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Lenticular Photo Used To Secretly Convey Hot Line Number To Abused Kids (diyphotography.net)
424 points by scholia on May 5, 2013 | hide | past | favorite | 140 comments

No, thank you. I know abused kids are a serious issue, but the vast majority of kids aren't abused, and this is a disturbing ad to show specifically to a kid, especially when the grown-up with them doesn't see it.

I'm picturing walking past this billboard with my kid and having him ask "Daddy, why does that kid look all beat up" and answering "no, that kid looks perfectly normal, you're making it up". Nice.

There are far better ways to have a very high-quality 2-way covert channel to any kid old enough to read an ad and act on the information here, namely: school. Many teachers are extremely pro-active about figuring out signs of abuse. My mother was a teacher and intervened decisively and successfully in a serious ongoing physical abuse situation once.

Plus, the idea that you might care about kids at school and find out what's up with them is a good precedent that can lead to a lot of other nice related things even when there isn't abuse. On the other hand, lenticular ads that show different things to adults and kids is not a good precedent, whether it's used to show grosser ads to grownups than we currently have to see already ("hey, the kids can't see this") or to covertly market to kids.

I am sad that this is the top comment. Estimates vary, but something likely over 10% of the population has been abused. That's a lot. That's a lot of kids that are going through schools and being missed right now. It is wonderful that your mother caught one, but she missed dozens more. That's not an effective approach.

Doubly so when kids tend to think that schools work hand in hand with parents. Your expectation is that anything you tell the school, goes home. Even if they say it won't. Adults lie. Abused kids don't have a lot of trust. Anonymity makes a big difference.

Also there are worse things in the world than having to have that discussion with your kid. Like not wanting to stay home when you're sick because you're afraid that you'll wind up with a sore ass from your mother's boyfriend.

What? You think that is an unfair thing for me to say? Well I've got worse for you. I don't have to imagine that - I just have to remember.

If a billboard like this helps one kid like I was, and disturbs a hundred like yours, that's a worthwhile tradeoff in my books. Before leaping to disagree, stop and think about the fact that the typical estimate is that equivalent experiences are the reality of childhood for 20% of women and 5% of men. That's a lot of kids. It is wonderful that your kids get better. But far too many don't.

And no, schools are not an effective answer to this problem. Ideas like this one might not be either, but it is worth trying them so that we can see how well they work. Because until you try them, you can't find out if they might.

I thought the parent comment was a great point, but yours is as well.

Question for you though, since I've been trying to figure this out since I pulled up this post: What exactly is the point of "hiding" this from adults, besides cute gimmick? It's not like an abuser can somehow prevent a child from seeing a billboard that they themselves also see. Are we afraid that access to the phone number can be restricted? Well, this article does that all on its own.

What's the point? What's the benefit?

On the flip side, I'm VERY concerned at marketers trying to direct a message to my child while deliberately hiding that message from me, the parent. I personally don't care what that message is. It could be for abused kids or it could be to tell them that their parents should be turned into the authorities for not agreeing with the government. The message is irrelevant.

As a responsible parent in charge of creating the best 18 year old man I can out of my 6 and 4 year old boys, I NEED to be aware of as much as possible that their little brains are taking in. Not to censor them (although in some cases this is appropriate), but to temper that intake with a does of 38 years of wisdom that they simply do not possess at the moment.

I have no issues discussing child abuse with my sons. In fact I would love to do so in an effort to ensure that they come to me (or another adult) if one of their classmates or friends is in this situation. Hell, I want them to come to me if they feel in this situation too.

This billboard does not promote any of this. It separates me from my child in a very underhanded way.

In my case, my abuser threatened my life if ever I told, and used to brag about how good he was at finding people. With the implication that he could track me down.

If he'd recognized a billboard like that, he could have taken it as an opportunity to warn me. I would have believed that warning from someone I viewed as incredibly powerful. Which would make the billboard entirely useless.

But if he didn't see the ad, he couldn't deliver that threat. If by chance I became aware that he couldn't even see the ad, it would have undermined my impression of how powerful he was.

Would it have worked? I don't know. Quite possibly not. Maybe it would for some but not others. The only way to really find out is to try it.

Furthermore they should keep track at the other end of how many kids calling saw that billboard. If those statistics say it is effective, then roll it out to a bunch of places for as long as it keeps on working. (Over time abusers will become aware of the trick and be on the lookout for it.)

As for the marketing issue, I hear you and do not disagree. The technology could be used in very bad ways. I just happen to think that this is a good use of it, and is something that is worth trying.

You were already living is such fear of the power of your abuser that I doubt this ad would help much. As it stands, there is nothing to tell the child that the abuser isn't seeing exactly what they are.

I hear what you are saying and sympathize with where you are coming from. However one must always be mindful of the unintended consequences of our good intentions. In this case, I see a huge potential for abuse with little positive payoff. I can't logically conclude otherwise without simply making a play to emotion.

I thought this conversation was great until the downvote happened. So far, the opinions that have been expressed here are pretty good, it got even better when someone that had actually been abused started to share their experiences. Using the combined intelligence of the posters plus the unique perspective and experience of the poster that was abused, I'm sure an intelligent conclusion could have been reached.

The downvote clearly shows that someone here is lacking maturity. Downvoting because you don't like what was said is mindless censorship.

Also, I like your point about emotional investment. I am way too emotionally invested when it comes to drink driving. I lost both parents to a drunk driver and I would happily see hanged any drink driver. This is an emotional response rather than a logical one and this is why people with too much emotional investment shouldn't make the rules. Their input is definitely needed though.

