Irony is a subtle, sharp tool in any creative endeavor and judging by their recent work, Young and Rubicam Lisbon understand this well.
Many anti-drug public service announcements and campaigns are, in a word, boring. They try to be grave and foreboding but come off as contrived, pedestrian and even corny.
This Y&R work, however, is biting and thought-provoking. Instead of simply splattering posters that say, “don’t do this,” or, “drugs are bad” on some bus stop or subway, the ads depict wall-pasted decals of heroin addicts shooting up in actual bathrooms throughout Lisbon. Walking into such washrooms unawares, one would initially believe an actual person was in there pumping poison into their veins, lost in reckless abandon.
Drugs distort and confuse one’s grasp on reality and this is exactly what these ads do. Through this irony, Y&R creates a personal and visceral response that is not easily forgotten.
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