Last night, I spied a new ad series inside the Shaw-Howard University Metro station. In it, cute babies tell teenagers why they should not give birth to them. "I'm not a doll. I'm forever," one ad reads over a photograph of a sad infant. "Be a kid. Don't have one." According to the D.C. Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, the campaign is a "series of edgy and provocative print ads" that hopes to help cut the District's teen pregnancy rate in half by 2015. The ads are based around the concept "What if babies could talk?"
I guess babies would be pretty condescending? The "Be A Kid. Don't Have One" motto is pretty snappy, but the remainder of the tagline suggests that the District's inflated pregnancy rate can be attributed to teenagers perceiving human infants as disposable accessories. A complex constellation of factors contributes to teen pregnancies in D.C. Why further the idea that sheer ignorance is the culprit?
The campaign, which was apparently formed after consultations with local teens, has this to say of the strategy: "Instead of adults lecturing teens to wait until they're older to have children, in these ads, babies talk directly to their teen parents." Except that behind those talking babies are adults lecturing teens to put off having children.
That said, the slogan was provocative enough to get me to read the fine print, which dispenses some practical advice: "Use birth control every time or don't have sex." Then again, I'm a non-teen who writes about sex for a living.
- Here's the full series: