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Posted at 2:25 PM ET, 12/21/2010

Anatomy of an Ad: Bedbug Edition

By Jessica Dawson

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Though the summer's bedbug media frenzy faded as temperatures dropped, the phobic among us (wait 'til I tell you my NYC travel strategies) remain primed for the coming plague.

As any knowledgeable bedbug phobe will tell you, you can pick them up anywhere, including public transportation. So how come I, a member of the terrified target audience and a nearly daily Red Line rider, find the current Protect-A-Bed metro advertisements so comical and unscary?

Protect-A-Bed, I want to help.

After analyzing your visuals, I believe I've spotted the problem. Your ad -- with its emphasis on the mattress and "protecting the bed" -- brings just one thing to mind.

Incontinence.

Not a good idea, Protect-A-Bed, not a good idea at all. And what's worse? The bag! The little sack with handles labeled "Bed Bug Protection Kit" that cowers at the bottom right of your ad looks way too much like a bag of.... Depends.

P-A-B, your web site says that you started in South Africa 30 years ago and have been keep these United States bedbug proofed for a decade. I want you to succeed -- if only so that Washington's begbug plague might abate.

Hire a new PR firm, people!

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By Jessica Dawson  | December 21, 2010; 2:25 PM ET
Categories:  Jessica Dawson, Public Art  | Tags:  Jessica Dawson, Protect-A-Bed, Washington Metro system, bed bugs  
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