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The Vote

Sam Jones has had enough of expensive, government health and safety adverts. Have you?

Published on August 14th 2009.

The Vote
Yes: - 73%
No: - 27%

The government, it seems, thinks we're all idiots that need to be constantly reminded how to act responsibly. All over the country, on billboards, street signs, on radio and on television, we are reminded of our morals and told to behave ourselves.

Recently on the radio there was an advert which went something like this: “When you have had a drink remember no, still means no. Rape. Short word, long sentence.”

Now, I don't know about you but I don't really feel that I need to be reminded not to rape someone and I'd like to think that no-one else needs reminding either. And perhaps those who are too thick to get the message anyway are the ones being bad. Or this is where the ad fundamentally fails – they are too drunk to remember that they shouldn’t.

This may seem flippant about a serious subject, but something’s going on here.

We're being warned about a lot of things. Things, that the majority of the population would never think about doing.

Don't drive at stupid speeds, don't assault or punch a stranger in the face, Don't walk along train tracks. Don’t take drugs until your ears froth. Don’t chew razor blades.

All of these adverts cost a fortune to produce. So much so that you have to wonder whether the ad agencies and PR folk aren’t in it with some dodgy government officials to provide themselves employment and the latter a backhander?

How much do we reckon is spent on all these ads – on TV, on radio, on the web, in the papers, in hospital waiting rooms, on motorway signs, secretly pinned to your navel whilst you’re asleep? £450m at the very least. More than £1bn? Possibly.

And do they actually have any effect? If a joy-rider is speeding along a duel carriageway at 100mph is he really going to slow down when he sees a sign telling him the number of casualties there has been on that stretch of road in the last century?

Another government radio advert doing the rounds at the moment proclaims “Stay Safe! Don't jump in the reservoir!”

Is that advert really necessary? How many people listening to that had previously been contemplating 'bombing' into the reservoir? And if they were, why were they more likely to have listened to an ad on Radio Nowhere than on the free news, or free web - which costs the tax payer nothing.

Remember that report about the millions spent on the Talk to Frank anti-drug campaign which resulted in about twenty people coming off drugs? Or something like that. Waste of money.

And given all the cash thrown at this are we any happier as a society? Can we say health and crime stats are going the right way...or even the drowning in reservoir stats?

Should government, local government, health authority and so on campaigns just advertise positive issues that can make a difference, such as giving blood?Or do you think that all this money down the ad campaigning drain is worthwhile? Clearly we don’t. Cast your vote on the Manchester Confidential homepage.

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21 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

wtfAugust 14th 2009.

What a stupid vote. If they didn't have them and something happended we would be up in arms about it and having a go at them for not taking responsibility. Some of the adverts maybe silly,but never underestimate peoples stupidity.

Charlie BAugust 14th 2009.

No, think about the cash. Think about the results. There's aren't any. Save the money, build beautiful parks. Make people happy.

AnonymousAugust 14th 2009.

Beautiful parks full of drunks. I am sure MC is politically neutral but I understand it a pp issue. Sam Jones I am sure is an Independent

AnonymousAugust 14th 2009.

I like the combination of signs on one rural road in Cheshire. "Cranage Rest Home for the Elderly" then next to it "12 casualties in the past 3 years".

billyAugust 14th 2009.

I like this vote. I can't stand all the health ads

DescartesAugust 14th 2009.

They should use the money for the campaigns on better trained teachers who could teach kids to be a bit more intelligent and know this stuff anyway. It's not rocket surgery or brain science, most of these ads are just basic common sense. When did people lose that?

emma graceAugust 14th 2009.

Anyone who needs to be reminded via a radio commercial to use a condom deserves whatever they get. Literally.

ELAugust 14th 2009.

Emma, that's quite short-sighted by your standards. Education is shockingly low in some areas.

emma graceAugust 14th 2009.

What can I say? I just don't think we should be having to spend this amount of money just reminding people to employ a little common sense.

ELAugust 14th 2009.

14 year olds in deprived areas have little education on the matter, and certainly don't know all the consequences.

cigpapersAugust 14th 2009.

They should spend the money on repatriating non-whites.VOTE BNP!

emma graceAugust 14th 2009.

Granted, but it seems (by the result of this vote so far anyway), that these ads are falling on the eyes and ears of people who don't need to be reminded of such obvious facts. As far as the sex related ads go, surely improving the standard and amount of sex education in schools is going to prove more effective? The money is obviously there. I don't know, maybe I am being short sighted. But I (and I'm definitely not alone on this) find it really insulting and depressing when I hear these ads. It reminds me that we live in a soceity of people who literally need to be told to behave themselves, or else. It's basic stuff and common sense and it shouldn't be costing £450m.

ChrisAugust 14th 2009.

The problem is that the government has no clue how to fix the problems (most of which they created). So they put out these adverts so; a) they can say we are doing / have done something about them, and b) so they then can blame us for the problems, as they gave us the advice but we didn't listen. Aside from this spin over substance, transference of responsibilty approach, is the assumption that we are all guilty (or stupid) and therefore we all need to be given the same message(s). Instead they should be using the cash for these messages to target the real problems and / or people.

AdamAugust 14th 2009.

I have often noticed that there are a very high rate of adverts on the trams that are paid for by the public purse - whether by Government or indirectly by quangos. Often it has given the appearance of being in a communist state where the only adverts appear to be warnings from the Government. This has gotten completely out of hand - the money could be much better spent on other essentials.

CasAugust 14th 2009.

What cheeses me off is that in a country that cannot afford to pay for the Lifeguard (charity), Hospices (charities), a new scanner for a childrens hospital (5 star appeal), they have no problem paying for this. Lets get the simple things done first.

Michael WestAugust 14th 2009.

The actual figure for government advertising 2008/09 was £211m. I think that any campaign that reinforces a worthwhile message is value for money.

CasAugust 14th 2009.

Call me old fashioned but I think we should help save people lives, make sure young (usually poor) men we send to war have what they need and get great treatment when they've been blown up, make dying people comfy and help out sick kids before we tell the public that being obese isn't good for you. If the Government had a spare £211m then fine but it hasn't.

them were the dazeAugust 14th 2009.

the government adverts are crap now - do you remember the Keep Britain Tidy Campaign? - we need that back fer sure. AND the 'take your brush to your bike - add some paint if you like - but get yourself seen' ( i live that song) for cyclists - and who can forget the don't talk to strangers: Charlie Says...series.....

WaterBabyAugust 14th 2009.

I believe that the reservoir ads were commissioned and paid for by United Utilities as they own them. As a company with shareholders it's probably concerned with people suing them for injury and/or death so it's understandable that they're making an effort to prevent said injury and/or death.

fishpieAugust 14th 2009.

A bit thick this one. If the government didnt adertise there would be a lot more money spent on clearing up, saving lives, sorting out. So pipe down Sam Jones without 'em we would have to spend a whole lot more money

saying 'pipe down' is bad for your healthAugust 14th 2009.

Fishpie, Sam Jones is talking about the Government pointing the obvious out. In a comedic manner she says 'Don't drive at stupid speeds, don't assault or punch a stranger in the face, Don't walk along train tracks. Don’t take drugs until your ears froth. Don’t chew razor blades.' However, she has a point. If the population is that thick they need these things pointing out then the money obviously needs spending elsewhere.

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