Negative Advertising

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The Mexican government raised eyebrows this week after officials released a national anti-drug ad campaign focused on the city of Philadelphia, the Associated Press reported.

The videos did not specifically identify the city or any neighborhood but the places portrayed in the ads showed scenes of homeless people and drug users around Kensington Avenue. The narrated clips warned about the dangers of methamphetamine and fentanyl drugs.

Meanwhile, another ad showed a Mexican street while warning about glue-sniffing.

The ad campaign aims to scare young people away from drugs but critics pointed out that the initiative uses the same aggressive tactics deployed by the United States in the 1980s.

They added that the ads offered no public health message, nor provided any hotlines, advice or treatment options – which are almost non-existent in Mexico.

Others also questioned the focus on fentanyl because the drug’s use is relatively low in Mexico – most is exported to the US.

Following the ads’ broadcast, Philadelphia officials acknowledged the city’s drug problem but lamented that “it is always hard to see our city’s people and neighborhoods portrayed in a limited and negative light.”

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