Natural High For Troubled Youth

McElroy Spoofs PSAs in Vans’ ‘Extreme’ Ads
LOS ANGELES–Hammering home its irreverent advocacy of extreme sports, Vans will break a $3 million effort next month that promotes teen goodness by spoofing public service announcements.
Each of the spots from McElroy Communications in Newport Beach, Calif., focuses on a specific subject, such as skateboarding, surfing or Vans’ Warped concert tour. The media buy relies heavily on bartered media through Vans-produced Board Wild programming on Fox and its “extreme” Triple Crown Series on ESPN and ESPN2, along with national ad buys on edgy, teen-skewed shows on MTV, Comedy Central and other cable stations.
Using such clichƒd PSA elements as dark, littered alleys and grim statistics, ads parody messages about troubled kids. Only later on in the spots do viewers learn that phrases such as “turning tricks” refer to skateboard stunts. In one ad, a mother sobs because she didn’t notice the warning signs in her son, who is “getting high” on a snowboard.
“We wanted to show what kids are really doing,” said marketing vice president Jay Wilson. “Instead of drugs or suicide … we talk about healthy activities kids are involved in.”
Previous ads pointed out the differences between team and individual sports by showing humorous mishaps of peppy cheerleaders rooting for extreme athletes.