Within days of swine flu being reported, a health awareness campaign is running. But there's a fine line between informing and alarming people, says marketing author Craig Smith of Velo. Here he reviews a range of examples.
It's a rush job - a generic cold and flu message with a swine flu badge. He's a contemporary everyman, and it's grotesque. Shock tactics are the way to cut through today.
The message is identical to this 1940s effort. It's the perfect campaign - memorable strapline, information simply delivered. Coughs and sneezes spread diseases - it's entered the lexicon. Appealing to civic duty worked then.
But this, from 1997, is imperfect. Itís from Chic, which represents makers of over-the-counter remedies. It's a confused message with poor wordplay and, ultimately, is designed to benefit pharmacists.
This from 1918's flu pandemic would never get past the advertising watchdog today - and rightly so. It's an unscientific and ultimately self-serving claim that has no place in such a serious context.
Very of its time is this 1920s Daily Express advert. It has the look of Russian propaganda art. And it's a call to action on your responsibilities as a citizen. Today public health adverts play on individual fears.
Mass participation stunts are a noughties favourite, and Giant Human Sneeze - for 2007's flu season - also earned how-they-did-it stories in mid-market tabloids. This gets the key message across outside paid-for ads.
A 2004 magazine ad that looks like a poster in a GP's surgery. It's rare to see long copy ads, but if you hook in someone from the target audience, it's a good way to provide information and reassurance about the jab.
Stills from a 1945 public information film. It does smack of Harry Enfield. And it's guilty of stating the obvious - showing the public how to use a hankie isn't something taxpayers' money should be spent on.
What are these?