To be clear, I did not downvote and indeed could not because you cannot downvote direct replies.

My guess as to the reason for the downvote is that once he veered into making personal comments on my state of mind, he was engaged in ad hominem. No matter how good or bad his points, that behavior is discouraged.

On whether I am too emotionally invested, if my points had been imbued with excessive emotion, that would have been one thing. But they were not. My big point was, "This potentially addresses a real problem in trying to reach abused children, and we should collect data on whether it actually works." I believe that to be a fairly neutral point.

Once we have data, we can revisit this with information of the form, "We had 5 complaints and 2 children called our hotline because of a sign that was seen fairly regularly by an estimated 1000 children." At that point we can try to find a balance between people who had a mildly unpleasant conversation with their children, and children who no longer have absolutely horrible things happening to them.

But until we have that data, we can't productively have those conversations. Clearly abuse is orders of magnitude worse than being confronted with an unpleasant and possibly confusing sign. Clearly more normal children are going to be confronting that sign than are going to see abuse stopped. How do these opposing interest balance? Nobody can tell because we don't know what portion of people who see the sign are disturbed by it, and we don't know how many abused children will actually respond to it.

So we should run the experiment and collect data.

Sorry to be blunt, but you fail at logic.

You have a theory about my behavior that might or might not be correct. You have extrapolated that to a theory about all abused children that is even less likely to be correct than the first. You have concluded from that that you see no point in actually trying the experiment and collecting data because it is guaranteed to fail.

Your initial theory about me is incorrect. After years of abuse I got to that point, sure. But I didn't start there. I believe from my own memories of myself that there was a period where I would be willing to try it, and a period where I wouldn't.

Your generalization of my experience (which you weren't there for and know almost nothing about) is even less correct than your initial theory. I was but one child with one set of experiences. Different children react differently. Different children go through different patterns of abuse. My description is anecdote, not data.

And finally your absolute certainty that it is useless to even try is nothing short of absolutely galling. On what evidence do you give up before trying? I've got a heck of a lot more experience/knowledge than you do, and I certainly don't think it is hopeless to try this! (I don't necessarily think it will work, but it seems like a promising idea.)

As for the message itself, well, I am not in a position to judge. Ideally it was crafted with input from people who had suffered the exact kind of abuse they are targeting about what would have been most likely to work for them. I know that the most effective messages are often not what someone without experience would guess them to be. They've got more knowledge about physical abuse than I do.

My experience was sexual abuse, which is different in many ways. But if it shows any signs of effectiveness for one then it can be repeated with messages aimed at other kinds of victims.

For sexual abuse I might suggest a message along the lines of, He says you asked for it, and it sometimes feels good. But it is wrong and you don't want it. We understand. We can make it stop.

Why that message? Because the best way to show you actually understand is to state the deepest, darkest truth of sexual abuse. Which is that abusers try to convince themselves and their victims that this is an act of love, and children are not equipped with the emotional maturity to distinguish "this feels good" from "I want this".

(That message might be a bit too raw. I've known a lot of adults who were unable to look back at their own abuse and face that statement. And explaining it to your kids would be extremely hard. But it is a statistical certainty that they will have kids in their classrooms who are actually GOING through that, but nobody knows it...)

Since you are being blunt, I'll respond in kind.

I think you are too emotionally invested in this topic to see my point and thus have a rational discussion about it.

I appreciate your experiences and never intended to insult you. However I wasn't really talking about you, you are.

Continuing the theme.

You were sufficiently unaware of the ways in which abusers try to control victims that you failed to understand the purpose of the sign.

When the way in which the design of the sign is meant to bypass the dynamics of abuse was described to you, you leaped to the conclusion that abusers are going to succeed in controlling victims, so there is no point to even trying something like this sign.

When I pointed out that the fact that abusers try to control victims does not mean that they necessarily succeed, and it is worth trying the sign out to see if it successfully reaches some victims, you concluded that I'm too emotionally invested to have a rational conversation.

Returning your bluntness in kind, on this topic, you are sufficiently uninformed that you can't have an opinion worth respecting. Your only choices are A) inform yourself, B) shut up, or C) be an asshole.

I'm sorry that you've chosen option C, and see no point in continuing this conversation.

You were sufficiently unaware of the ways in which abusers try to control victims that you failed to understand the purpose of the sign.

I'm perfectly aware, I just don't agree that it is a valid measure, and in addition I feel this particular method is open to abuse that has little if anything to do with this particular message.

you concluded that I'm too emotionally invested to have a rational conversation.

Because you are, in as much as you:

1. Fail to see my main point, or feel that the negative consequences are unimportant because of the possibility of positive outcomes.

2. Have downvoted my comments.

3. Have called me an asshole.

I'm pretty clear on where you stand, and see nothing to change my original assessment. Feel free to downvote this comment as well, as I'm not particularly connected to happy points on the internet.

Heh, that's an illusion. Children are subjected to a number of underhanded marketing and impulses all over the place. Whatever your intent, as a nurturing parent looking out for their child, or as a control freak trying to censor everything, kids find out all sorts of things on their own. Then puberty hits, and all bets are off.

Wisdom is not measured by the years. I've met wise people who are old, and I've met wise people who are the age of your boys. I've met the foolish both young and old. Rather than tempering the intake of 38-years of wisdom, perhaps instead, consider sharing some of that 38-years-of-wisdom so that your children grow strong enough to make choices of their own.

But hey. Ultimately, you're the parent. Good luck.

You're digressing, and probably not a parent.

Nonetheless, I'm under no false pretenses that I'm able to control what my child is taking in outright. I can in fact provide input to how they choose to make decisions.

