The Greenpeace advertisment shows a mother placing her young child into a bathtub, turning on the tap, and leaving the baby unattended. Greenpeace says the water running in the tub is meant to represent rising sea levels and flooding caused by environmental changes.
Many mothers have taken offense at the bold statement, and an online petition has been set up with the aim of preventing the ad from being aired. The Advertising Ethics Board is trying to determine whether the ad is needlessly using fear for greater impact. According to Greenpeace, the careless mother symbolises irresponsibility towards future generations.
Greenpeaces says it understands the mothers' reaction, but it's not worried about misconceptions arising about the organisation because of the television spot. And, according to advertising campaign organiser Kaisa Kosonen, the show will go on, "Greenpeace always generates strong opinions," she commented on the furore.
Advertising Taken Too Seriously
University of Helsinki lecturer Juri Mykkänen has been researching political advertising and has been amazed by the brouhaha caused by this spring's Parliamentary elections advertising.
The researcher suspects that the people who have criticised the ads cannot interpret political and societal symbols in the ads. He says commercial product advertising is easier for people to digest because their only aim is to increase sales of a particular product.
Mykkänen adds that people usually have a neutral response to product advertising. He pointed out that advertising that addresses social issues noticeably intrudes on peoples way of life, and for this reason they agitate the most sensitive critics.