So Close, and yet, So Far


Via Yglesias, I watched this ad, which apparently aired during the Redskins game yesterday (I wouldn’t know).

There’s much that’s good about this ad; encouraging parents to talk to their kids about sex seems commonsense to me. But given that it was paid for and produced by the federal government (using your tax dollars, natch), I knew there had to be something awry. And oh how there was.

Here’s the ad transcript (available for download on the website):

It’s me.
We gotta talk.
We have to talk about sex.
It’s okay.
I can handle it.
Can you?
Talk to me about sex.
Tell me how you feel.
Tell me you want me to wait.
I may roll my eyes
Act all bored
But I’m listening.
I’ll hear you.
So talk to me about sex.
‘Cause my friends do.
It’s all over the Internet.
Now it’s your turn.
Tell me, “Son, you have the world at your feet.”
Or, “Honey, the sky’s the limit.”
Tell me what you want for me.
An education.
A family.
A career.
Tell me to wait to have sex.
I know you’re nervous.
Weirded out.
Me too. Me too. Me too.
But we gotta do this.

Announcer: Tell your kids you want them to wait ’til they’re married to have sex. And
talk with them early and often so they’ll have a better chance at success. Visit this website
for help making the conversation easier.

Kids (visual is graphic image and URL):
Come on Dad.
Speak up Mom.
You can do it.

Do you see where it went horribly wrong? I’ll give you a hint: it’s somewhere around the time when the ad makes the connection between being able to be happy and have a career and a relationship and be successful, and waiting to have sex until marriage. Which is a fine message in a vacuum, but not given this context. And what about encouraging parents to talk to their kids about safe sex and abstinence (especially given that it’s been proven about 572576 times that abstinence only programs don’t actually produce greater levels of abstinence)? Another opportunity wasted would’ve been a better tagline for the PSA.

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