The only people I've ever met that don't think that experience and age provides a value to decision making are the young and inexperienced.

I'm not as old or experienced as some of my friends (50+) and I'm not as young and inexperienced as some of my friends (< 25).

I'm not talking about making decisions. Though if we want to talk about that, then there is a whole study of strategic thinking, that is, the making of decisions in face of uncertainty. Experience helps there, but not to make more informed decisions (in high uncertainty, you can not use past knowledge as primary driver for making decisions). Rather, where past experience helps is in staying calm while you are deciding your actions in face of uncertainty.

Having had a lot of experiences gives an older person far more opportunities to practice this, but this is not a guarantee. Naiveté sometimes (not always) protect someone by letting them stay sane while bad shit happens.

There are also shadow sides: where the parent's own aversions and fear of loss gets enters the picture, commingling with love and affection.

I'm not digressing. I'm getting to the heart of the issue: what's at stake isn't simply what's best (or so you think, what's best) for the child, but also your own needs projected into the role as the parent. Being very, very clear about yourself helps. A lot.

The only people I've ever met that don't think that experience and age provides a value to decision making are the young and inexperienced.

This doesn't seem like a very convincing argument ;-). Of course people will value whatever it is they have and someone else doesn't.

... and probably not a parent.

I submit that experience being a child is just as valid in a discussion of parenting as experience being a parent, and is underappreciated.

Of course people will value whatever it is they have and someone else doesn't.

And likewise people discount the value of whatever it is they don't have that someone else does. Please don't let that fact keep you from realizing that experience has real value, and this is an advantage that older people consistently have over younger ones.

Obviously it isn't the only important factor. Plenty of 15 year olds have better judgement than most 40 year olds. But very few people have better judgement at 15 than they do at 40. (However many have worse judgement at 80 than at 60. Such is life.)

Don't let the frequency of stupidity among adults cause you to discount the fact that experience has value.

I submit that experience being a child is just as valid in a discussion of parenting as experience being a parent, and is underappreciated.

Having been both a parent and a child, I absolutely know that you're wrong. Before I was a parent, this wouldn't have been obvious to me.

The experience of having been a child is indeed relevant to a discussion of parenting. All competent parents draw on this experience to help inform their decisions. However until you've been on both sides of that relationship you simply don't have a full perspective to judge by.

It is like deciding on who is right in an argument between two friends after having only heard one side. The information that you got is clearly relevant and important, but you simply aren't (yet) in a position to make a fair judgement.

I know that you don't agree. But if you choose to be a parent, after you've had the experience of being shocked by hearing yourself sound like an echo of your own parents, come back and tell me that you didn't just learn something very important about your parents. (Before you wonder, every parent that I've asked about it has had this experience. And every one has at that point understood their parents better.)

"Don't let the frequency of stupidity among adults cause you to discount the fact that experience has value."

I'm not.

Experience alone doesn't cut it though. There are plenty of things people don't actually want to experience, but it happens anyways. That's why you can describe this with the "stages of grief".

The wisdom I am talking about is not about making better or worse judgement. It's the ability to stay sane while experiences come and go -- when new things arises, and when you enter those stages of grief. Someone with a lot of experience (which _does_ come with age) would presumably have more practice at this, but that is no guarantee.

"after you've had the experience of being shocked by hearing yourself sound like an echo of your own parents, "

Oh yeah, that's a fun one :-D

There's a mythic image I once heard describe by Joseph Campbell. Imagine a family sitting around the dinner table. This is Victorian times, and the family is dressed up for it. The father and mother have formal dining clothes, spine straight, all very proper and like.

The father asks the mother, "is he done yet?" The mother lifts up the cover to the formal service. And there, underneath, is their son roasted the the plate, garnished, sauced up, ready to go. She says, "yes, he smells done." So the father chops up the cooked corpse of his son and eats him. With good manners, of course.

I didn't understand Campbell's commentary until later. The horror of this image is the same horror as realizing that ... you've become the role of the Father. That is, this role has "eaten" you.

If we're talking about having "better" or "worse" judgement, then sure, your experiences matter. I'm talking about staying sane while _experiencing_ things. What is experienced is secondary to the experiencing. In this, very few people are skilled at this.

> Doubly so when kids tend to think that schools work hand in hand with parents. Your expectation is that anything you tell the school, goes home. Even if they say it won't. Adults lie. Abused kids don't have a lot of trust. Anonymity makes a big difference.

And lets not forget about shame. Even adults have problem talking about abuse to someone they know because of stigma, for kids this is even worse. There is stigma with added fear of physical punishment far worse what has happened so far.. Anonymity indeed makes BIG difference: most likely it is difference between getting help at all or not.

I find it ridiculous that some consider this kind of picture "disturbing to their children" when they don't probably even blink when passing even more brutal/disturbing movie ad or when they let their kids watch those movies.

> Also there are worse things in the world than having to have that discussion with your kid.

The rest of your post is totally valid, but I think the above is a big take-away for those of us who don't abuse our kids. Parenting is in large part discussion, and some of the more important discussions are about uncomfortable things.

> I'm picturing walking past this billboard with my kid and having him ask "Daddy, why does that kid look all beat up" and answering "no, that kid looks perfectly normal, you're making it up". Nice.

Wow. I hadn't thought of that at all. That is absolutely terrible. Maybe there should be a disclaimer on the ad for the kid about how parents and kids see 2 different things on the billboard?

And yeah, good teachers will take note of that and take care of it; though it can make for some really rough beginnings:

"Hey, Jacob, why are you wearing make-up?" the teacher inquires, noticing that there's a really bad makeup job on one of her male student's faces, around their eye.

