We see them on TV practically every day. They are the TV ads with a cancer theme, and it's usually ominous. They tell us not to smoke, for example, and then show us the horrors of cancer that can happen to someone who does.
They show images of people with bodies now ravaged by cancer, wasting away and about
to die, as a warning to the rest of us, with the clear implication that those of us viewers who do not change our own cancer-causing ways may wind up just as doomed.
But do such "shock-and-warn" cancer ads really work, or do viewers just mentally turn off when seeing them, and go about
In an effort to get an answer, I spent a little time one evening recently researching this topic online, primarily by googling
tv cancer ads commercials
and clicking on some of the various links that came up.
Some initial conclusions. Cancer-themed TV ads seem mainly to be either the scary kind, as described above, or the hawking kind. The scary ones, as noted, show very sick, emaciated people, sometimes even children, usually in their final days, with the obvious, somber, message: try to avoid getting cancer or you may wind up like this. The hawking kind do just that, selling the services of a particular cancer treatment center, for example, usually with attractive shots of skilled doctors and nurses treating patients in a super-clean friendly atmosphere, with commentary extolling the virtues of the place.
Example of the scary kind:
(WARNING, especially to you forum members outside the U.S.: in case your TV systems don't show this particular anti-smoking ad seen on U.S. TV, of a patient severely damaged from and dieing of cancer as a result of smoking, it is very graphic): https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=cancer+commercials+on+tv+terri&view=detail&mid=a163479a3c827ad77b97a163479a3c827ad77b97&form=vire
Example of the hawking kind:https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=cancer+treatment+center+of+america+commercial&view=detail&mid=06d6893095e39a86467a06d6893095e39a86467a&form=vire
But getting back to the original question, do "shock-and-warn" ads really work?
I did a little more research, and what I found was that there really does not seem to be any consensus on the effectiveness of this kind of advertising, which even has its own name: "Shockvertising."
Some sources were claiming that such "Shockvertising" ads do indeed effect changes in viewers' behavior, for the better, while others were saying most people mentally just block such disturbing images out of their thoughts and move on.
Interestingly, there were two claims repeated on a number of sites: (1) such ads do produce positive change in viewers, but the effect is only temporary, with people reverting to their earlier ways/attitudes after a while, and (2) "shock" ads aimed at young people, especially teenagers, such as footage of grisly car crashes resulting from drunk driving, fail because of the I'm-immortal-and-that-won't-happen-to-me attitude of many teens.
This article addresses some of the central questions, starting out with an especially gruesome Youtube video example of a shock ad (a warning in the form of an especially grisly car crash, fictional but very disturbingly presented, resulting from texting while driving), but still offers no conclusions as to whether "shockvertising" really works or not:https://speakingofsafety.ca/does-shockvertising-change-behavior/
So what do you think? Does "shockvertising" work for you? How about
when an ominous cancer message is involved?
In the meantime, I suspect we will continue to see more cancer "shockvertising" on TV rather than less, for better or worse.
Chronic prostatitis (age 60 on)
BPH w/ urinary obstruction, 6/2011
Ongoing high PSA, 7/2011-12/2011
Biopsy, 12/2011: positive 3/12 (90%, 70%, 5%)
Gleason 6(3+3), T1c
No mets, PCa likely still organ contained
IMRT w/ HT (Lupron), 4/2012-6/2012
PSAs (since post-IMRT): 0.1 or lower