Marketing: VPD launches “Don’t be that guy” campaign

The Vancouver Police Department (VPD) recently launched an ad campaign urging men not to be “that guy”. These posters want to let men know that sex without consent is considered sexual assault.

With slogans such as “Just because she’s drinking, doesn’t mean she wants sex” and “Just because you helped her home…. doesn’t mean you get to help yourself”, this campaign is bold.

VPD's "Don't be that guy" advertising campaign
Given the slogans though, I’m a little surprised that the images aren’t bolder.  If I see any of the pics used here without the text, I won’t have a clue what the message is. I’m also surprised that the consequences for the perpetrator aren’t shown. (This is one of the few instances when the use of fear appeal in an ad won’t offend me.)

VPD's "Don't be that guy" advertising campaign

Oddly enough, I think the image-less poster works best: it delivers the message well without making the viewer guess what the ad is all about.

VPD's "Don't be that guy" advertising campaign

Are these effective?

I can only hope that this campaign gets the message across. I’ve read studies that suggest that campaigns such as these are sometimes ineffective because their target audience (i.e. the perpetrators/criminals) usually tune out the message.

My personal opinion, too, is that sometimes ads for social messages are only band aid solutions to the issues. In this case, for instance, young men should already know that they shouldn’t be having sex with intoxicated women without consent. The issue probably resides within a larger context that brings up issues regarding responsible parenting, alcoholism, and overt sexuality of our media culture.

Having said that, this is a bold campaign for a sensitive issue, and I only have kudos for the VPD for launching it. The VPD has partnered with Barwatch, Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS), Women against Violence against Women (WAVAW), and the BC Women’s Hospital Sexual Assault Service for this campaign.

To learn more, read the full press release on the VPD website.

© 2011 – 2014, KC Claveria. Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Please link back to

Want more marketing content like this one?

Subscribe to my bi-weekly newsletter to receive exclusive news and insights

* indicates required
  • Mike Abasov

    The first 2 are just sad. Some stock photos and lame text.
    “Doesn’t mean she wants sex?” Doesn’t mean she doesn’t.

    The last one is good, though.

    • KC Claveria

      Agreed! “Stock photos” -> I think that’s exactly what bugs me about the first two.