"Eh, it's nothing, I just thought it'd be fun, to!" the kid nervously responds regarding.

Lenticular displays look a bit funny to begin with. If someone draws your attention to it, you'll notice something's up, then start moving your head around to figure it out. It's not like this would cause a traumatic misunderstanding between child and parent.

I think the disclaimer would defeat the whole purpose of the ad.

And it would be hard to explain with any brevity.

Haha, I think he means a disclaimer only on the kid's side.

Probably, but as artursapek pointed out that would likely be difficult to convey.

No, no, disclaimer at the kid's perspective, not the adult's.

Agreed. You want kids to see this and not adults? then give them a freaking flyer at school or actually address it in class by giving them opportunities to come forward and hire proper guidance counselers who know their way around this psychological minefield.

I'm picturing walking past this billboard with my kid and having him ask "Daddy, why does that kid look all beat up" and answering "no, that kid looks perfectly normal, you're making it up". Nice.

Is telling a kid they're making something up without investigating the best way to instill confidence?

> I'm picturing walking past this billboard with my kid and having him ask "Daddy, why does that kid look all beat up" and answering "no, that kid looks perfectly normal, you're making it up". Nice.

Wow, good observation. I hope those companies that market toys and other crap for children don't start adopting this.

Give me a break. My kids see things I don't see all the time. At the playground, in the car, everywhere. I don't dismiss what they say and I have them tell me about it. If I'm in a hurry, I simply agree with them and move on.

Many teachers are extremely pro-active about figuring out signs of abuse.

'Many' is quite the weasel-word to use in this context.

In the US at least, teachers are mandated reporters and can be held ciminally and civilly liable for ignoring signs of abuse or neglect. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandated_reporter

There are laws here against jaywalking and the police frequently focus on it, but I wouldn't say "many pedestrians are extremely pro-active about avoiding jaywalking" because of those laws.

Just what we need: more laws to invade privacy. So much for trusting teachers.

Really, what is wrong with providing more than one way to reach out to abused children?

As the parent points out, what's potentially wrong with this method is the absence of cost benefit-analysis based on what value this will provide vs. any negative effects this will have (in addition to the actual cost).

Your argument is an instance of "we should do something; this is something; therefor we should do it."

On the other hand, the parent's argument is the classic "Some random edge case might happen, therefore it's not worth doing X" argument. You're right, the absence of an actual cost-benefit analysis makes this debate somewhat pointless.

Maybe the people that put the ad up did the analysis?

Really? Now we're to look at child abuse prevention from a cost/benefit perspective, not a psychological or sociological one.


Why is it wrong to look at the issue from a cost/benefit perspective? If an expenditure of resources isn't very effective at preventing child abuse, shouldn't those resources be deployed in a different way so we can prevent as much abuse as possible?

What's sad about that?

but Think of the Children!

Benefits include things like "fewer children getting abused".

Costs include things like "children in formative years being told that a beat up child looks perfectly normal". (And, as hawkw mentioned, "opportunity cost of not being able to implement other strategies".)

"Think of the children!" is a potentially dangerous slippery slope argument that, on Hacker News, we often deride because of where it can go, where no logic and only emotions are thrown into the mix.

It just so happens that, in this case, you're actually affected by the argument being presented. Child abuse is an absolutely terrible thing, and we should work to stop it, and work to get those children that are being abused a way to be protected, and so on; but the question that others here are asking is "is this the right way to do it? Will this attempt do more harm than good?" and that's a good question to ask.

If 5 year olds everywhere are taught that black eyes are not potential signs for abuse, then Billy down the street might get missed, because mom didn't see the what the child said, when the kid, seeing the billboard, asked why "why is that kid hurt?"

I would hope that most teachers are proactive about this. But I can tell you from working with some of the poorer schools, it can be a different world that what you are used to. Some teachers seemed to be apathetic and not very concerned about the students. I wouldn't trust that these schools could be left with taking care of the problem. Hopefully, I'm mistaken.

You are not mistaken at all. Schools are one part of a system that should identify and help abused children, but schools can not be the only safety net for children.

Oh, I didn't realize the bruises and blood were also only on the lower view. Well, that's a little creepy.

> I'm picturing walking past this billboard with my kid and having him ask "Daddy, why does that kid look all beat up" and answering "no, that kid looks perfectly normal, you're making it up". Nice.

I'm picturing that in such a peculiar case the parent would bend to level their head with the child's.

> "Daddy, why does that kid look all beat up"

An abused child would never, ever ask that question. Ever.

Erm, this was something I was picturing my (not abused, in case it needs to be stated) younger son asking him upon seeing this, so I'm not sure what your point might be in connection to what I wrote.

If your first reaction is to call your kid a liar when he asks you a question you don't understand you have more pressing concerns than lenticular billboards.

I think you are overreacting a bit. I'd just tell my kid that the kid on the ad had an accident.

There are much worse things your kid probably sees daily just by turning on the TV.

The scenario here is that your kid sees the injured child and you see a healthy child. You don't see the injuries to think up the lie that the kid had an accident.

Now I have much more sympathy for your point view. However, I still claim that "There are much worse things your kid probably sees daily just by turning on the TV."

No, but that's not the only problematic scenario. A child who isn't being abused might still see the signs in one of their friends, and you'd want them to speak up about it. Talks like the one mentioned in the grandparent post discourage that.

>"Daddy, why does that kid look all beat up"

Im pretty sure its explained in the ad: "If someone hurts you, phone us"

I agree it could cause some confusion but how many kids are going to ask their parents after reading the ad? We obviously can't know for sure but I feel like the ad conveys enough information to the point that "this kid was hurt by someone, if this is happening to you call us, we can help"

Because after all, all kids can read.

then the point of having the hotline number is voided then aswell.

