In case you thought the public outcry last month over teaching six-year-olds to curse like sailors in order to sell t-shirts might shame this outfit into rethinking its approach, let me assure you that you are very, very naive. That’s not the way this sort of tactic works. Once you’ve settled on a hyper-provocative approach to push your cause, you can’t drop that approach under fire without alienating the narrow but passionate niche of people who really liked it to begin with. Who’s more likely to pony up cash for a shirt, the casual viewer who was annoyed by the first F-bomb ad but might appreciate a more low-key PSA this time or the committed activist who loved how confrontational the first ad was and relishes this group’s willingness to challenge social norms ‘n stuff? Having kissed off average people by pandering to ideologues and young social media users forever on the hunt for something new and sensational to click on, they’re pretty much stuck with this M.O. now.
I’m a little nervous, though, to see how they might up the ante now that the shock effect is wearing off. I keep thinking that a pro-choice ad is inevitable, and just as inevitably that it’ll be worse than we all thought possible. Oh well. Let’s get on with it.