7-Eleven's anti-drugs ad banned

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BANGKOK -- Thai TV viewers were shocked last month by a 60-second anti-drugs commercial that showed a carelessly-held cigarette searing a baby's hand and a knife slashing the face of an already bleeding woman. So shocked that they called regulators, who yanked the ad after one night on air.

Ammirati Puris Lintas Thailand, which produced the ad for 7-Eleven convenience stores, edited out the most violent images and the ad began airing again earlier this month. 7-Eleven (Thailand) decided to produce a public-service commercial earlier this year after reaching a target of a million customers a day at its 800 outlets nationwide.

Company and agency officials considered such topics as children, education and prostitution before deciding to tackle drug abuse.

Lintas spent three months on the project, including a month interviewing addicts and the group most at risk - 13 to 19 year olds. Veradis Vinyaratn, associate creative director at Lintas, says the agency submitted 13 concepts to 7-Eleven and was surprised when chain executives opted for the most graphic and hard-hitting of these.

Officials at the regulatory agency that banned the original ad, the National Broadcasting Commission, approved the resulting commercial and even praised it.

Copyright August 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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