>There are far better ways to have a very high-quality 2-way covert channel

You said school. Can you name a few more?

This advertissement is for adults in my opinion, and more specifically for to move the adult donnors. Not more, not less. Is very ineffective, and probably very expensive also.

You are not reaching the childrens living in the country, nor the childrens locked at home, or at the boarding schools, neither the babies/very small childrens that can not read still, nor the alienated that don't even notice that they are abused or that think that they "merit to be slapped" because they are... "too bad, too silly, too stupid"... people are very good lying to ourselves

And even if you reach a desired target they probably don't call you, a perfect stranger.

An abused child is frequently intensively surveilled, most of the time they are keep in a controlled environment, at home or in a small group of related people. Rarely could access freely to a public telephone and I bet that this boy or girl will avoid carefully (fear, shame...) to look directly to the advertissement shown for a few weeks in a random street of a big city.

> You said school. Can you name a few more?

School is basic, as health services, you can also add libraries, and TV.

In Spain an abused child goes to an hospital sooner or later, and some injuries are very dificult to hide or fake to a professional. A physician can take a discrete look under the shirt of a child and he/she knows what to search for. Later they can send a silent alert to the appropriate channels if this is suspicious or simply call the police if there is some gross evidence.

If you want to tell a telephone number to the children, simply assure that this number is a the school, in a poster at the hall. Pretty simple, safe and cheap also.

If you want to be really twisted, put this number in some selected books in the school's library with an inked rubber stamp.

Ask the teachers to spoke about it in a delicate and sensitive way. They can provide a better, more focused and controlled message in a safe environment. A poster in a solitary street with this aggressor can' have the same benefits and could even put him/her at risk. The adult could even beat him, menace or manipulate him distorting the message in unpredictable ways

If you want to reach a target not in education you could use the TV channels for childrens. When we are trying to sell a toy, a film or a burguer to a child there is not a safe place where the parents can hide. You can also introduce this theme in programs like sesame street, in a subtile way and with an apropriately, positive and carefully expressed message.

How about on cereal boxes, or in comic books. How many parents read all of the stuff in/on those?

The whole thing strikes me as the ad agency trying to do something clever that will impress other ad industry folks, and not really trying to address any real issues. Basically, "here's some clever technology, how can we pretend it solves a problem?"

Seriously, abusers will let their kids look at an ad about child abuse, as long as it doesn't have a phone number on it, and the kid in the ad isn't injured?

Is the problem with getting child abuse reported really that the kids don't know the hotline number? "If only those poor abused kids knew the hotline number, they'd all call it."

Also, the lenticular lens restricts the image to a particular viewing angle, not a particular height, so kids standing farther away will see the adults-only image, and adults standing very close will probably be able to see at least the upper portion of the kids-only image.

Did you read the whole article? The upper portion of the "kids-only image" is identical to the upper portion of the adult image. Only part of the lower half is any different.

The article states that the agency was concerned with how to reach children looking at an ad without letting the adult they are with know they are looking at an ad about child abuse.

However, the version of the ad that adults see is still about child abuse.

Maybe I'm too serious about this; but a couple of the kinds of responses in this thread really irk me.

1) "not good enough". Yeah, but it's better than nothing; and if it can protect one kid from an abusive situation, or one set of kids from their abusive situations, then that is wonderful.

2) "lol, sucks to be [insert random demographic]". Yes, because child abuse is funny </sarcasm>. No, it really isn't. It's not funny at all. The person that's supposed to be watching after you is your greatest danger. It's like cyber-bullying and regular-bullying except with your parent. It's even harder to escape that.

Maybe we should take all kids away from their parents and let the state raise them. After all, that will certainly protect one kid from an abusive situation, so it is wonderful. <sarcasm, obviously />

I don't have a strong opinion on the advertisement, but I do have a strong opinion about the "do anything to protect one X" where X is used more for special interests than out of actual concern for X.

Things should be thought of in terms of cost-benefit. Otherwise, you wind up with crap like the TSA, where far more people are dying from driving due to not flying because of horrible TSA policies than the TSA is saving from terrorist attacks.

So, on the advertisement, it is a good thing to cause emotional distress to all the kids who aren't being abused and who have no idea that kind of thing exists?

(And, fwiw, I take this topic very seriously. I have four kids myself and was abused growing up. It is not just an academic, somebody-else's-kids topic to me.)

EDIT: Oh, and I completely agree with your second point. Child abuse is an amazingly serious topic. There are few things worse than the person whom you are supposed to trust most and who is supposed to care most for you violating that trust.

> I don't have a strong opinion on the advertisement, but I do have a strong opinion about the "do anything to protect one X" where X is used more for special interests than out of actual concern for X.

If I came off as encouraging that sort of argument, I am very sorry. That was not my intent even a little, and it's certainly not what I believe.

> So, on the advertisement, it is a good thing to cause emotional distress to all the kids who aren't being abused and who have no idea that kind of thing exists?

This is a rough thing to answer. I would ask if the kids really are experiencing emotional distress from seeing those pictures. They might, they might not; though, now that you've brought this method into question, I'm now torn on this whole issue, especially since that the conversation of "why is that boy hurt?" / "He doesn't look hurt to me, dear" conversation is a plausible one; and, to be honest, I don't have an answer yet. I do think that both the adult and children's version of the image talks about child abuse, so that might make the conversation easier.

