This video, a stay-in-school PSA, has been launched in Australia in an attempt to get teens to, well, stay in school. Lest you think that this can’t be real, visit Learn for Life Foundation of Western Australia’s website. It’s real, done by “talented filmmakers Henry Inglis and Aaron McCann.” This seems to be a very good example of the shock-and-awe approach toward persuasion that tries to get people to pay attention to a message by shocking the daylights out of them, a bit like a recent NY Times front page photograph. (No doubt the organization is hoping the video is crazy enough to go viral.) Clearly, wanting to get kids to stay in school is a good thing; but does it warrant this approach? Even if we cut the organization some slack, this message seems to stretch the bounds of believability: a beach that’s loaded with unexploded land mines? Really? And that will resonate with teens? Still, the graphic imagery of detached body parts, blood, and exploding bodies seems to be uncalled for here. At the same time, however, the ends of the ad are unquestionably good; does the end justify the means?
Skipping School Can Be … Deadly?