“If You See a Child as Anything More, it’s Wrong” is part of an advertisement campaign that was developed by Serve Marketing in Milwaukee, USA. The Family Violence Partnership in Milwaukee commissioned it in an attempt to raise awareness towards statutory rape.
The most glaringly obvious aspect of this text is that the main image depicts a female with the face of a young girl, which contrasts greatly against the body of a mature woman. This would immediately have grabbed the attention of viewers, leaving them searching for more information and wondering what on earth this advertisement was about. As their eyes searched frantically, they would then have noticed the large text at the top of the advertisement in capital letters stating that “If you see a child as anything more, it’s wrong.” This sentence alone would have been explanation enough for the advertisement’s purpose; it is trying to raise awareness towards statutory rape and is doing this by advertising the notion that just because a young woman has the body of an adult does not mean that she has the brain of one.
This all ties together with denotation and connotation. The denotation, which means the correct meaning of something, is the campaign itself, thus concluding that the connotation, which means the thought or meaning provoked, would be the explanation that the viewers have gained from viewing the advertisement. As connotations of texts depend on the ideological and cultural position of the viewer, these conclusions could be anything varying from holding the view that it is inappropriate, controversial, excellent, ridiculous or even that the creators are providing rapists with an easily accessible image of something they may fantasise about on a daily basis and use for their own purposes, which you can probably guess, and which is extremely wrong.
The large image in the centre of the page is controversial and in a central position, so it is the first thing that viewers would notice. The effect of juxtaposition between the young girl’s face and the mature woman’s body have created strong public reactions, all of which are very interesting and can be viewed on this website.
The text “If You See a Child as Anything More, it’s Wrong” is very noticeable in large writing and in capital letters. The effect of using different colours on each line was most likely to make the writing stand out and have every word emphasised. The final word of the sentence “wrong” is the largest of all the text, putting emphasis on the main point it would seem the creators would like portrayed. The words “If you’re over 18 and having sex with an underage girl, it’s statutory rape” are placed down the bottom in small writing where people will look last, conveying that whilst it’s an important point, viewers would probably have figured this out by now as it is quite obvious.
All colours in this campaign are very similar. The background, the text, the girl’s jacket, nail polish, and even her hair are all very dull, sensible and modest colours. This signifies that it is an issue that should be taken seriously, even though the advertisement is presented in a controversial way through the main image. This again could be classified as juxtaposition.
These visual techniques say a lot about the context and difference it can make in creating advertisements. The attention this campaign has received may be negative, but it certainly has caught plenty of attention! It has brought a lot of publicity and awareness towards the topic of statutory rape, although the varying connotations of different people would argue if this was a good or bad thing. Either way, controversy sells and at least nobody can argue with that!
Copyranter, M. 2008. ‘Statutory Rape D-Cupped Right Into Our Faces’, CopyRanter.blogspot.com, viewed 20 March 2014,
Independent.co.uk, ‘Ten Adverts that Shocked the World’, Independent.co.uk, viewed 19 March 2014,
Paul. 10awesome.com, ’10 Controversial Ads’, 10awesome.com, viewed 19 March 2014,
Servemarketing.org website, viewed 19 March 2014,
TrendHunter.com, ‘Youth Shockvertising’, TrendHunter.com website, viewed 20 March 2014,