Again, if my previous post engendered the "do anything to protect the X" stance, I wholeheartedly apologize; and if possible, please let me know what I said that made you think I was taking that stance, since I don't want to be confused there. (emphasis on the anything part, because that's where the danger of doing too much/fixing the wrong thing/harming more than good/etc problems come in)

To answer your question about what made me think you were taking that stance:

"it's better than nothing; and if it can protect one kid from an abusive situation, or one set of kids from their abusive situations, then that is wonderful."

The thing that made me think it was the lack of any qualification. It appeared to be (your follow-on comment repudiated that, obviously) a case where, if you protect one kid, regardless of the consequences, it is wonderful.

Taking this discussion back to the kids, I think it should be possible to do things to help kids, even one kid, that don't have potential downsides, but it requires the people who are performing the actions to be more likely to do it for the kids and less likely to do it for themselves.

Politicians seem to fail continually at this; the ad might be a positive (I have no data) but it leaves me uncomfortable that somebody is targeting my kids directly with something I can't see.

Something tells me is isn't the last "message hidden from mom and dad" that will be directed at kids. But is it worse than "Remember to drink your Ovaltine"?

I think it was failing to explicitly acknowledge the potentially negative effects of the ad: by trying to protect children, it actually causes some harm (distress) to them. It was like you said that anything with positive effect should be done, regardless of the costs.

Obviously you know better. But many people just get blinded by the halo effect and merrily shout "yay!" to anything that looks like it supports their cause.

I can understand that concern, but I think people might be reacting out of recognition that this is more an advertising stunt than an informed strategy at addressing child abuse.

Either way these tactics speak to a failing system in not approaching students where they are away from their abuser - school.

While the ad has great intent, it simplifies the issue a bit by implying that kids aren't calling in abuse because they can't find the number.

>> While the ad has great intent, it simplifies the issue a bit by implying that kids aren't calling in abuse because they can't find the number.

This a thousand times. It feels like something the scientist on the Simpsons invented -- very clever but utterly missing the point. I would be shocked if even a single child uses the poster as they're imagining it will be used.

A user recently pointed out that the most important advertising festival is coming up (http://www.canneslions.com/) and that agencies are doing campaigns just to enter the race for awards, which seems to be relevant here. See also http://news.cnet.com/8301-17852_3-57581882-71/microsoft-turn...

The impracticality of this ad doesn't mean it's just Lion bait.

Some ads are made solely to win awards, and are utterly impractical, but the converse doesn't hold: not all impractical ads are made solely for awards shows.

In this case, the impractical presentation is driving a conversation, which is itself increasing awareness of the issue and the phone number, 116-111. That's a good ad at work: not necessarily at the obvious level - people seeing it on a Spanish street - but nonetheless creating outsize value for the client.

The headline of this ad is the giveaway to it being little more than an ad agency and their client wanting to 'be famous' (in the world of advertising), with a video about their idea that will reach 1000x as many people as the purported audience of the actual ad.

The use of charity clients by agencies to win awards is not unusual. Sometimes the ideas that win awards are truly effective and wonderful (The Tap Project[1], Million NYC[2]), but more often these are 'scam ads' that are never even seen by the intended audience.

The traditional advertising industry is attempting to cope with obsolescence in a way that sees it increasingly loosing touch with reality.

A tweet for Oreos recently won a major advertising award, and 14 people were credited[3]. How a lenticular that nobody will ever see in real life makes the top of HN is a bit of a mystery to me.

[1] http://www.unicefusa.org/campaigns/tap-project/ [2] http://www.millionnyc.com/ [3] http://t.co/lxI7W1ty9A

Oh my. In my day they just gave us coupons for free personal pan pizza for each 10 books we read.

Adult sees an advertisement for McDonald's Healthy Salad. Kid points to it and wants to go to McDonalds. Parent likes that kid responded to ad for salad.

But the kid was really responding to an ad for deep fried processed chicken and potato.

Never going to happen, because the PR fallout would be terrible. Lenticular presentation doesn't make you immune from seeing the image if you're above a certain age. Adults will still see it if they're short, if they're sitting down, if the billboard company put it a bit too high or in a bad place, if you're crouching down to tie your kid's shoe, because you've been told it's there by an article or someone involved in installing it... the list goes on. This is the kind of thing people will overlook for a noble cause, but would have bad fallout for commercial gain.

> Never going to happen,

I wouldn't be so sure. Advertisement industry uses a lot of tricks that are not really different from this one. Some people don't like them but most people don't notice or don't care.

Another example is Facebook that keeps adding features that reduce people's privacy, you see a lot of complains on the web, yet they don't change anything because 99% are fine with it.

So it's definitely not because a trick can be detected, that it isn't worth using it.

But in Facebook's example, the 1% who were not fine with it made enough noise to have Facebook regulated by the federal government. They are now mandated to honor your privacy settings, no matter what.

So that example falls a bit short in that if it's egregious enough of a trick, regulators will take notice.

Yeah, think of the PR fallout of using cartoonish characters, toys and fucking playgrounds to advertise directly to kids. McDonald's would never do that.

That's really not the same as going out of their way to hide the advertising from parents.

Nice fantasy, but not practical. You'll notice that the two images shown in the sign are nearly identical. You don't want a shadow of the one image to be seen in the other or it gives the entire illusion away.

This campaign is a bit "meta". It succeeded to get our attention, or rather, the attention of people like us in Spain. As far as I can tell the lenticular posters are only a design concept.

