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Kiddie Shrinks Use Fear Marketing
December 16, 2007 permalink
In New York the shrinks who put labels on normal or gifted children have resorted to fear to sell their unnecessary services. The threats in the form of ransom notes will fall flat with families who have already received real-life ransom demands from their local child protection agencies.
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Source: NYU Child Study Center
To: Children's aid societies, psychiatrists, therapists, social workers, divorce lawyers, coroners, group home operators and Office of the Children's Lawyer: We know who you are. We will continue to expose your malfeasance and racketeering until you no longer have the money and power you need to hold our children for ransom.
Addendum: On December 19 the campaign was abandoned for being too controversial.
Ransom-Note Ads About Children’s Health Are Canceled
The Child Study Center at New York University said on Wednesday that it would halt an advertising campaign aimed at raising awareness of children’s mental and neurological disorders after the effort drew a strongly negative reaction.
The two-week-old campaign, created pro bono by the advertising agency BBDO, used the device of ransom notes to deliver ominous messages concerning disorders like autism, depression, bulimia and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.
The note about autism, for example, read: “We have your son. We will make sure he will no longer be able to care for himself or interact socially as long as he lives.”
Advocates for children with autism and for other special-needs children said the ads reinforced negative stereotypes.
“While many individuals spoke to us about the need to continue the campaign, inadvertently we offended others,” said Dr. Harold S. Koplewicz, the Child Study Center’s founder and director, who estimated that he had received 3,000 e-mail messages and phone calls. Thirty percent of those praised the initiative, he said, and 70 percent expressed anger and hurt.
“One woman was crying to me on the phone that she felt alone and ashamed about her child and thanking me because the campaign captured how she felt,” he said. “But we also heard from some parents who are working day and night to help their children, and the way they read the ransom messages was that they weren’t doing enough.”
Ultimately, Dr. Koplewicz said, “I was concerned about the focus of the debate being on the ads rather than on the children.”
Kristina Chew, founder of the blog Autism Vox and the mother of a 10-year-old son with autism, praised the decision. “I’m very glad the campaign is over,” she said.
Dr. Koplewicz said he had “started conversations” with critics of the ransom-note ads. “They said they felt our intentions were good and they wanted to help, so we want to hear their voices as we start to plan the next ads with BBDO.” The goal is to introduce a new campaign in the next three months.
He said that the decision was made by the Child Study Center with no pressure from N.Y.U., and he maintained that, despite the negative publicity, no ground had been lost.
“It’s the first time that the issue of children’s mental health has gotten national attention without being precipitated by a shooting at a high school or college,” he said.
Source: New York Times