“A prostitute only becomes one when you hire her.”

I rarely see truly emotionally powerful advertisements in the United States. We seem to be tamer and less willing to “offend” when it comes to our messaging and imagery than our foreign counterparts. Especially when it comes to traditional, corporate advertisements, most companies think a better advertisement means a bigger logo. That’s why I love working in the socially conscious space. Movements, social issues, foundations, non-profit organizations, schools, etc. all need a voice and a platform to reach their intended audiences.

To me, my work means something. Getting people to buy a product is not my goal. I’m trying to empower my target audiences to have the ability to dream.  I measure success not by the number of widgets moved, but by the number of lives positively affected. The excited look on a child’s face, the proud look of a parent, and the hopeful look of somebody who suddenly feels valued is what brings me into work every morning…every evening…every weekend.

In order to make an ad resonate with the target audience, that audience needs to feel personally addressed. They need to feel that the ad talks to them, better yet, engages them. They should feel something. I hate seeing ads littered with anecdotal facts. Percentages this, numbers that don’t mean anything. In the States, we tend to go that route because it’s safe. Facts are safe, and allow us to hide behind a tree when the critiques come. What happened to the days when you said exactly what you meant? The art of advertising comes down to engaging an audience with creative messaging that makes them stop and take notice.

When I saw this anti-prostitution campaign by Bushtail out of Bangalore, India, I stopped and said, “Man, that’s serious.” The campaign is simple, but candid shocking. We might call it offensive. They call it effective.


Advertising Agency: Bushtail, Bangalore, India
Creative Director: Jeevan Sebastian

Art Director: Deepak P.

Copywriter: Shikha Gupta

Published: May 2010