Here in brackets are my guesses at emendations of the Google Translate version of what the ad agency wrote on YouTube: "We appreciate your comments. ANAR Foundation has few resources to give out [its] telephone [number for] complaint [about] abusers. Thanks [to] the publicity [the] campaign is having on media and [to] all [the] comments on social networking [it, ANAR Foundation] has achieved the main goal of the campaign: Raise awareness of the Foundation and the phone [number] 116 111 to assist children and adolescents at risk. We encourage you to continue to help raise awareness of the ANAR Foundation. Thank you very much." -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0h1mgpn95s

The supposed reason for this is that the abuser won't be able to tell what the kid is looking at. If it's unsafe for a kid to look at such an ad with the abuser around, how is the kid supposed to know that the abuser can't see what he's reading and possibly copying down?

The goal is for the abuser to not know the child saw the information; it's irrelevant whether the child knows whether the abuser saw or not.

Would the kid benefit any more by the ad not being there or by not using this technique to make it only visible to the kid?

Any kid scared enough to scrub having seen it from their own mind would not be well served by any version of this. The hope would be that some kids will see the number, remember it, and then call it later.

But then, why limit it to kids who are 4'4"? Aren’t shorter and taller kids being abused? If it’s a numbers game, shouldn’t you want to cast the net as wide as possible?

Shorter kids will probably be able to see it (it's an angles thing; so, shorter kids will probably see it from further away I'm guessing).

I'm theorizing here; but, abuse probably doesn't start with the child is 14 or 15. It probably starts when they're 7 or 8; and they'll see the ad. By the time they're 14 or 15 and not able to see the advertisement anymore, they'll hopefully have seen it so much that, when they finally have the courage to call the number and flee, since they haven't already in your prescribed scenario (which is VERY possible), they'll remember it from their youth.

I believe the thinking for this kind of tool is that it's better that the parent doesn't know that the kid knows this number than it is that all children know the number.

"It probably starts when they're 7 or 8"

Pretty sure it's much earlier than that. It's not like a parent wakes up one day and says, "Well, little Johnny is seven years old today, finally old enough for me to start beating him with a rake like I've always wanted to do."

This stuff starts very early. One serious problem with this stuff is that, since the child is subjected to it from pretty much the beginning, they grow up thinking it's normal. This makes it less likely for them to seek help (help for what? it's normal!) and helps perpetuate the cycle, as they're more likely to do the same thing to their own children.

Sure. Which is why, I assume, the poster is still about child abuse on the upper panel. Older kids are more likely to be able to google (if not safely at home than at school).

And I highly doubt it's the only effort on their plate, with many others intended to reach out to older kids. In this kind of thing you just have to do whatever you can.

I believe it's more to do with establishing a secret or 'exclusive' mode of contact between the hotline and the child. I imagine a large (possibly the biggest hurdle) about getting kids to phone when they need to is to make them feel safe from their abuser finding out. Establishing that safety off the bat is important - the communication is in confidence.

The supposed reason is to do something neat that creates press and gets people to talk about child abuse. This has been all over the news and nobody who sees the ad is going to be ignorant of who it works. Genuine subterfuge was never the intention.

The sad thing about this is that we're probably going to start seeing this form of advertising being used to specifically target kids with marketing messages, where the parent (or adult) looking at the same sign will be oblivious to what is happening.

Joe Camel is really going to start advertising cigarettes to kids now. The "high" ad is a no smoking ad and the "low" add is joe camel getting kids to try smoking.

Clever idea but I think the ad space is better utilized delivering the message as legibly as possible within that space. "Abused? Call NNN-NNN." This would increase effective range, making it harder for the abuser to evade. You can argue that it makes it easier to evade, but in a busy subway, or other closed environs, legibility is hard to suppress. They can also mix and match font and background colors to make it harder for the abuser to detect Banner patterns for avoidance. It would also be smart if the campaign could pseudo-randomize display spots, again making it harder to consciously evade the message.

If we had to go with the lenticular approach, they could also experiment with sound frequencies that kids are sensitive to, but adults would struggle with. That could be a cool hailing beacon to couple with the display.

I'm not sure what to make of the sentence at the top of the ad.

Sometimes, child abuse is only visible to the child suffering it.

It seems like the sentence is supposed to be a clever wink, which makes me wonder whether the lenticular photo effect is meant for secret communication or for a discussion-provoking gimmick.

It told me that the sign was more intended to promote awareness of child abuse issues than to really serve as a secret/hidden message to abused children.

It has interesting mainstream applications for in-store advertising. You can tout the benefits of a product meant for children to an adult and appeal to the child at the same time.

Remember, whining in the car works best

If word ever gets out, that's a potential PR nightmare for those making the ad.

My first impression is that this is a particularly stupid idea. It will probably result in lot of kids not seeing the number because they're a little too short or a little too tall for their age.

For one, there is no "too short" for this particular type of display. It's an under-over type of thing.

For two, they're explicitly taking the 'average height of a 10 year old' for this. You would write off the entire ad as pointless because, as implied by the very definition of "average", 50% of 10 year olds and a smaller percentage of each age below 10 would be unable to see it?

Talk about throwing the baby out with the bathwater...

That criticism sounds valid to me. That's a lot of children, and it's not like 10 is some sort of cut off point for anything.

I think the only cutoff is "lower bound of the height a potentially abusive adult would see it at", and retroactively went back and said "okay this height is average for a 10 year old".

According to what I find from a quick google, average height for a 10-year-old is about 4.5", with it starting to spike up dramatically at the age of 12-13 (from ~50 to ~60"). Without knowing the actual height they set this for, though, it's impossible to say how many kids they would or would not get with this kind of advertising.

It seems to be a novel approach, certainly worth the experimentation. Calling it stupid is going far overboard without intimate knowledge of their expectations and motivations.

But some will.

