I am writing this letter on behalf of a group of concerned parents including myself. With this letter I want to express my concern on the advertisements published in everyday magazines by TBWAWorldwide to raise awareness for AIDS. I myself am the mother of a seven year old girl. A few days ago my daughter came up to me with one of my magazines, she had a startled look in her eyes so I asked her what was wrong. She showed me an advertisement in which a woman was being sexually pleasured by a spider. I believe children should not be exposed to advertising as explicit as this at such a young age and I can’t believe you do. To inform you, this advertisement can be located on page thirty-five of the spring edition of Woman’s World. I sent it along with this letter as an appendix to be sure you know about which advertisement I’m writing.
The advertisement portrays a woman sitting on a couch, looking away from the camera with her head facing the sealing. Between her legs an enormous spider appears to be sexually pleasing her. Her facial expression and body language suggest she is enjoying the spiders company. An advertisement with a nature like this is not something I would like my seven year old daughter to be confronted with. It is absolutely not appropriate and your advertisement could almost be called pornographic. The message you are trying to convey can be very different from what people think while looking at this advertisement. I do not want my daughter to grow up with these pornographic advertisements surrounding her. Children are not supposed to be exposed to anything sexually tinted. Additionally, this particular advertisement can also scare children. Children don not read the letters next to pictures. Children with their wild imagination will start getting scared from advertisements like this. A spider itself is already something for some children to be scared of, let alone portraying a gigantic one close to a human. Do you want to cause nightmares?
The language used in this advertisement is very minimal. I guess your idea was to let the picture convey the message and only use words where necessary. This might be a good approach when it comes to youngsters or adults, but did you even consider small children? What about children that cannot read yet, they have no clue what message you are trying to bring across, they just see the disturbing picture. Furthermore, it seems your advertisement is threatening people into having save sex. Now do not get me wrong I am pro safe sex, but I don’t think scaring people into making that choice is the right thing. There are a lots of other possible ways to raise awareness on AIDS which do not depend upon scaring the population. You could for example organize information sessions that oblige teenagers from a specific age to come and learn about AIDS.
The underlying themes of this advertisement are also unjust. By suggesting that every sexual partner is an AIDS carrier you might instead of warn people scare them off. Luckily my daughter is just seven years old and she does not have sexual thoughts yet. However older children, like teenagers, who do get interests in the sexual fields are very influential especially when it comes to advertisements like these. It is a good thing they learn about safe sex but if they have never heard of AIDS before than how will they understand this advertisement? Advertisements like yours will just confuse these youngsters and provide them with unjust information.
Children are the future of our society. In our society today media plays a big role in politics, language skills and education. Because of the large impact of the media on the education of young children, they play a large role in the shaping of our youngest generation. Children are very much influenced by media, they learn through media. That is why we have to keep in mind what the impact of an advertisement will be on children. There are numerous advertisements to raise awareness on AIDS that are child friendly, I suggest you take a close look at these alternatives.
In order to resolve this issue, I would very much appreciate it if you would reconsider how and where to advertise your message. I am very angry because for young children like mine to come in contact with advertisements like yours is very damaging. I still am puzzled by the fact that advertisements this explicit can appear in magazines easily purchased by children. I want to thank you for reading my letter and hopefully understanding my concern. I hope my letter will incite you to change your approach to advertising in the future.