TAKING FEAR TOO FAR

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Working in high-tech marketing, I've noticed a recent trend that clearly falls into the "ads we can do without" category.

While fear has always been a great motivator, these series of ads take things to a tasteless extreme, especially when you consider how many people are still suffering through the whole "downsizing" epidemic.

Essentially, they all reflect the same message: If you don't choose our product, you'll end up back at your parents or with a park bench for your office, etc. Several ads also list the trappings of success (club memberships, expensive cars) you'll have to do without. "Heh, no one said life is fair," intones one snide bit of copy.

The worst, though, is an ad that depicts an older, harried-looking man with the caption "Bill Jones, age 38." The copy goes on to suggest that premature aging results from not using the product. ... And the warning is reinforced by the reality of today's job market: Being middle age or older is a liability.

It appears that there are a number of advertising professionals who should be reminded that increasing sales isn't their only goal.

Alexandra Ballantine

VP, Information Counselors Bethel, Conn.

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