Interesting idea, I guess it's so the abusing adult doesn't hastily pull the kid away from memorizing the number?

Then put another one on the opposite wall showing the number to everyone. Problem solved.

Better than nothing at all.

Ad content aside, this type of advertising is a step further of how grocery stores place certain items at eye level with kids vs eye level with adults, aka cereal. Very interesting progression.

Child abuse is a serious issue and I applaud any campaign that aims to help bring it to the spotlight. I have a couple of serious questions about the campaign though:

1) What if a child is abnormally tall? They wouldn't get to see the advertisement. And trust me. I have a cousin who was taller than most average adults when he was 11 years old (might not be the average, but certainly tall enough the number wouldn't be seen by him).

2) The campaign aims to hide the number from adults, but what if the adult was abnormally short, they would see the campaign. Would this be a big deal? Probably not, but it does show a flaw or two in the ideas behind the campaign.

3) Is this enough? The intentions are noble and clear, but is a poster with magic number enough to help? Most people will see a poster with a beaten up kid, but no number, so it kind of loses effect. If the number was always visible it might be of more help and doubtful it would be any child in danger. The money spent on this campaign will far outweigh any benefit it provides and it somewhat saddens me.

The number #1 thing kids who are abused have mostly in common is that they go to school. Teachers are exceptionally good at spotting signs of abuse and reporting it, it's highly encouraged especially here in Australian educational communities. Posters with the number clearly displayed being plastered around school grounds and playgrounds would probably be more beneficial and helpful in my opinion as parents or perpetrators are most likely not following the kids they're abusing around the school between classes.

To (1) & (2): Perfect is the enemy of good.

To (3): No, only short people see the bruises. Read the article.

Am I the only one who thinks it's a good thing that people are at least trying to do the right thing for abused children? Trying to come up with something new that might help?

I thought it was fairly obvious that this ad-campaign is less about the actual gimmick being useful or not, and more about creating discussion.

The ad is probably not going to directly get the number into the hands of children, and there are much better ways to get the number to children (leaflets in loos at schools; leaflets in phonebooths at schools; etc) and so the numbers of children directly helped by this are probably going to be low.

But it does raise some interesting discussion.

Of course that is good, but if the agency's principal motivation is something self-centered (getting attention), then they are using this issue as a vehicle for their own profit.

Seems like a great idea for movie posters too. Children see an advertisement for a 'G' movie while adults see an advertisement for a 'R' movie.

I guess this is kind of interesting, but it also seems a lot like fluff.

Shouldn't this be the opposite? The kid sees a regular ad. The adult sees a disturbing picture that says "PLEASE DON'T BEAT UP YOUR KID."

No, because the point is to get abused kids to dial that number, and before that to understand what the message is about.

I'm curious to know if this ad actually resulted in more child abusers being reported.

Or /will/ result. Getting the kids to a phone will probably be the hard part. I hope they figure out a way to handle that.

Wouldn't the 911 dispatcher be able to direct the kid to the appropriate service?

Not in Spain, you'd need the 112 dispatcher to direct the kid. I thought about this as well, but I think the intent is to reach out to children who are being frequently abused and may not realize that abuse isn't normal; and maybe also reach out to children who know something is wrong but don't know who to call. I'm not sure if this ad is the most effective outreach available with this organization's budget, which I think is the real issue. (Although, doing PR on the ad seems to have been effective outreach)

It's a very interesting idea, but in the end it's a moderately-sized number that's light gray over a dark gray background... It seems hard enough to read that the kid would have to stare at the ad.

The whole point is that it's OK for the kid to stare at the ad, because from the vantage of a normal-sized adult, it doesn't look like it's anything related to child abuse.

Except it's just the phone number and quote that are hidden from adults. There's a message at the top about child abuse and a picture of an abused kid that everyone sees.

I think the child looks normal with no injuries to the adults. The bruises only show up to the children.

Message, yes, but it's just a picture of a somewhat sad-looking child in the upper view.

it seems this is a technique for targeted marketing in the abstract. One sign might target two age group market segments, simultaneously, a kind of 'message discrimination'. I find it a bit concerning precisely because the age groups may be unaware of the segregated presentation.

In this case it's theoretically a public service announcement, but it could alternatively be e.g: a business marketing toys / candy, 'under the radar' of parents.. The message of a political or religious group, or any number of possibilities.

not much of a secret anymore...

True; but, if they can do it with this image, they can do it with hundreds of other images. It makes me very happy to see an old tech used in a potentially very, very helpful light; and not just a gimmick for movie box art

For the HN and tech blogs crowd no. For 99.999% of the population who will never hear about this, or will forget it in a split second, yes.

It's amazing how many people have been busted doing stuff that is general knowledge for decades, but still didn't occur to them that it can betray them.

99.99% of the adult population will never ever hear about this. I think the secret is safe.

I doubt that parents abusing their kids or the kids being abused are even aware that some people would think of the relationship as abusive. What if it's just verbal bullying? And I suppose it's mostly psychological abuse. Maybe when the child grows up it will realize that the parent was wrong, but not at 10 years or younger.

What an incredibly great use of technology.

Bad news for tall kids.

This isn't "bad news" for tall kids. Essentially nothing has changed for them overall, they wouldn't see this message anyways. This is just possibly good news for the demographic of medium/short kids who may have the chance of seeing this, which is the whole purpose of this campaign.

I think this is a pretty common problem, people failing to realize that good news for one demographic isn't necessarily bad news for another.

i think a more common problem is people taking flippant comments way too seriously.

Fair enough. :)

that's a really impressive argument!

And this works as long as you don't advertise the whole world how you did it!


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