Ad on Soda and Fat Was Part of Health Dept. Dispute – NYTimes.com

The argument was becoming too sophisticated to convey in a simple advertisement. “The science absolutely weakens our potential for mass distribution[.]”

This quote is from a NYTimes article on the NYC Health Department’s recent soda and obesity ad campaign. Have you ever draft a thematic message only to have it shot down because scientists in your organization found it less than exquisite?

I go back and forth. Our messaging should be correct, absolutely. But how much creative license should we, as public officials, be allowed? Do we go back to front shot of a doctor in a white coat, monotone jargon ads? Is there a role for implication in our messages, or do we need to be explicit, exquisite, perfect in everything we say?

And if we’re not sure about it, what about when our emails get FOIA’ed, and we’re caught saying, “What can we get away with,” like we’re doing something wrong? What a terribly intractable position.

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