I have Tivo, and thanks to the good old 30-second-skip button I miss most shock and awe commercials, but earlier this week while I was getting my much anticipated, highly addictive dose of Gossip Girl I caught the Candies Teen Pregnancy Prevention PSA.
To watch the PSA go to their site here. Its suspiciously missing from YouTube.
The 32 second commercial is meant to depict the blunt reality of teen pregnancy while acting as a conversation catalyst for Gossip Girl’s primary audience (um everyone?) and their parents.
In all honesty, I watched it and then immediately groped for the remote to fast forward onward to the next installment of my GG fix. Moments later it was wiped from my memory and days later when asked if I’d seen the PSA I had to rock my brain then find it on YouTube for a refresher.
Imagine my surprise upon seeing all the drama the PSA has generated, with major news papers calling it offensive and youth blogs labeling it “preachy”. Really?
I didn’t find it preachy in the slightest, but maybe that’s because I’m closer to the demographic it’s aimed at. In fact, I found it to be short, blunt and open to interpretation – all of which is good, and great for jump starting dialogue around such a sensitive, “gray area” issue. You want to talk about preachy (and unauthentic)? Check out Trojans The Quarrel PSA – then weigh in.
And how is the PSA offensive? No one has even begun to rip the young man in the PSA a new one for bolting 1.5 seconds (just enough time to open the door of the car and hop out) after the girl is bestowed with the baby. Maybe because it’s become “socially acceptable” or expected for a guy to bail when he finds out he’s impregnated his partner. It takes two you know.
Still, I can’t help but think maybe all this negative attention is s a good thing. Ultimately all this hype will help broaden the PSA’s reach beyond just the Gossip Girl audience and get parents and children talking.
Whether it’s offensive or not, any pregnancy prevention strategies are welcome in a world where comprehensive sex education is withheld (no wonder sexual health and STDs were ranked as the highest concern on our Youth Health and Wellness Survey) and teen pregnancy is pretty much the norm in pop culture thanks to Jaime Lynne Spears and Bristol Palin. Well guess what – being a teenage parent is not glamorous – especially if your man ditches you and you don’t have the extra $$$upport those two have.
Besides, can’t you just imagine the hazing and torment Blair Waldorf would subject a newly pregnant peer to? Yeah. Me too.