Using gore, humour to reach youth (Editor’s notes)

The powerful impact of 'shock and awe'
By Todd Humber
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 08/31/2007

There’s no such thing as bad publicity. At least that’s how the saying goes. That phrase entered my mind while traveling recently on Toronto’s transit system. The subway car I was riding in featured a number of graphic, cartoon-type ads featuring young people with rather gruesome injuries.

One featured a young man with a bandaged arm, blood leaking through a stump where his hand used to be. Another smaller ad, further down the subway car, showed a severed ear with an iPod headphone still attached to it. Still another showed a teen with a steel rod protruding through his head. All were cartoon style.

They’re certainly attention-grabbing advertisements. But what’s more interesting is who placed them there, and why. They’re from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), Ontario’s workers’ compensation board, and they’re designed to get young workers thinking about safety.