Saturday, July 21, 2007

Just Say Know

When it comes to drug use, the mainstream media finds itself in a difficult position: officially it is expected to adopt a moralistic stance to avoid alienating advertisers, yet it also wants to appeal to a youth audience and one that might respond to subversive messages. Of course, the broadcast media increasingly also has come to depend upon the revenue stream from the pharmaceutical industry, thus opening up opportunities in distributed media for parodists and artists. Although conventionally the realm of entertainment programs like Saturday Night Live or The Colbert Report, the parody ad as a form of satire has also served the interest of activism through Internet petition groups.

For example, the group Prescription for Change from the Consumer's Union has produced the would-be viral video The Drugs I Need, which received an award from The Public Affairs Council. And the Drug policy Alliance has distributed this info-graphical animation for Incarcerex widely through YouTube. Artists like Justine Cooper have also gotten into the act with her website for the fictional drug Havidol, which was supposedly believed to be real by incredibly naive consumers. Finally, there's the anti-White House Parents The Anti Drug Parody. Of course, not all parody drug ads have a specific agenda. The painfully unfunny and badly sung Licensed to Pill appears on JibJab for no discernible reason. And the Dare Generation Blog uses the format of the online game rather than the viral video to point out the inconsistency of a recent Supreme Court Decision in their bong hits 4 Jesus game.

(And now, the fast-paced legal disclaimer that comes at the end: thanks to Eszter Hargittai for posting the Incarcerex link. And for more on the bong hits 4 Jesus game, check out this review by Ian Bogost.)

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3 Comments:

Blogger bob c said...

What ever happened to just plain old "protest songs?"
"I've been a miner for a heart of gold...and I'm getting old."

5:23 AM  
Anonymous Lee A. Arnold said...

Not a parody, but rhetorical:

Al Gore's new book -- 90 second book report:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=P6nTAR2MVYQ

12:07 PM  
Blogger Lupton said...

This is may be off topic, but I was interested to read about the new report concerning the contagious character of fat. If you have fat friends, you have an increased chance of becoming fat yourself -- even if the relationship is long-distance. This seems to be a strange new hybridization of "social media" with "contagious diseases."

10:30 AM  

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