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August 28, 2015

Shocking Canadian PSAs

by Isabelle Carreau, posted Jan 20th 2008 2:03PM
Prevent-It.caShocking Public Service Announcements (PSA) are common in Canada. For example, a few years ago in Quebec, we had a TV ad that contained real footage shot during a daring car stunt that went terribly wrong (the teenage driver died while doing the stunt) so that teens would be "scared straight" by seeing how stupid and deadly reckless driving can be.

The latest shocking PSA TV ad campaign comes from Ontario and is called "Prevent It." These PSAs, which have been airing for a while now, feature shocking and gruesome scenes showing what can happen at work if you don't ensure safety is everyone's primary concern.

Here are some words I've heard people say after watching those PSAs either live on TV or online: gruesome, shocking, grotesque, disgusting, powerful, incredible, hideous, sick, awful, well-done, efficient, and the list goes on and on. You either like the ads or don't. But everyone has to agree on one thing: those PSAs airing on TV have everyone at the watercooler talking. This buzz, either good or bad, helps the campaign reach its goal: have people talking about safety at the workplace.

The Prevent-It.ca website claims that the ads promote "awareness of the need for workplace safety." With these hard-hitting ads, the people behind the campaign "wanted to show how severe workplace injuries can be while reminding viewers that everyone plays a role in avoiding workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities; these could all have been prevented."

Here are a few of the ads airing on Ontario TV channels:

You can find more TV ads from this campaign on YouTube. The "Prevent It" campaign also reaches the Internet, the radio and printed press. How would you describe this campaign? Let your voice be heard in comments.

[Via Pong A Long]

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I'm a bit surprised by the reaction to these on TVSquad. While they may not be appropriate, relevant, or informative, I can't stop laughing. I know I'm pretty messed up, but I thought they were hilarious. Regardless, I don't see those ads succeeding at anything.

January 21 2008 at 8:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Only in Canada could they show such brutality on TV...

January 21 2008 at 12:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm all for allowing these commercials and think they are important. I do evaluations (psych) on people following work related injuries and it is a hard world to work in.

I have to admit though the oil commercial made my stomach curl. But having been around after the fact on these people need to start thinking twice about things. I actually cleaned up a spill in my own home a bit faster the other day as a result!

I appreciate that they show them after 9pm here though to avoid children from seeing them.

January 21 2008 at 11:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

That one with the chef was, excuse my language, fucked up. There is no other way to describe it.

January 21 2008 at 11:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The grease fryer one was the most disturbing!

January 21 2008 at 10:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I personally prefer the Nova Scotian one's better. They're all clever with the whole "first we show them just talking, and then the camera zooms out and Surprise! They're about to die or one of there limbs has been chopped off or they're being crushed under something!"

But yes, I've noticed that here in Canada we have more "darkness" in our adverts, but we also have less aggression in them than the "United Statesians" do, so I guess its sort of a trade off.

January 21 2008 at 10:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Forget about KIDS getting nightmares - I'm a 32-year-old man and these ads scare the heck out of me. I've only seen the disgusting one with the chef getting burned by the oil once, but that was more than enough for me. Now whenever I'm watching TV and one of these ads come on, I can't switch the channel fast enough.

It's not quite as easy to escape the ubiquitous print ads everywhere, though, including graphic images of dead bodies in newspapers ads, in posters in bus shelters, etc. Enough already!

January 21 2008 at 9:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I've been seeing these ads on a regular basis for months now. At first they were shocking and some what disturbing but now not so much. I don't think children should be seeing theses ads, as it might give them nightmares.

January 20 2008 at 10:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
A Viewer

I think that the last two are more disturbing (and thus more effective) because the actors talk about the "accident" they're going to be in just before it happens -- and indeed their words are interrupted by their being killed.

January 20 2008 at 9:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Oo, those are pretty brutal.

I wonder how effective they are with multiple viewings, however?

January 20 2008 at 8:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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