There was nothing I took less seriously as a teenager than public service ads for teens. Between all the sad-faced, central casting teenagers who were dressed like the original cast of Rent and their anxiety about just saying no, having learned about drugs from watching their parents, and eating five servings of vegetables a day, they seemed more like mockery fodder than anything useful. (Though the one where Rachael Leigh Cook demonstrates drug use by frying an egg and then going apeshit and smashing up her kitchen is a total classic.) But this super violent new Australian PSA making the rounds on the Internet is apparently designed to keep kids from cutting school by threatening to cover them in the entrails of their exploded friends.
It starts out with four ridiculously good-looking teenagers sneaking onto a beach to swim and toss their hair and make out and show us their abs. Everything is going great and the ad is totally doing the opposite of what it intended, because the main thing I’m taking away from it is that skipping school in Australia is a lot more fun than skipping school in Chicago. All I could do on an illicit day off is be cold and drive around looking for parking.
But then just as I was regretting having grown up in a polar vortex, holy shit one of the girls just exploded! Now everyone is running and screaming and covered in viscera and exploding, and it’s as gory as American Horror Story at its worst.
“This is what happens when you slack off. Stay in school,” the commercial advises.
It’s pretty bizarre and well produced, but it also makes no sense. “Stay in school, because if you cut class you will wander onto a mine-testing beach and explode”? Or they could just cut class for McDonalds like everyone else and stay away from exploding beaches and be fine.
The commercial is ostensibly for the Learn for Life Foundation of Western Australia, but its nonfunctional website leads The Huffington Post to suspect the ad is a funny fake created by henryandaaron and not actually an effort to horrify kids into the classroom. It’s kind of a shame. It’s still more convincing than most of the PSAs I saw as a teenager.