challenges of the emergency preparedness and planning buisness is to get ordinary people to do a little preparation for an emergency. It is like trying to get people to perform regular maintenance on a car, only some really change the oil and check the tires, but everyone wishes they had when the car breaks down.

The emergency kit the website recommends, as well as the shelter in place plan, would go a long way to save lives in a disaster. The Red Cross is only trying to get people to do a little preparation.

[quote]BH6 wrote:

The emergency kit the website recommends, as well as the shelter in place plan, would go a long way to save lives in a disaster. The Red Cross is only trying to get people to do a little preparation. [/quote]

Yeah but…

fear bad.

[quote]Cunnivore wrote:
Yeah but…

fear bad.[/quote]…but it also keeps you alive.