Do shocking teen pregnancy ads work?

This ad is one of many appearing in Chicago bus and train stations. The purpose is to grab teens’ attention and make them realize that pregnancy is not just the responsibility of girls. I like the idea and think it definitely does the job of hooking its audience. However, will it make a difference to teens who are sexually active or who are thinking about becoming sexually active? I can’t see it. I remember Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” and the egg in the frying pan with the tag line, “This is your brain on drugs.” I don’t think either of those wildly successful advertising campaigns actually made a difference. I think they were just well-executed commercials that got people’s attention. There’s a difference between shock value that makes you sit up and take notice and shock value that actually causes you to make a life change. Pregnant boys on posters? Not a life-changer.Image

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2 thoughts on “Do shocking teen pregnancy ads work?

  1. It seems counter-productive to me to have something in an ad that is not realistic (pregnant male teen). Teens already think “it won’t happen to me.” I’m not sure that we get anywhere by trying to scare them with a picture of something that really could not happen to them.

    I would think that hearing the story of a real teen parent (or someone who was unable to have children because of scarring from STDs) might have more of an impact.

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